In January, I said yes to go to Pemba, Mozambique with a team. I truly began preparations in April during my time of sabbatical. We've got a team of 6 amazing humans (including my sister!) who have been preparing to give, receive, and serve with Iris Global Ministries — the ministry of Heidi and Rolland Baker — these past few months. We've met weekly for the past two months. I have had friends in the past attend the Harvest School there, coming back with stories of beauty, compassion, the miraculous and triumph. This past week I spoke with my friend Jessie, and she told me a story of a time where she was in a Q&A with Heidi and her other classmates. One brave person asked this question, “What is one thing in life that you regret?” She immediately answered, “Not fully understanding sabbath until now.” This encouraged me as I was connecting the dots between my time of sabbatical in April and preparation for this trip. I thought I had slowed down before, but there is far, far more. One thing that Heidi teaches that has stuck with me for many years is this, “go low, and go slow.” This is how she approaches ministry, how she approaches life. All last summer I wanted to understand this more — so I used my first language, dance — to try and understand its mystery. I had my dancers improv it many different times, and what came out of those improvisations was incredible. We experienced our entire body slow down, our minds focus on the present moment, the details, each other. We could truly see.
I am now trying to also figure out how this applies to my own life every day. Go low, go slow. Humility before offering anything, creating a culture of honor, a compassionate exchange. Listening, attentiveness. Beauty revealed.
I wanted to share some reflections after my sabbatical and will continue to expand on them in the future,
with some photographs from my month away.
If you’re not rested, you’re not ready.
I think it’s vital to live in a state of readiness — to quote Oswald Chambers, “Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to get ready.” Rest is a part of bringing readiness and order. “Readiness means a right relationship to God and a knowledge of where we are at present.”
Return to the rhythm we were created to live in.
Sabbath / the weekend are not about “blowing off steam” to then “dive back into the work week.” It’s not how we were designed to live. If we don’t take the proper time “off” to realign with this rhythm… (every week)… then it becomes harder and harder to hear, and be a part of it. There is a way you can fully live out of a place of rest in the Spirit (cease striving/be still) and capture every single thing on your “to do” list. It’s possible. I needed a month of time off after the amount of things that have happened in the last 6 months to properly recalibrate my mind and heart into a steady pace of rest. Much like the train — if you’re going too fast, you’ll miss everything around you. The details will fly by unnoticed like a blurred line on the highway. I have achieved more by slowing down then I ever could speeding up. A great mystery, I know, but one I am ready to try and live out.
Sabbath is a lifestyle change.
Toward the end of the month, I kept hearing this question, “How will it be when you come back?” And immediately I thought, “There’s no ‘coming back.’” Each time someone asked this, I realized I was even more bewildered by it. This ties in with the new rhythm. For me, I have already thought in my life that I rested well. I thought I took care of myself well, etc. And part of that is true. Over the years, I have become unapologetic about taking time for myself, about hiding away when I need to, about my prayer life, about taking care of myself especially when there are a million things going on. I have realized I’ve taken more and more time for myself as needed. But, I have also realized there is a much, much deeper evaluation of rest that needs to take place. I thought I had surrendered to rest, but realized it is way, way deeper. I won’t be “coming back” to the way things once were. Busyness. Striving. Living in worry, doubt, fear. That’s why I took a sabbatical to begin with. To change. I didn’t realize how much I would change, and you don’t realize even when you are in fact, changing. You wake up one day and there it is. (Growing pains!)