The Away Message

On Sunday afternoon I will activate the “away message” on my Presbytery email, and it will remain activated until the end of November. I’ll be spending two weeks of vacation working on my dissertation, baking and crafting and maybe constructing an interior wall at our cabin. It’s such an amazing thing… I hit the right buttons, and PRESTO! I’m in vacation mode!

I crack myself up.

The reality is that it always takes me days to get in vacation mode, and given the limitations of this COVID season, I won’t have much of a change of scenery to help that along. I understand the deep need we all have for sabbath – both on a cellular level as well as one embedded in our covenantal relationship with God. Plenty has been written about its importance, however, I find it far easier to read about sabbath time and embrace the theory of time away than to practice it… perhaps because the actual practice of sabbath for me is work?

There’s also the conundrum of exactly what sort of sabbath I need at this time. I will be abstaining from work, but I know what my soul really needs is to take time apart from the regular babble of news chyrons and social media; to step away from that stream of voices for just a bit so that I might remember who I am (and Whose I am).

This is really hard for me. For folks who have worked with the Enneagram, I’m a 7 (with a 6 wing) which means I suffer greatly from FOMO (also known as Feelings Of Missing Out). My theme song is “What did I miss?” from Hamilton. It’s bad.

Why is it so difficult to do what we know will bring us renewal and life? It’s not just a challenge that we face as individuals who know what we need to do in order to be healthier in mind, body and spirit. This challenge also faces congregational leadership that know the changes that need to be made and yet choose instead to debate the paint color for the parlor. We avoid doing what we need to do not because we are lazy… but because we are afraid of what we will lose in the process. 

Am I willing to lose my ability at quick political banter (aka “snark”) by stepping away from the news reels for a few weeks? Will I lose my sense of what is happening in this Presbytery if I step outside for a bit? Absolutely, however the sabbath mandate is clear and the risk of not taking this time apart is actually greater than my ignoring this call.

What are you afraid of losing? What is the thorn in your side? Is it worth the risk of keeping it? (See you in a few weeks!)

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