Category Archives: Sabbatical

Perception vs. Reality

My stomach is full of Thanksgiving food, and my mind is full of thoughts today. I am thinking about how our families shape the way we perceive our world, at least initially. We are raised in an environment that has constants – certain patterns, habits, and ways that we never question because we know no alternative. It is our reality. I have realized that many people never break free from this learned “reality”. Many of us stay within the boundary lines of this family pattern, sometimes for generations, without knowing or realizing that the unsaid rules are being followed in every conversation, interaction, etc. So, what happens when you find yourself in a new place – where you recognize all of these driving forces within the family? You realize that you have a choice whether to continue in the same vein, or break free.

This is the place I found myself today while surrounded by approximately 30 extended family members. Feeling caught between the old constant and the desire to break the “family rules” and be different. It can be a lonely place. It’s easier to just stick with the norm…to join in with the gossip, keep the conversations at a surface level, and pretend that we actually know something about each other, even though we see each other about 4 times per year (at the most). I struggle with wanting things to be different – to really know these people who have surrounded me for my whole life – to find out their hopes, thoughts, struggles, and their relationship with God. However, that is not part of the family dynamic. It makes me sad, and I have regrets. I regret that I’m not bolder in attempting real communication. I regret that it’s easier to just tolerate it for one day versus working to change this dynamic. I regret that these people have no idea who I really am (and vice versa).

“Perception versus reality” makes me think…whose perception and whose reality? For example, my recent decision to leave my job and enter this sabbatical period – my reality is a profound sense of freedom and relief and joy, regardless of the perception of others. However, in the reality I once learned from my family, this decision would be totally unacceptable. What I realized today is that I have begun to establish my own version of reality. I am breaking free of some of the family patterns that I want to change – even though it’s a slow process and I will certainly stumble along the way.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for so much. I am grateful for the things I have learned this past year and the ways I have grown. I am thankful that I still have so much to learn. I am thankful for second chances and that our Lord doesn’t hold our mistakes against us. I’m astounded that He uses our poor choices to teach us something new that we may not have otherwise learned. Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about His unconditional love for us.

Hoping your day has been filled with joy, love, and thankfulness. And very few regrets.

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Sabbatical

Letting Go…The Sabbatical Blog

Today marks the first day that I haven’t had a job since I was 11 years old. Seriously. I received my first paycheck working for our family’s business in 1986 when I was 11 (I actually worked prior to that – just didn’t get paid!) If you calculated correctly, that means I’m 33 years old. So…no, I haven’t retired, and it’s not really a life crisis either. For many reasons, which I’ll certainly cover throughout my first attempt at blogging, I resigned from my VP-level job for a large company. I (somewhat jokingly) have been calling it a sabbatical. So, I looked up the definition of “sabbatical” on Wikipedia:

“A sabbatical (from the Latin sabbaticus, from the Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbathon, i.e., Sabbath) is a rest from work, a hiatus, typically 2 months plus. The concept of a sabbatical has a source in several places in the Bible (Leviticus 25, for example), where there is a commandment to desist from working the fields in the seventh year. In the strict sense therefore, a sabbatical lasts a year. In recent times, a sabbatical has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual.”

It surprised me to find out that sabbatical is exactly the right word. It also surprised me that this hiatus is actually a Biblical concept. Which really shouldn’t shock me since I have felt God leading me to this exact place. He is amazingly consistent with His word, huh?

The past year has been one of personal and spiritual growth for me. God is leading me to a place of dependence on Him. I’m learning that my worth is not tied to my career, my accomplishments, or my ability to be a good daughter/friend/Christian. He is teaching me about letting go. Thus, one of my new favorite songs is “I’m Letting Go” by Francesca Battistelli because it describes exactly what I’m learning (and it has a really catchy tune which gets stuck in my head):

I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go
This is a giant leap of faith

Trusting and trying to embrace
The fear of the unknown

Beyond my comfort zone

So, at the end of my first day as an unemployed woman…I still have a lot to learn. Right now, I feel like a kid who is skipping school, who at any moment will get grabbed by the collar and dragged back through those doors. However, I am also comforted by:

  • knowing that I’m not doing anything wrong
  • recognizing that this is the exact place where God wants me right now; and
  • most importantly, believing that my Jesus is more than enough.

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Filed under God, Sabbatical