decompression [dee-kuh m-presh-uh n] noun. the act or process of releasing from pressure.

I am officially on my sabbatical! It started last week but before I could really press into what God is leading me to, I realized I needed to decompress. I have heard that when you go scuba diving at a certain depth, you will need to slowly and methodically ascent from the depth. If you ascent too quickly, the body cannot adjust to the pressure and will experience decompression sickness commonly referred to as the “bends.”

While decompressing from ministry is not life-threatening as “the bends” can be, it’s still important. I decided I needed to take the time to decompress. As I struggled decompressing over the course of seven days, I learned or was reminded of some things in my life. Here’s some of the stuff I realized:

  • It is necessary for me to decompress before I can rest in the Lord.
  • Ministry is on my mind almost all of my waking hours and even as I try to sleep.
  • I need to have other interests that I enjoy other than ministry related matters.
  • I am wired or have become used to “doing” rather than “being.”
  • I need change. It hasn’t been the healthiest of mindsets.

I thank God for His leading to decompress. As I worked on removing all our kitchen cabinets, due to termites, tried to figure some semblance of order in our makeshift kitchen and bathroom dishwashing station, washing and polishing my car, fixing our screen door, working on all the details of our Japan adventure, washing and cleaning our living room rug, as well as other stuff, God was slowly helping me to let go of my “ministry mentality.” I guess being physically tired helps the process.

As the first week of the sabbatical ended, I felt a lot more ready to truly rest in Him. The primary focus of this sabbatical, learning to truly abide in Jesus, became a lot more important and motivating. I feel my spirit beginning to yearn for this. But I will need the help of the Holy Spirit to keep my focus and not worry about how quickly the days pass without noticeable improvement. I need His help to rest in the truth that this is a process, perhaps a lifelong adventure for me according to God’s timing, and the willingness of my heart. That’s the challenge for me.

Something that kept coming to mind over the last seven days is the importance of learning to decompress every week and really every day, and not just wait for a sabbatical. I kept thinking about Jesus and the pressurized life of ministry He lived while on earth. Some verses that came to mind.

“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” Mark 1:35

“Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them.” Luke 4:42

But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Luke 5:16

“One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.” Luke 6:12

“Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” Luke 22:39-40

“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” Mark 1:35

Something Jesus did on a regular basis was getting away from the pressures of ministry to decompress. I need to learn how to do that. In the busyness of ministry, it is vital to get away and decompress.

“Lord, like the disciples, I ask, “Teach me to pray.” And I also ask, “Teach me when to pray. Teach me to get away to spend time with you. To decompress from the pressures of ministry and just rest in your presence. You are the vine and I am but a branch. Teach me to abide in You.”

Another step…

5 thoughts on “decompress

  1. Seeing as I am going to scuba dive tomorrow. I will give thanks for the chance to decompress myself! Peace be with you and hope you find the peace in the Lord you seek!!


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