The idea of writing this journal came to me when I had already started my sabbatical. Six months is a long time to take unpaid time off work and have nothing concrete to remember this period. I don’t know if anyone would be interested in reading my exploits, yet I felt putting things down in writing could become a legacy to my descendants on what grandma, great grandma, great-great grandma (till you lose count of the ancestry) did during this period of her life.
I had been unsettled for a while now in my current work and in particular the organization I work for. It has seemed to be a cycle of constant fire-fighting in the past nine years, with no time or breathing space simply to stop and put things right. I was at a point where I started feeling burnout, stressed out, intellectually not proactive and above all deeply disturbed by the values I saw being demonstrated by staff in my office. It was as if the only thing most staff members thought about was ‘me’, ‘me’, and ‘me’, not about how we could contribute positively to the life of poor people, the reason we were working for the organization.
I felt it was mostly about how we could get the maximum inflationary increase at a time when programs were being constrained financially: “How can I maximize me and myself?” The more I got to know God and develop a closer relationship with Him, the more I felt: “I am more than all of this. I have a purpose. I was born to make a positive impact on the lives of people. I am living to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. I have gifts and talent that should be used, not compressed. I need time out to focus on my vision and to step out to live the life God has ordained for me before the foundation of the earth.”
I decided to take a leap of faith and take time out. God had enabled me to save a little. Despite the niggling fear of insecurity; I decided to use this, since it was only money. You have to spend money to make money. I decided to use the time to spend with my family, do some writing, build the Institute and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The journey started in 2008. I had to strategize to reduce my expenses. This included selling my house, living in rented accommodation within the allowance I got from my office. I changed my two youngest daughters’ school to an outstanding public school, which cost a third of the private school they were attending, and started putting household expenses on a budget. I was able to make all these changes with the help of God. Without Him none of these would have been possible. My intention is to articulate my key insights, my growth spiritually, new learning, new opportunities and anything that had an impact and influenced me during this period.
I do hope that this book will help people who are feeling trapped, unfulfilled, unsatisfied with their current state of life, that they will be encouraged as well to make the bold choice to step out and do something different. Something that will make them come alive, discover who they are, and make the courageous decision to live a life of purpose. I don’t know what I will decide at the end of the six months, but I know who has my tomorrow in His hands and I know my tomorrow can only be great.