Thanks to our good friends Ken & Lynn Nipp, we were able to really begin our sabbatical in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. Our goals for this sabbatical are simple: unplug, refuel, and listen to God. Unplugging is not easy and requires discipline. I’m understanding why Jesus made a habit of escaping to lonely places away from crowds to spend time with the Father. He’d often cross the Sea of Galilee to get away. In this modern era of technology this requires me staying off line (except for these posts) and putting my cell phone on a shelf.
Two good friends advised me that as I unplug , I can expect two things:
- The garbage that’s deep inside me to rise to the surface.
- God will show up and speak to me as I rest in Him.
Both are proving incredibly true.
As I’ve been unplugging, I sensed God leading me to read The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges. One thing that has become incredibly clear is that I swing between pride and guilt far more than I recognize. Both are rooted in my performance than the grace of God. Both are because I often functionally live as a child of wrath than a child of grace (see Ephesians 2:1-10). The following quote from Bridges gives a snapshot of what I’m digesting:
Because we are focusing on our performance, we forget the meaning of grace: God’s unmerited favor to those who deserve only His wrath. Pharisee-type believers unconsciously think they have earned God’s blessing through their behavior. Guilt-laden believers are quite sure they have forfeited God’s blessing through their lack of discipline or their disobedience. Both have forgotten the meaning of grace because they have moved away from the gospel and have slipped into a performance relationship with God.
Bridges, Jerry The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness (pp. 22-23)
The Poconos have also provided the perfect setting for quality time with the family: daily trips to the pool, hiking/wading in a waterfall, Christin and Wren participating in a children’s play, Jude and I tubing the Delaware River.