This is the second in a special series on taking renewal leave by guest blogger Rev. Dianne Lawhorn. Read the first installment here.
A renewal leave is an ideal time for you to develop rhythms that can be incorporated into your life when you return to work. You may never again have this opportunity to “try on” a new rhythm and see how it works for you. The rhythm I sought to embrace was to: eat healthy foods, exercise, get plenty of sleep, take a Sabbath, and have some fun! By doing these things over a short-term period, I was able to conceive of how this rhythm could become a reality over the long-term as well.
You might try incorporating a particular time every day where you can connect with God through a favorite spiritual practice. On my leave, my husband and I worked through the book The Cup of our Life by Joyce Rupp. This guide not only provided readings but also included practices for prayer, reflection, scripture reading, journaling, and a commitment for each day. We found the use of this guide to be a great resource to us individually and as a couple!
A renewal leave is a wonderful time to reflect on your ministry journey. A book that I found very helpful in my reflection was Leading on Empty by Wayne Corderio. This book helped me better understand the challenges of life-long ministry and the effects it can have on our bodies, minds, and spirits. It also helped me learn how to navigate these challenges with greater ease.
A renewal leave is a great time to reflect on your personal life. It’s a good idea to consider if the life you are living is the life you want to live. It’s a time for you to think about what changes might help you to more fully live into the desires you have for your life.
These questions may contribute to your reflection:
Where am I now?
What do I really want?
What is my next right step?
What is life-giving to me, helping me to give and receive love?
What is life-draining to me, hindering me from giving and receiving love?
In this reflection, you may find needs that you don’t know how to provide for on your own. We all need help from time to time in processing what is going on with us at a deeper level. A book that I used to assist me in this discovery was Release by Flora Wuellner.
Renewal time is an opportunity to consider if you want to make use of a helping professional such as a spiritual director, counselor, or a coach. In the next article, I’ll provide some guidelines for selecting which resource you need at this point in your journey. You may even elect to participate in The Davidson Clergy Program, an excellent resource to build your resilience!
Image by Flickr user ienjoysushi via CC