It's our seventh year in Malawi. Our 14th year together as a couple, and the 20th year since we met. I suppose if you wanted to count by 7’s, you could say it’s the 21st year since I received my calling into missions, 14th year since God showed me Greg as a partner, and the 7th year since we arrived in Malawi for full-time missions. Now, during that time, we have tried to find seasons of rest to re-center and re-focus. For every 6 months in Malawi we try to set one aside for a future trip back home, but that furlough time is less of a sabbath and more of a taking on of a mantle in another country, a catching up of things behind on there. So coming into this new year, as I try to think of new directions and resolutions, I keep thinking of verses about how important it is to have a sabbath of rest, and of how even land finds time to lay desolate and enjoy its sabbaths after years of pushing too hard.
I know I’m not going to take a year off of work, just working 4 hours less last Friday drove me into anxiety. But I have been thinking of what I would do if I had a full year to rest and grow and not worry about achieving. I would read books and grow in my knowledge. I would spend time outdoors and caring for my body. I would grow in my relationship with Greg. I would enjoy quality time with others. So I’m thinking of how I can do that intentionally this year, even if I am not away from work on a sabbatical. On one hand I can justify an easier year this year, since I took few vacation days last year and worked a lot of holidays the year before. I could work a half day every Friday and still come out even at the end of the year. Provided I can keep from being anxious about it.
The reason I struggle with days off is because I have been working 10-12 hours a day. I get very excited about my work and I have a hard time letting it go. I keep working until the adrenaline is receding and I can do no more. That’s when I aim to work 8 hours a day. So this last week, I tried aiming for 6 hours a day. Some days I worked 8, other days I worked 6, and by the end I could confidently say that I had taken a full day off, all things averaged together. I also read 5 books and 10 journal articles, and met all my physical activity goals.
I’m trying. It’s three weeks into the year and I haven’t written any systematic resolutions, but I’m thinking them through and getting ready. I have some smaller goals, I have some bigger goals. But if I could stay intentional about not overworking, and taking time to rest and grow, and finally catching up on all those missed vacation days, I think I would be really excited to see what this year could bring.