I was reflecting the other day on the story of Jesus, his disciples, and the stormy sea (Mark 4:35-39). You know, the one where he’s asleep in the boat and all the other guys are freaking out, scared the wind and waves might sink them:
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”
A book by Brennan Manning was encouraging me to imagine a biblical scene, and put myself in the story – to ask myself who I’d be in the drama, and to view it from that perspective. Well, as crazy as it sounds, the first thing I thought of was; “I’m the storm“. I figured that was too weird, quickly tried to think of an actual person in the story that I related to, but the “storm” idea just kept coming back.
And I began to see why it hit me like that: I’m a Type-A personality. I love making things happen, directing events and experiences. I work hard at shaping my calendar, ministry, art, and communication. Like a storm, I’m used to making waves, rocking the boat, and charging forward like a force of nature. I began to look at the narrative from that point of view, and I was floored by the voice of Jesus to me in the story. It hit me like a ton of bricks: “Quiet! Be still.”
This month, I’ll be attempting to obey this directive like never before. I’ve felt led and supported to embark on a month long SABBATICAL this August 2-27. The first break like this for me, ever. It will be difficult in some ways, but I’m so excited to follow God with this radical step. These 26 days will be a time of family, rest, solitude, silence, study, reflection, retreat, and renewal. I can’t wait! I’ve never even taken two weekends off in a row in 17 years, so this will be quite a new, transforming experience. Please keep my family and I in your prayers as we intensely seek God’s direction, peace, and unique presence during this time. I will not be performing, leading, singing, speaking from a stage, or booking future ministry dates, so please also keep my ministry and God’s future plans for it in your prayers, as well.
My I fully let go, releasing my grip on everything but Jesus! And may his peace, like a sea smooth as glass, carry us toward a new shore.