Two weeks ago, as I was driving back from meeting with my accountability partner and my pastor, the radio was playing a local Christian music station. I never listen to Christian music (on the radio) but I remembered that I had been browsing local channels, and I guess it had landed on this particular one. Chris and Conrad's version of 'Lead Me To the Cross' was playing at the time, and it's one of those modern worship songs that I didn't mind too much so I was singing along. And I made it my prayer.
'Lead me to the cross where Your love poured out. Bring me to my knees, LORD. I lay me down. Rid me of myself, I belong to You...'
Suddenly, I sensed the LORD asking me:
'What makes you happy?'
Well, of course I promptly started listing things in life that make me happy.
'Where do you go for self-identity?'
I hesitated. I SHOULD go to Him for this...but instead, I started listing several people and places that I go to for fulfillment and meaning.
'What if I asked you to give all of those to Me?'
......Now wait a second. For how long? What would this entail? Can I really do this?
I determined that if I thought on it for too long, it obviously was too hard for me to decide what was more important - these earthly mortal things or my relationship with the immortal God.
After saying 'yes' to His request, and deciding on a sabbatical (a time of rest and refocus), I went to Ross to find a journal. I wanted to keep an account of my time refocusing on my Jesus.
I was gonna be picky about it though.
I was like 'Okay, God, if You want me to do this, let my journal be the ultimate confirmation. Let it be everything I want.'
My requirements? Spiral bound, daily planner with areas large enough to make notes, and a Scripture verse on the front. I found this one...
And, also, I am kind of OCD about starting things, making plans, etc. I either have to start at the beginning of a week or month. And how many daily planners that you know start in the middle of the year? For example, September. Well this journal did.
It gets better, though.
After purchasing this new journal, I drove home, got ready for bed and checked my phone only to see that a friend (who I hadn't talked to in months) had texted me.
'Hey what's new?' he asked.
'Not a whole lot. The biggest news is that I am going to embark on a sabbatical. I know the LORD is calling me to one.'
'Oh did you get that idea from Matt Chandler?'
Well, uh, no, I hadn't, but...I love Matt Chandler. AND I had literally finished reading one of his books ('To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain') just a couple days prior.
'Matt Chandler took a sabbatical? For how long?'
Immediately I thought back to how my pastor had encouraged that I take a rest from certain social medias and had suggested a two-month time. Well it didn't take me long to figure out that two months seemed to be what the LORD was calling me to do.
So on September 14, I began my sabbatical. I am taking a rest from social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) and secular music. I am using the time that I had spent before on these earthly distractions to refocus on the LORD and my relationship with Him. The last few months have been ridiculously distracting (I will be writing about why soon. Pray for me as I try to find words to explain, though)...and I have wandered farther from Him than I ever thought I would. It hurts me to say that. But it's true. God has missed me. I have felt that so strongly. And I have missed Him. This space between us just isn't right. And I am so thankful that He is willing to work on our relationship as much as more than I do.
He is so faithful.
'I'm more than you dreamed
More than you understand
Your days and your times
Were destined for our dance
I catch all your tears
Burn your name on My heart
Be still and trust My plan
I'm more than you think I am.'
- song by Danny Gokey