I’m home after a week of (mostly) vacation time in early August. While I enjoyed time with family and friends in New Mexico and Colorado, it’s also good to be back in Arizona. It’s good to reconnect with routines that work for my body, my soul, and my income(!). I am filled with gratefulness for both the vacation and the return.

As I’ve returned to daily walks through my neighborhood this past week, I’ve noticed how many plants are bearing fruit. While the temperatures still peak at over 100 degrees most days, local plants aren’t daunted. Instead, they are thriving. They are reaching a peak in their yearly routine, in the form of fruits and seeds which will nourish other beings and spread new generations of plants.

My work life is also thriving and spreading. I have a client who wants more of my time, a new publisher client, and potential new writing projects on the horizon. While at other times in my seven years as a contractor this might have felt daunting or overwhelming, I find myself instead in a space of gratefulness. I am, in a sense, harvesting the fruit of my seven years of freelance writing and editing. I am richly blessed.

In a spiritual guidance conversation this past week, I found myself recommending (through the wisdom of the Spirit, I believe) that someone take a sabbatical from an ongoing voluntary commitment about which they were having mixed feelings. Traditionally, sabbaticals take place every seven years (and have their origin in the concept of sabbath, in Hebrew tradition). I noticed that seven-year connection—I’ve been a freelance contractor for seven years—and I am pondering it. I’m not looking to quit anything, but I do wonder about ways in which I might need to pause and refocus or retool.

It’s somewhat countercultural to consider refocusing when things are going well. I’m not looking to make radical changes, but I am needing to investigate how to live sustainably through such an abundant harvest season. Sabbaticals are often about slowing down, trying something different, exploring new possibilities, and I intend to do some of each.

I also intend to bring my gratefulness to prayer. All this abundance is a gift from God. By giving thanks, getting still, and listening deeply, I trust that my sabbatical-of-the-spirit will result in another level of bountiful harvest.

Have you ever taken a sabbatical? What was its impact on your life?

Do you bring gratefulness to prayer? When was the last time you pondered God’s lavishness in your life?