On Sabbatical.

Hello dear wonderful friends:

After much reflection and prayer, I’ve decided to take a break from social media indefinitely, for at least a chunk of December.

In the last few weeks, I’ve spiraled into a depression and a big panic attack, for which I almost considered going to the hospital (it lasted nearly an hour and I thought maybe it was a heart attack). And at least partially, it has to do with being so unprepared for an increasing amount of hate-mail and harsh comments. Of course, I still absolutely love the online community, and really, it’s my own shortcoming that I let such things affect me so hard.

I’m a little embarrassed to be talking about all this: I know there are so many larger problems in the world, of which I’m trying be part of the solution, and my own issues are hardly a ripple in the pond.

In fact, that could also be why I’m so wounded, because I feel such a deep responsibility to change everything around me, and I get twisted up over how cruel the world can be. It’s like thrashing around in an ocean of burden, and it’s even become a selfish kind of death-grip on control.

Earlier this week, I spoke with a “viral celebrity” over the phone about how he handles both criticism in the spotlight and the burden to change things around him (by no means am I equating myself to him or that I have any kind of spotlight). He said that he still wrestles with insecurity, he still gets hurt by cruel comments, he’s still so careful about what he says in public, even after all his success. And to be truthful, I found that sort of a relief. It’s normal. It’s okay. It’s part of putting yourself out there, of taking a risk to move against the tide. We always live with a little bit of uncertainty, and we don’t go around it: we go right through it.

He also said, “I don’t want you to do this for another year or two. I want you to do this your whole life. And that means finding a way to keep going.”

It means to rest. To surrender the burden of control. To give over to the peace of God, who’s running the ship through this turbulent sea.

I’ll be checking back here occasionally to check messages, but otherwise: I won’t be posting anything new for a while. I’ll be working on a few new projects (like a new book) and recharging the best I can. In the meantime, my blog and books are still available.

May you pray for me as we pray for the world? May you consider fasting with me for some of the time?

And may we be kind to one another, to promote each other to our best, to say life-giving things that we ourselves want to hear, too.

Love you, dear fellow travelers, and thank you.
See you at the other end.
— J.S.