I am writing you as Toby and I drive to our beautiful little cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin for a three-month sabbatical; a most gracious gift from my church to use for rest and renewal.
For the past several weeks, I have thought a lot about how to use this precious time. And what I kept circling back to was a book that I read many years ago entitled, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. (I consider myself a wanna-be effective person … but it’s the trying that counts, right?)
The seventh habit is the one I focused on. It is entitled: Sharpening the saw.
“Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual . . . As you renew yourself in each of the four areas, you create growth and change in your life . . . You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you. Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish . . . Living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself.”
I’ve learned the hard way that self-renewal is something we must be proactive about; something we must build into everyday life. This summer I hope do just that through reading, writing, and a balance of quiet thought, meditative fishing and loud motorcycle pipes. But more importantly, I hope to recommit to making self-care a consistent practice, a daily/weekly/monthly habit that will offer continual renewal even after I return.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” While most of us are not planning on literally chopping down trees, we all have plans and hopes and dreams that require a sharp saw. And that’s exactly what I intend to create.
As part of that sharpening, I am going to take a break from blogging. It requires a lot of energy to create and publish a weekly message. In order to sharpen the saw for when I return, I need to pause. That said, I may sneak a few messages out there just to let you know I’m still here 🙂
Have a great summer and talk to you in August!