I have been on soul vacation.
Well, at least I am beginning to take a soul vacation. I am dreaming about what a soul vacation looks like. And I am trying to figure out how to pack my soul-suitcase and go lay out by the beach with a coconut drink in one hand and a good book in another.
In the midst of 55 shows. From New York to Seattle and everywhere in between. In the midst of living on a bus. With my baby. And husband. And eleven other adults. And one tiny bathroom.
Yep, during the next two months in the midst of all that I am trying to go on soul vacation, because, as Nita Andrews from Porter’s Call once told me, “You can’t be everything for everybody. Your soul needs rest. And if you don’t find a way to give yourself rest in the midst of what you do, you will end up a recluse, in a cottage, far away from society, bitter at the world. God doesn’t need you to be a martyr Jenny; a depleted, useless, martyr. Your soul needs rest.”
My soul is a bit burned out.
One too many girls this summer dealing with abuse, one too many preachers with hidden agendas, one too many student pastors with good intentions who end up making my faith feel cheap, one too many online comments written with anonymity and so little respect or personal responsibility, one too many plane rides, one too many books saturating my brain, one too many hugs, one too many autographs, one too many...
So I met my pastor Jackie for lunch recently to get some things off my chest.
I told her that I felt off. I’ve been so tired this summer that I’ve convinced myself I was pregnant... twice. Yikes! I stopped eating healthy and I've taken to eating ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. I avoid text messages and phone calls like the plague. And worst of all, I told her, I don’t feel anything when I worship. It just seems fake. And I find myself looking at people who are worshipping like they are foreign aliens.
Crazy. Foreign. Aliens.
I feel removed. I have found myself wondering time and time again, “Is God even real?”
“I don’t think I believe in God anymore,” I said in defeat, “And I really don’t like church people they are all giving me the heebie jeebies. And I mean, I have nothing against God. Other people can believe in God but I’m too tired too. I just want to live on an island and work at a coffee shop and play in the ocean.”
She smiled and shook her head. My friend Krista came in to the restaurant and ordered us wine.
“Jenny doesn’t believe in God anymore.”
“Oh cool. I’ve done that before,” she smiled.
Jackie looked at me with the most tender eyes “Well, my friend, if you end up a Buddhist or a recluse living by the ocean who doesn’t believe in God, I will still love you. But seriously, I am not going to have that conversation with you today. I think you and Jesus are closer than you care to be at times. But I think your soul is so burned out that you don’t even know how to go home to Him. It’s not that you don’t believe in God, it’s that you need to take a soul vacation. You need to spend some time processing the intensity of this past year with a counselor. You need to shut down for a while. You need to play. You need to not think. You need to go on soul vacation friend.”
Burn out? Soul vacation?
Hearing someone give me permission to take a soul vacation brought me to tears.
Nothing has ever sounded better. I was ready to vacate all responsibility right then and there for an immediate leave of absence.
Her words rung deep and true and I knew without a shadow of a doubt... I needed a break.
That’s where I have been. Taking a break. Defining boundaries for my soul. My family. My time. My life.
I have been on soul vacation. And to be honest, I need to be on soul vacation for quite a bit longer. And once this tour is over, I am going to take time off. Maybe a month. Maybe a year. I’m not sure yet. All I know is that I have started on my soul vacation and I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is exactly where I need to be.
I haven’t read books. Haven’t engaged in anything political or controversial or even slightly related to Obama or healthcare or tea parties or crazy Koran burning pastors. I have not gone there. I have not done anything for anybody. Whew. Let me say that one more time: I have not done anything for anybody, for at least a week or so now, and oh my gosh, it’s been the best feeling ever. No reading the news. No volunteering. No blogging. I really haven’t been a good friend either. No returned text messages. No calling. No emailing. Nothing really. And the thing is...I’m ok with that for right now.
The people who love me the most are ok with it too.
What do you even do on S.V.? I’ve been playing with Annie. Watching her. Taking joy in the smallest things that she does. I’ve been looking at what actress wore what dress to the Emmy’s (I’ve literally never done that before in my life). I’ve traded in my Christian books for magazines about how to make the perfect cupcake and how to help my daughter, Annie, poop better. I’ve taken guilt-free naps and fallen in love with Ellen. Did you know she dances on every single show??? And almost always gives away presents to people? And I promise you that lady owns every cool pair of shoes ever created!
I can’t believe it.
Me, the girl who only watches TV if I am on my death bed. I’ve been watching Ellen and Access Hollywood for fun.
And I love it!!!
I love that everyone in my life has simply let me be. No quoting scripture or looks of disappointment. No one trying to fix me. But just friends being friends. Parents being good parents. Sisters being good sisters. Counselors being good counselors. Pastors being good pastors. And all of them saying.
The only way I can see a counselor during times like this is because of a really amazing ministry called Porter’s Call.
Al and Nita Andrews realized years ago that Christian artists are often sent out on the road to love on and minister to people, at a break-neck pace, with little pay, and much strain to their relationships back home. They realized artists needed a safe haven. A place to vent. To grow. To heal. To dream. And then to be sent back out again to bring God’s message of hope to people through art.
Al and Nita single-handedly created a place for your favorite artists- and I’m telling you, I don’t know many people in the business who have not been to them for therapy- to receive counseling services free of charge and in untraditional settings and times. Like 8 pm at a coffee shop. Or in their artist retreat center. Or first thing in the morning with your husband or bandmates at their office. You name it, they are there for us and they have single-handedly guided artists through the roughest spots in our marriages, ministries, and band relationships. Free of charge.
They make it possible for someone like me to get the support I need when I have found myself face to face with a desperate need for SOUL VACATION.
This week we are raising money for Porter’s Call through a huge online Ebay auction!!! It is my hope that there are some fans out there who would love to spend a day drinking coffee, eating cupcakes, mexican food, and going shopping with one girl who is officially on SOUL VACATION!
If you want to join me for an ultimate day of pampering and support an amazing ministry that keeps your favorite artists spiritually and emotionally together... please, please, please consider placing your bid first thing tomorrow morning for Dallas Diva Day with yours truly!
A true soul vacation!!!