Keeping Distance From the World
When we spend time away from the world, it can and should be a time to grow. Commonly this happens through the loss of a job, illness, furloughs and so forth, it being a time to grow. In my life, I have actively sought out these periods. I realize now I was taking what is known as sabbaticals.
An example timeline for me is, a period of dedicated work, one to two years at most. This is followed by a sabbatical of about two months and then a period of study and reflection focusing on one specific subject and a few supporting subjects. This might last anywhere from two more months to a year. This is how my schedule has been for most of my life. I thought this was through a fault or shortcoming of mine for most of that time but now I realize it was a good instinct and kept me focused and consistently strong in my planning and the ability to keep my direction.
I think when we don’t observe extended periods of rest and reflection, we get caught up in the plans the world has for you. This reinforces participation in the “cares of this world”. It might be a lot of your time off is in a period of study within a profession, but in this time, it is separate from the expectations on how you fulfill that study. This is antithetical to the worlds approach; it leaves us vulnerable. Most professions keep us occupied 100 percent of the time and exhausted, without the extended time off. It’s the perfect state to be conditioned into habits a lifestyle and ethic that has departed from Christ.
You can’t see the big picture in the weeds and you can’t progress from a point of exhaustion. The way I had dealt with this in the past is to have in mind that I’m not going to work somewhere permanently. I must have room to breathe. My personality is such that I need extended alone time to recharge and evaluate my priorities. I always feel like the world is taking me over if I don’t put the brakes on it.
When I’m caught up in an organization, after a few months I feel entangled. Their attitudes and beliefs become like “gunk” to my spirit. I can’t separate my ambitions and theirs. That’s inevitable when you live with the world full-time. We are called to be in the world not of it. But when you rush right out the door right when you wake up and then come home like a zombie or straight to sleep, you are of the world. If we are honest with ourselves, we know if we are in those behaviors, Christ is not first, our work is. And our faith is not in Christ, but the world. If anything gets in the way of Christ in our lives, it must be removed.
My calendar looks like this. The business years starts in January after MLK day. It ends in November, right before thanksgiving. I sit down and write my expectations for the year, the things I’d like to accomplish and what I want to see when I sit down at my desk in November. Out of that I make a blueprint, that is more specific, that outlines some of the tasks that need to be accomplished in order to realize the vision at the end of the year. This blueprint, can’t be overridden by outside factors or entities. Meaning, demands that interfere with this blueprint are declined. The main idea is, those things are the core elements that I need in order to prosper and be in a position to help my family and others. If those things are left undone then I will have sacrificed what is essential for the non-essential. This is how I put the brakes on the world.
What is essential? Reading and following the Word. Teaching my children to follow Christ. Helping my family with their needs. Being a part of the community, guiding them towards Christ. Secondarily, my projects and outline for my career, establishing where I want to be 10 years from now, GOD willing of course. I try to think of myself as my own organization with my own mission statement and constituents that it is beholden to, Christ and Family. My written outline is that fence that works to keep the world out.