Well, today is the last day of my summer break. It’s been a very good four week interruption of life’s normal daily grind. I’ve been taking this break for about 8 years now. Here’s why it’s so important . . .

*Time to disengage from the world and re-engage with God. On break I begin virtually every day simply sitting in God’s presence, journaling and reading large portions of Scripture. As the weeks go by I find myself doing more and more sitting or walking in God’s presence.

*Review of the previous year. I spend a good bit of time reading through my journal from the past year, reflecting on what God has been up to, learning as much as I can from the journey. It’s very easy to forget what the past year has contained and very easy for me to overlook God’s hand in my life. I have to be intentional.

*Refill my tank. Much of what I do in life involves “pouring out.” For four weeks most of what I do is “take in.” This break I read 21 books, watched a bunch of movies and simply breathed in the best of life. Now I’m ready to pour out again.

*Reconnect with Julie. Every morning Julie and I would go on a 2-3 mile walk. We would talk about insignificant things and very deep things. Talk about our future and what we’re hearing God speak into our lives. Without the normal daily pressures . . . many conversations that have needed to take place are able to take place.

*Extended time with my children. I fell deeply in love with my new son Elijah. Every morning at 5:30 he would wake up and I would feed him on the front porch. It was great “daddy” time. My daughter, Tabitha, learned to dive on this year’s break. In year’s past she has learned to ride her bike. I make it a priority to put my book down and be fully with her.

Sooo, I’m incredibly grateful for a church leadership team that values my time away as much as I do. For a staff who keeps things moving forward in an incredible way. For friends who graciously provide us with a vacation home–free of charge. For a church that is always glad to see us return!