My Intentional Hiatus
The reason for my 10 week break
I live a life of rules because I know myself.
I know that, at my core, I wasn’t born with discipline. In the same way that I had to learn to dress myself, to tie my shoes and to play an instrument, I’ve had to learn how to live a life where priorities matter and rules can help direct a busy life.
(for more on my ideas about the proper Order of Things, check out this post: https://westcoastcm.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-order-of-things/)
Last year, I was approached with the idea of continuing my education and pursuing a seminary degree. I come from a small town, where going to a 4-year college is out of the ordinary – in fact, I’ve often looked at the idea of pursuing degrees as a slap in the face of those in my family who came before me. So much of what they accomplished was done so through the strong foundations they learned through serving in our country’s armed services; a formal education in a classroom seems so far removed from the DNA of my family history.
Without the details completely hammered out (with what money? with what time? with what end in mind?), I began meeting with those who have voices in my life that I trust. I also began spending time in specific prayer about the potential of going to seminary. And, in the latter part of last year, I enrolled in my first class at Fuller Seminary in nearby Pasadena, CA.
As I pursue a degree in Global Leadership (the MAGL is a brilliant program, by the way. designed for those in full time ministry, this program blends what I love best about collaborating communities and prepares pastors and leaders for a world that is both more diverse and “flatter” than ever before) I had to remind myself of my priorities and what in my life comes first.
I’ve said it before, but my local ministry will always come before any projects or conversations I’m asked to be a part of. Because I was taking multiple courses this last quarter, I wanted to make sure that I could keep my priorities in place. For that reason, my unpaid writing gigs were put on a shelf for the quarter. However, with my finals in their last stages, I wanted to return to share some of what I’ve learned over the last few months.
What I learned most, and what I’d encourage you to consider, is the importance of priorities. If you’re in ministry, you need to model for your church what a life lived with proper priorities looks like. Take a day off. Make time to worship in song and in community. Choose your family over ministry and tell others about it. If you’re a parent, teach your kids about priorities and time management by showing them what they look like. Take an intentional quiet time and make them take one as well. Choose time with your spouse. Read your Bible and talk about your faith with your children. Don’t say yes to everything. Show them that missing a baseball practice to attend a worship service is okay to do.
Consider what you need to take a break from in order to better line up your priorities. Alignment and structure aren’t things that happen on their own. Being organized isn’t something that just magically happens. It takes being intentional.