After working in a demanding profession for a number of years, you may instinctively feel the need to take an extended break. Year long sabbaticals used to be reserved for clergy and academics. These days, sabbaticals tend to be shorter and increasingly adopted by marketplace professionals to rest, rejuvenate, and reevaluate their lives. At the end of a sabbatical, you may return to your current profession with renewed energy and purpose or make a change. Whatever the change, whether small or great, it would be significant and purposeful. Even a slight change in direction, if maintained for a long time, would take you to a very different destination. A sabbatical, therefore, helps you live an intentional life.

To have a good sabbatical, you need to plan ahead. Haste, crowds, and noise—these are not helpful for the cultivation of the spiritual life. You need to find a place and schedule a time away from these distractions. Ask other people who have taken sabbaticals. Speak to your pastor. Seek out a spiritual director; if none are available, lean on the Holy Spirit to be your guide. In talking to others, be wary of plans imposed on you. The initial part of your sabbatical should be set aside to withdraw from the active life and to be quiet and still before God—to cease from doing and just be.

The sabbatical is not useful only in terms of what emerges out of it. The sabbatical in and of itself is intentional time spent with your heavenly Lover. This time is seen as wasted or useless by those who do not know God or who only have a distant or superficial relationship with Him. So you will need courage to take a sabbatical, especially if one is not imposed on you in the form of joblessness, ill health or some other form of pain. You may want to set aside five minutes a day just to wait on the Lord for a spiritual intention that shapes your sabbatical.

The final practicality, which may delay your sabbatical, is financing. Although you may go on holiday, the sabbatical is not primarily a vacation. At the very least, you should have enough savings set aside for basic food, shelter and clothing. You may also be concerned about whether you will have a job after your sabbatical. If you have been a good and dependable worker, most employers would not want to lose you. While an extended leave from work of six months may not be possible, most employers will be open to no-pay leave of around three months if this is planned well in advance. For these reasons, start planning your sabbatical at least a year ahead.

Next -> Starting Your Sabbatical

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