Thursday, July 7, 2011

the four R's

Rest...Relaxation...Renewal...Re-Creation. After finishing four weeks at our cottage in Maine, I am more committed than ever to these four R's. I have very few friends or colleagues who REALLY believe in the maxim of Sabbath and take it seriously. There is a reason that God instituted the concept of Sabbath, and I believe that those who are in leadership positions need to take this concept seriously and practice it regularly. Brian Tracy, in one of his newsletters over the past year, stated that leaders need one day a week with no work...3 straight days each month (long weekend) with no work, and at least 2 or more straight weeks each year with no work in order to rest, relax, renew, and re-create. Here is what these terms have meant to me over the past four weeks:

REST: my mind has rested from the day-to-day issues that regularly arise in my work. I have not heard an alarm clock go off for four weeks (though I still get up early - but on MY time). I have not had to make decisions (except for which movie to watch each night). My body and mind both are rested and I am ready to "get back at it" next week.
RELAXATION: To be able to just sit with my wife and relax together is something that does not happen on a regular basis. I am not talking about a few minutes on a Saturday morning, but full days of relaxing together. This is the "kick back and enjoy life" relaxing, done for a concentrated period of time (four weeks for us). I literally did not look at eamil for the first three weeks I was gone...but even catching up with it this past week has been relaxing as I went through it at my leisure time. Making relaxing a habit during these four weeks carries over to the rest of the year as I remember how important this is.
RENEWAL: My vacation is spent mostly reading - I probably read about 7-8 hours a day. I put together my reading list all year long, as well as remain serendipitous to see what might come my way during the time here (we have a great library and bookstore in town). I get to read long novels that I have been putting off, as well as some of the "hard" stuff (philosophy, etc) that needs my concentrated effort and time. As I read, I come up with new ideas and ways of thinking, always considering what I am learning in the process. To be able to read this quantity and quality of texts with little or no interruption is a real gift to myself.
RE-CREATION: The song "Morning Has Broken" talks about God's re-creation of the new day, and I beleive that this might be the best part of Sabbath, to be made NEW again and again throughout the process. I see the world differently today than I did one month relationship with my wife is more full than it was one month spiritual life is more complete than it was one month ago...I will be a better teacher than I was one month ago...I am more fit than I was one moth ago...I will lead differently than I did one month ago...I have different experiences to talk about than I did one month ago...I have a wider vocabulary than I did one month ago...I am a better person than I was one month ago. I am a NEW creation.

So I urge each of you reading this to take Sabbath seriously. I know it might not be possible to do four weeks every year, but remember these items as you prepare for an extended time away:

  • there will always be work left to do

  • no one is irreplaceable

  • you can always delegate more

  • the less you are around, the less people will rely on you

  • being away is a great way to develop other leaders

  • we got along without email and cell phones in the past

  • you have a lifetime of work ahead of you

Thanks for letting me share my Sabbath thoughts with you. How can you plan NOW for an extended Sabbath sometime in the future? And while you are at it, take that three day sabbath(no work) very soon!

No comments: