In several posts over the past month or so, I have indicated that I am experiencing a season of grief. More specifically, I have been working through some past traumas in order to integrate them into my life in a more healthy way. This has been a healing process for me. It is painful but it is also liberating.
Over the past eighteen months I had become progressively more immersed in a workaholic lifestyle. My work load over the past ten years has been excessive and over the past months it had become even more so. In 2007 alone, for example, I spoke almost every Sunday somewhere, every Wednesday evening, conducted some special seminars on weekends, taught a full load for Lipscomb (eight courses), three classes for Harding University Graduate School, taught in England and Russia, sat on the Executive Board of a mission agency, wrote three academic papers (presented two and published one), co-authored one book, laid out plans for a few other books, and worked with a team on another book.
As a result I experienced significant burnout. This has left me exhausted and emotionally drained. The resultant circumstance has negatively impacted my physical, emotional and spiritual health.
After consultation with my wife, family and close spiritual advisers, 2008 has become and will continue as a season of rest from academic teaching, speaking and public ministry. Blogging and two projects (a multi-author history and a memorial article for Michael Casey) are the only academic/teaching/speaking tasks I will pursue this year.
I have been and will continue to use these months to seek understanding and emotional healing from the past wounds that have contributed to my workaholism and other problems. I need time to grieve past losses and pursue a path of healing with professional and spiritual support. I now devote most of my time to reading, meditation, support groups, counseling and time with my family, especially with my wife.
This is my 50th year upon the earth. It is time for a Jubilee rest. When Israel failed to care for the land that Yahweh had given them by resting it every seven years, he intervened. Exiled in a distant nation, “the land enjoyed its sabbath rests” (2 Chronicles 36:21). I recognize my situation as a divine intervention. It is time for a rest. I need it for my healing, my family and my future ministry.
By God’s grace, this redemptive rest will bring the healing I need for my own transformation into the likeness of his Son. When it would be a blessing to other believers in their faith journey, there may come a time when I will share the story of God’s work in my life as I come to understand it. In the meantime, my family asks for your prayers as well as your trust, support and friendship. I thank you in advance for your concern and care.
In light of my own experience and my current journey, I would recommed the focused appropriation of Jim Martin’s sound advice concerning self-care which appears as guest post on Scott McKnight’s blog.
God, I’m listening now. Teach me about your rest that I might rest in you.