Ann and I just returned from a much needed five-week sabbatical season of rest, reflection, and renewal. Our two main goals were simply to spend unhurried time connecting with God and with each other. One highlight for me was getting in the habit of sleeping eight hours per night. It’s amazing how much easier it is to walk in the power of the Spirit when one’s body is fully rested. I had been struggling to sleep a full night after so many international trips in the first six months of this year. Key lesson: If I want to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, sometimes it helps to start at the end of the list and work backward.

The writer of the book of Hebrews exhorts, “Let us therefore strive to enter God’s rest.” (Hebrews 4:11). Resting, genuinely breaking away from the compulsions of perpetual work, requires some serious striving.

Here’s a brief excerpt from my journal on the final day of our sabbatical:

Lord, you are changing me. I feel it. I feel it when someone looks at their watch and comments on how they are taking my time and should go, but I can freely offer myself, like I have all the time in the world.

I feel it when I am not hurried to finish a conversation, a workout, a chapter in the book I’m reading, a phone call, a project I’m working on, or a meal. Hurry in me creates apathy and thinness. Ease creates spaces for authenticity, genuine concern, acute awareness, and ultimately LOVE. Remember, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” (Dallas Willard)

“I feel like a kid in a guitar shop”

When we reentered the world of meetings and email, people’s first question was “How was your sabbatical?” I shared that I felt like a kid in a guitar shop – I am eager, excited, ready, and can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and dig back into all God has for us. That’s how I know I’m refreshed and ready to go. I love this job!

What have you found helpful to enter rest?

This guest post comes from Kourtney Street, a dear friend and teammate whose vision helped me transform a great idea into a tangible project. By God’s grace my book CLOSE hit #1 in three categories of Kindle downloads this week: Church Leadership, Business & Management>Teams, and >Leadership.

Over the last eighteen months, our team watched as Ken completed his dissertation and transformed it into a book accessible to business and ministry leaders. In March I had the privilege of spearheading the launch for Close: Leading Well Across Distance and Cultures. I’ve been asked to share what I learned from launching a book. Here are my favorites, in no particular order:

Every Book Launch Needs a Wedding Planner. Smart brides and grooms know that having someone oversee all the important details of their big day is a non-negotiable. Wise authors take heed. If writing a book is like a wedding, the launch is the reception. Yet most authors leave after the vows only to miss the amazing celebration afterwards. Writing a book is exhausting. Authors must budget time and resources to ensure a successful launch. This includes finding someone to oversee your launch. Even an amateur, like me.

Every Amateur Book Launcher Needs Help From an Expert. There are copious books and resources on the Internet that got the ball rolling. But taking the message of Close to heart, I found someone to lead me well from a distance. In a providential turn of events, God provided Becky Robinson of Weaving Influence to coach me. Becky is an expert at promoting books for successful leaders, so Ken and his message were her forte. The launch would not have been as successful as it was without her wisdom and encouragement. I also gained a wonderful friend in the process.

Laughter is Imperative, Especially When Making Mistakes. At 10:28 pm the night before the launch, I realized that the main hashtag we’d chosen for the launch brought up very questionable sites on Twitter. I flashed back to a conversation with my husband weeks before in which he recommended that I double check the hashtags. Oops! Unfortunately, it was past Ann and Ken’s bedtime, and I’d intentionally not learned to make any changes on his website. Oops again! I did not have the password accessible, and all the information was loaded and ready to go out in less than 12 hours.

Don’t Be Afraid to Call in Backup. After regaining my breath, I emailed our teammate Claire. Thankfully, Claire was online, and her Luminosity Brain Training enabled her to recall Ken’s cyber-secure password. She changed the hashtag to something that would not get us all fired. It was a rookie mistake, but Claire was very gracious and truly happy to help me.

It Takes a Village to Launch a Book Well. The technological piece of the launch was by far my biggest learning curve. I’d never created pull-quotes or coached a graphic designer. At a crucial part of the journey, another teammate Matt patiently coached me through our design plan and saved the project. My husband, Rich, who has a keen grasp of social media, gave non-stop wisdom and advice and cheered me on into the wee hours many nights. Our official CLOSE Launch Team of colleagues, friends, friends of friends, and supportive strangers who Tweeted, Facebooked, reviewed and championed the book made the launch truly something to celebrate.

I love my job. Serving alongside Ann and Ken Cochrum on staff with Cru for the last eight years, has been such a joy and privilege. They authentically live this message–leading and loving well across distance and cultures. There are less than 48 hours left of the Free Kindle Download week. If you have not already read Close, I hope that you will take advantage of this free download opportunity and be challenged and inspired by its message.


 

Kourtney with Ken and AnnKourtney Street is a native Texan turned Global Nomad thanks to Rich, her husband of 16 years. Kourtney and Rich joyfully serve on staff with Ann and Ken on the Global Digital Strategies team. Her days start with strong coffee and are infused with life and laughter via her three sons. Kourtney reads voraciously, blogs sporadically, and loves with her whole heart. Find her at hearditonthestreet.com/kourtney.

Do you lead a distributed team? Work with people from different cultures? Wrestle with a very full travel schedule and wonder if the right things are really getting done?

CLOSE Free Offer ImageI wrote CLOSE: Leading Well Across Distance and Cultures for you. Download a free Kindle version all week, June 16-20, at Amazon.com.

If you like it please write a review. If not, well….