Written by Bob Schindler, Executive Director of CEDE Partners – an Initiative of CEDE Sports
Many friends reached out to me after my sabbatical that I recently took to see how it went.
“How did your sabbatical go?” This is a question I enjoy answering, for God did great things over the two months.
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend your works to another, they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty –
and I will meditate on your wonderful works….
They will celebrate your abundant goodness
And joyfully sing of your righteousness.”
As I outline some of what God did over these couple of months, my hope is that it would cause you to meditate on the wonderful works God is doing in your life and to join with me in celebrating God’s goodness.
The Good Shepherd Guides
I chose to use Psalm 23 as my general template for the sabbatical. With that template, I looked to the Lord, as my Good Shepherd, to:
- Lead me beside quiet waters and into green pastures to RESTORE my soul
- Guide me in paths of righteousness – to REORIENT my future direction
- Set a table before me in the presence of my enemies, to anoint my head with oil, to
overflow my cup – to bring me to deep REJOICING
My regular rhythm included an extended time of worship, several hours of prayer/reflection/journaling, with most afternoons filled with study and prayer. The highlight of my reading was Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund (highly recommend it) and, of my study, Matthew 11:28-30 and 2 Timothy. I have over 90 typed pages of notes from the two months. To say it was rich and restorative is an understatement. To try to condense all that God did in a few sentences feels almost like a disservice.
What I can say is..
On RESTORATION – The Lord pointed out four areas in my heart that needed to be restored. I was carrying PAIN and SHAME from the past that he made clear it was time to let go. I also had more recent DOUBTS and STRESS that he resolved or eased.
On REORIENTATION – The Lord expanded this reorientation perspective beyond just CEDE Sports to my whole life. He made it clear that I am to express more leadership into every area – like my marriage, my family, my role at work, and my role with the adult fellowship class at my church that I help lead.
Specifically, this doesn’t mean do more but to give more vision and equip others more with the gentleness and humility that would reflect Jesus Christ’s heart toward his body.
On REJOICING – The Lord impressed upon me the gift of this sabbatical throughout the two months. I see clearly the ways his goodness has poured out to me throughout my life, especially his goodness in the gospel and making me a part of His Story. I was reminded that I was one who was “dead in our trespasses and sins…but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” now to be “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:1-10
The Good Shepherd Speaks
The surprise from the time was how much I was renewed to the joy of hearing the Lord speak. I began the sabbatical being reminded in John 10 that the “sheep listen for his (the Good Shepherd’s) voice. He (the Good Shepherd) calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…and his (The Good Shepherd’s) sheep follow him because they know his voice.” I ended the sabbatical being reminded from John 8 that “he who belongs to God hears what God says.” I long, we all long, to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. There is something deeply intimate, restorative and empowering when we do. Several times during the sabbatical I experienced this. I don’t mean I heard God speak audibly. What I experienced was the Spirit of God illuminating the Word of God in a way that made that Scripture real, personal, and alive. This stirred my longing to experience this more often. In understanding that longing, I realized the need to slow down enough to hear his voice, the voice of my heart, and the interaction between the two. I hope to maintain a remnant of the rhythms I adopted during the sabbatical as they fit into more of my normal rhythms. My desire is to hear and understand the voice of God, the voice of my heart, and the interaction between the two.
I hope this gives you a glimpse of God’s goodness over the last two months. Please let me know if you are interested in knowing more. I’d enjoy talking about it with you. This time away was incredibly formative and I don’t think I will ever be the same because of it.