Just Maybe

In eLetter
Back to Blog

I just returned from a three-month sabbatical and the question I get asked most is, “What did you learn?” If you’re not familiar with sabbatical, the elders of IBC graciously offer time off to pastors every seven years to rest, reflect, and recharge. It is something I greatly appreciate and do not take lightly, but the “what did you learn” question can be a little intimidating. What they are not saying (but thinking) is, “You’ve had three months away to come up with something so this better be good!”

I learned a ton about a lot, but there is one theme that seemed to be consistent throughout my time away. It has to do with uncertainty and its relationship with authenticity. I’m coming to believe that uncertainty is the foundation of living an authentic life. I want to be certain. I want things to be clear. But I wonder if it’s always best. It’s true that I might admire people who seem certain about their path in life—but it doesn’t mean I really enjoy being around them. I relate more to the friend who, with humility, is asking sincere questions. I find myself gravitating to the person who reflects on their own motives, understanding how difficult it is to be honest with ourselves. I see those holding things loosely and not taking themselves too seriously enjoying life the most.

As I went through sabbatical, opportunities for uncertainty seemed to present themselves at every turn. My wife and I changed our destination for a getaway trip the day before we left. We listed our house and got an incredible offer, only to decline and decide to stay put. We made tentative plans for a weeklong vacation to the west coast only to determine at the last minute it didn’t feel right and went to the North Fork of Long Island instead (loved it!). The more we leaned into the uncertainty and were willing to look silly (see taking house off the market after an incredible offer), the more liberated we felt.

And yet throughout the uncertainty, there is something I am absolutely convinced of. The apostle outlines this unchanging reality in Romans 8:38-39:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, there you have it. God’s love is steadfast but pretty much everything else is a mixed bag. And while I’m certain I don’t like uncertainty, I’m also coming to see that uncertainty leads me to live more authentically. Just maybe.

We Recommend Reading Next: