The Annual Abandon

There is some advice from Rick Warren I remember hearing that I love. He was speaking about people in ministry, but I think it applies to all who want to maintain a healthy balance in their lives. His advice was simply:

Divert daily. Withdraw weekly. Abandon annually.

In short, don’t be working/connected/plugged in all the time. (Easier said than done.)

Divert daily: do something every day that we enjoy or that relaxes us – even if it is just one short phone call with a friend or a morning run before anyone else is up.

Withdraw weekly: we know that this is what God intends for us – one whole day a week when we do not work but allow ourselves to be in his presence with our family and friends.

Abandon annually: every year leave all our work behind for a period of rest. So often our work defines who we are, and abandoning it for a period of time allows us to rediscover ourselves in relationship with God and with others – apart from everything that we ‘do’.


After two months of fieldwork in the US and Canada, I came back to England in the sultry heatwave at the end of June, and have loved the slower pace of July and August which beckons us into God’s presence. I also ‘abandoned’ a couple of times with some friends up mountains, and with my family at the beach. I find abandoning annually detoxes and rewires you back into quality-time, presence-filled relationships rather than the mindless, numb-brained scrolling of social media. So what did I do early into the summer? All the social media apps have been deleted from my phone and I haven’t looked back. It’s amazing how freer my mind is and how much more intentionally I’m using my time. If you’ve loved your annual abandon as much as I have, why not do the same?!

I also seem to have abandoned blogging somewhat, but unlike the social media apps, blogging will make its return! Already autumn seems to be waiting in the wings, and we’re preparing to change gear. After hanging out with the folks at St Benedict, Halifax for a month I absolutely can’t wait for this conference in October: Maintenance to Mission: Divine Renovation in your Parish. And tomorrow, I’m heading off to Inheritance – big things are happening in Youth 2000 and we are so excited for it.

So, here’s to looking to the autumn and everything God has in store…