When writing my new book, Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace, I realized everyone would not be able to take months off work to examine their lives and hear God's special messages for their lives. That doesn't mean that everyone couldn't use at least a mini sabbatical. Do an abbreviated inventory of your big life issues or unfulfilled dreams, then find a place to talk them over with God. The following are 8 great ways to set aside time for life's bigger questions.
1. Enjoy a Stay-cation. If we've been going a hundred miles an hour between work, home, children/grandchildren, the best gift may be loads of free time around the area where we live. Schedule that massage you've wanted, a hair appointment at a new salon, lunch at the latest restaurant or time at the local pool. Get up late each day. Begin with time alone with God. Read books. Go to the farmer's market you've wanted to try.
2. Get on a plane and don't look back. A 3-day weekend or one week vacation may be all we need to reset our inner clock. For those who are not too tired and don't mind airports, the right prescription may be a beach in another state or even country.
3. Participate in a Christian conference. If fellowship energizes you, the right prescription may be signing up for a conference you've always wanted to attend. Worship is a great precursor to any discussion with God. Be sure to take time alone in your room to ask God those big questions. Then, listen closely at the seminars and large-group sessions. He will answer.
4. Attend a Christian music festival. Heat and sweat don't energize everyone, but for those of us who love great praise bands, a multi-day festival may get you in the right place spiritually to commune with the Creator. Do some prep work by determining your areas of dissatisfaction/need, then pray into them as the music rocks and rolls. It just might shake loose some answers and new direction.
5. Devote time to a service project. Although it seems counter-intuitive, getting away on a one-week mission trip to build a new orphanage (or for any good purpose) may be just the type of experience that can illuminate God's plan for our future. Helping the least of His little ones is sure to put our issues in perspective and perhaps guide up to a new calling. This could be across the street or around the World.
6. Join a home bible study or cell group. Some of my most peaceful moments in the midst of storms have happened at small groups associated with my church or para-church organizations. Come each week ready to minister to others and to be ministered to. Having others regularly pray into our lives and support us can mean the World as we walk through life's difficulties.
David L. Winters is an author and speaker. Check out his new book Sabbatical of the Mind wherever great books are sold.