In the same way that sabbaticals need a plan at the beginning, they are helped by having a review process at the end. Here is one review experience that many have found helpful.
Schedule a retreat day or set aside a couple of mornings during the last month of your sabbatical to work on this review project. Gather your calendar, journal and any other study/reflection material that you used during your time. Also bring your initial sabbatical plan that you filed with your supervisor at the beginning of your sabbatical.
Prayer of Preparation
Father, Son, and Spirit thank you for the time and space that you have given me these past months. I am yours in body and soul in this life and the next. Give me peace and presence of mind to think back over these past months. I want to see more clearly what you have been saying to me about my life with you and those that I love and serve in the world. I want to thank you for the rest and renewal that you have given me. Finally I want to notice the surprises that occurred along the way. I sought (imperfectly) to relinquish control so that you might have more leverage to shape me and my journey with you. As I look back, give me wisdom to know what to carry forward into the future. May your name be honored as a result of this time spent together. Amen
Review Part One—Month by Month
On a month by month basis read through your journal and review your calendar or other material. Write a brief summary of each month answering the following questions:
- What happened to you both internally/spiritually and externally?
- Was there anything that surprised you?
- Where did you struggle?
Review Part Two—The Big Picture
Step back and look over the whole experience. Consider the following questions:
- What major life lessons did you learn during this time? Try to state them briefly
- As a result of your sabbatical, are there any changes that you want to make and carry back to your normal work schedule?
- What Scriptures, books, or other means did the Lord use to speak to you?
- Do you have any inner healing, reconciliation, or peacemaking issues that you would like to pursue? What is your next step?
- What parts of this experience do you want to share with your supervisor, donors, and friends and what parts do you prefer to keep private?
Review Part Three – Creating a Memorial (optional)
Over the centuries God’s people have found it helpful to create memorials to help them remember the lessons the Lord has taught them. In addition to your written review, consider creating something that will help you remember your sabbatical experience. This might consist of a piece of visual art, photography, music, or poetry.
Review Part Four—Getting Ready For Your Next Sabbatical
If you decide to stay with InterVarsity for another seven years, you may have the opportunity for another sabbatical. Consider these process questions.
- What activities were most helpful for you during this time?
- What activities were least helpful during this time?
- What would you change next time?
- What suggestions do you have for your supervisor?
Take the last hour of your review retreat in gratitude to Lord for the experience he has given you.
Put on your calendar three months from now a retreat to reread your sabbatical review.
O Lord my God, to you and your service I devote myself, body soul and spirit. Fill my memory with the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit; and make all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would have me do. Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted to my care, and let me by my life and speaking set fourth your true and living Word. Be always with me in carrying out the duties of my salvation; in praises heighten my love and gratitude; in speaking of you give me readiness of thought and expression; and grant that, by the clearness and brightness of your holy Word, all the world may be drawn to your blessed kingdom. All this I ask for the sake of your Son my savior Jesus Christ. Amen
From the Divine Hours- Prayers for Wintertime, page 160
Printable Version of Sabbatical in Review.pdf
For additional information about sabbaticals read this document called SabbaticalFAQ.pdf