How to Use a Spiritual Sabbatical for Growth

In today’s world, the hustle is glamorized, and burnout is considered normal, but working ourselves to the bone only draws us further from God. Dedicating a period of time to nurturing your spiritual side can do incredible things for your growth.

Chris Holland
June 30, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

Instead of trying to fit worship into an already busy life, take time off to focus on your bond with God. Choose to reset your mind, body, and soul to gain clarity on what is truly important in this world.

Whether the concept of a spiritual sabbatical is new to you or you have been considering taking one for some time, this is the blog for you. Keep reading if you are curious to learn more about the top spiritual sabbatical benefits and how to make a plan.

What Is a Sabbatical?

Woman painting while in a sabbatical

Simply put, a sabbatical is an extended period of time off work. It is a paid break from work that is usually offered to long-term employees, allowing them to explore their interests further. This could be almost anything, from writing and studying to sculpting and painting.

It differs from vacations because it lasts for at least four weeks (sometimes up to a year) and is not entirely for pleasure. People are expected to undertake educational or professional development opportunities when on a sabbatical break.

What Does Sabbatical Mean in the Bible?


The word ‘sabbatical’ is derived from the word Sabbath. As you probably know, the Sabbath is the last day of the week, dedicated to rest and connection with God. The concept of a sabbatical is as old as time, and it is very traditional for Christians to take a spiritual sabbatical leave.

In the Bible, the Sabbatical year refers to the boundless benefits felt when the land was left uncultivated for a year. This break provided the space it needed to grow and restore itself back to health, and people need this kind of a break, too.

What Is a Spiritual Sabbatical?

Taking a spiritual sabbatical outdoors

Understanding the spiritual sabbatical meaning starts by considering the importance of rest and unwinding. In today’s busy world, it is far too easy to spend our time rushing from one project to the next, never stopping to smell the roses or appreciate the little things.

A spiritual sabbatical urges you to clear all the unnecessary distractions from your life. Consider what’s forcing you to run out the door and put family time to one side, and then prune it from your schedule. Ditch the mindless TV shows and aimless internet browsing and replace these activities with meaningful reading and learning.

How to Plan a Spiritual Sabbatical:

Planning a spiritual sabbatical

Booking extended time off work without a plan can be scary, as it risks wasting your time entirely. So before you embark on your spiritual sabbatical journey, make sure you have made a coherent plan.

Be Intentional

Spend some time digging deep and finding the reasons for your sabbatical before you take any time off. A misguided break could leave you more disconnected than before, so do the legwork in your mind before making any commitments.

Ask yourself questions like: 

  • Why do I need this break?
  • What are my goals?
  • How could I be more connected?

Choose a Destination

Not everyone has the means to take a soul-searching road trip as part of their spiritual sabbatical. But changing your location can give your mindset the shift it needs. If you can, choose somewhere in nature away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

If you have kids and need to stay home, you can still get a taste of the outdoors. Plan your days around your little ones’ school schedules and take a daily walk in nature to give yourself the change of environment you need.

Handle Responsibilities

Going on a spiritual sabbatical is not about running away from your commitment or responsibilities. In fact, it is quite the opposite. When done right, time off like this will provide the reset you need to give 110% to all of your projects.

So take care of your commitments before you set out, and find someone to replace you where needed. Not all responsibilities can be reassigned (if you have kids, for example), but give yourself as much of a break as you can afford.

Digital Detox

Unplugging from the online sphere is essential if you really want to get the most from your spiritual sabbatical. Set your availability as ‘Out of Office’ and turn on an auto-reply for anyone who emails you. Enjoy the freedom, and don’t feel guilty about it.

A sabbatical requires living in the real world, so step away from the distractions of television and social media to gain clarity on what really matters in this world. Fill your time with hobbies, reading, and Bible study instead.

Physical Health Kick

A plate full of healthy food

Get the most from your time by going all out and prioritizing your physical health, too. Now is the time to ditch refined sugar from your diet and give yourself a break from the peaks and troughs of caffeine hits. Choose a simple, wholesome diet and enjoy a humble life.

Weaving daily exercise into your routine will energize you while keeping you focused on the purpose of this sabbatical. Try not to slip into patterns of laziness due to the time off from work. While it is a break from work, it should be a break with the intention to draw you closer to God.

If your church or workplace gives you the chance to take a spiritual sabbatical, say yes. This unique opportunity will widen your horizons, refresh your mindset, and strengthen your faith.

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