When You Need a Sabbatical

This may be the least sexy post I’ve ever put up. But if you’ve been a long-time reader, I hope you’ll stick with me.

The rest of you might want to go read something more entertaining, like this post: Q&A with J: Sex Isn’t Just for Bunnies.

I’ve wondered lately if I’m facing burnout.

After all, my typically consistent, three-day-a-week blogging schedule has crumbled in recent months — with some Mondays, Thursdays, or Saturdays arriving and me running out of time or energy to get a post written and published.

Moreover, I have too many comments in my queue to moderate, primarily ones that require longer responses than I could provide when they came in. My email inbox is overflowing with everything from off-topic marketers offering to write articles for my blog to heartrending stories of couples whose sex lives are bruised or broken.

It all just seems overwhelming at times, as I plug away here on my blog, write books alone in the quiet of my office (which take me far too long to pen, but that’s how writing goes), and sift through reader emails and comments. All while invoices arrive in my inbox for website and podcast hosting, stock photos, and post and newsletter distribution.

Yet I’m still just as passionate about passion.

When I look at the challenges facing marital intimacy all around us, when I’m writing or speaking about God’s design for sex in marriage, and when I interact with readers who have benefited from my words, I still feel that same surge of longing and energy to make a difference. I still feel God’s hand nudging me forward.

Then I hear from couples who have turnaround stories like mine, only in their retelling, Hot, Holy & Humorous has made some difference. And I’m blown away by that! Just blown away. Lord, who am I for You to use me that way?

Plus, I have projects I’m eager to get to — more books, the possibility of another podcast, speaking engagements, etc. — all about sexual intimacy in marriage as God created it to be.

So maybe I’m not facing burnout, but reality.

My ministry consists of me and a virtual assistant who works on my stuff about 10-15 hours a month. And I’m not even full-time. I have another part-time job I have to keep up, as well as copy editing jobs I take on the side to help with our family income. With the amount of time and money I have, there’s just only so much I can do. And I think I’ve hit my mortal limits.

As I type this, I want to curl under my desk and weep for all the people who took their time and courage to write and explain their difficult situation and ask for my advice … whom I likely will never be able to give a full answer to. Because I want to. I want so much to help every single wife and husband who writes me. But my own husband, being more of a mathematician than I, recently calculated how many hours I would need to respond properly to all those messages … and let’s just say I’d need God to freeze everything around me for about three weeks while I catch up. I consider that an unlikely event.

I also would love to blog here five days a week, but the three I committed to are already not happening. Then those books I want to write — or rather, feel God’s calling to write — are not getting done while I manage all the other things. So what’s a mere mortal to do?

I’m not quitting.

Lest you think this is my way of saying: I am outta here! Nope. You can’t get rid of me that easily! You did read that whole section about my passion, right?

But I am going to be taking a hiatus in July.

Because I really feel like I need to reset, see where I am and what is most important about this ministry, and dedicate the time I would spend here to time with God to discern His will for me going forward. I already have a very good sense that it will involve me continuing to blog (though how much, I don’t know), podcasting with Sex Chat for Christian Wives, and writing more books. However, I haven’t been still enough lately to listen to His voice.

Since starting to blog in 2010, I’ve never taken this long a break, and it’s a scary proposition for me. What if my readers go away? What if I miss the opportunity to help someone? What if I find out that I’m not really missed?

But I also feel enormous peace about stepping away for a bit and this strong sense that it’s what I need to do — for recharging, for spending time with my family, for trusting my Heavenly Father.

What can you do in the meantime?

Well, there are a great blogs out there! I have some recommended ones on the sidebar (or scroll down, if you’re on a mobile device). But in case you haven’t noticed, I also wrote some books!

CLICK ON A BOOK COVER TO CHECK IT OUT!

  Hot, Holy, and Humorous book cover  Final Book Cover - smaller

And I have more than 800 posts on my blog that you can search for content relevant to whatever you’re going through. The search bar is at the top. (And yes, I really want to categorize all my posts so you can more easily find what you want, but that’s another hours-upon-hours job I haven’t had the time or money to get to.)

You can tune into our wonderful Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast, where I’m still talking about sex in marriage by God’s design. I also did an interview with Dr. Corey Allan of the marvelous Sexy Marriage Radio, which will be aired sometime in July, and I will post that here on the site for you to go listen to.

Oh, and one last thing you can do in the meantime: Pursue hot, holy, and humorous sex with your spouse — today, this week, this month, and for the rest of your lives.

How can you help my ministry?

Buy those books. I hate to be pushy about it, but if you’ve been thinking of purchasing one of those books, it would nice for you to go ahead and do it. Because the way this works is that my book sales help me to continue what I’m doing, and publishers look at the numbers when deciding whether to give another contract to an author.

But it’s not about me. I really believe in what I write and that it can help your marriage. So don’t just do it for me — do it for your marriage!

Consider a donation. I don’t donate to every cause I believe in, nor do you. But if I have touched your marriage in a special way, or you also feel passionate about getting the word about God’s design for sex in marriage, perhaps you’d consider giving Hot, Holy & Humorous some financial support. You can learn more by visiting my Patreon page. Below is the video is from my welcome page on the site!

Become a Patron!

Pray for my ministry. Because, again, it’s just little ol’ me here typing away in a corner of an extra bedroom in our house, with periodic interruptions from family, our overly vocal cat, and Amazon deliveries (my husband has an online ordering problem). I continue to be surprised by how much I have gotten done. I feel I should “raise my Ebenezer” (See 1 Samuel 7:12, “Thus far the LORD has helped us“) and also thank all of you for your part.

Okay, that’s it. I’m out for the rest of July. My virtual assistant will be moderating comments when I’m not around (waving at the marvelous Heather, whom you should also have your prayers). And I’ll be interacting here and there as time allows. Many blessings, and I’ll see you in August!

51 thoughts on “When You Need a Sabbatical

  1. Brian

    J, I’ve been where you are and it’s a hard place to be. At one point in my life I thought I was invincible and able to do a limitless amount of work for as long as I wanted, and for years that was true for me. But, there came a point in my life where, as tough as I thought I was, I bit off more than I could handle and almost had a breakdown. I think you are an amazing person and I’m convinced that God has placed you on this earth to do what you’ve been doing. Few people could write about sex the way you do, and I’m more grateful for your wisdom than you could possibly know. I know I challenge you more than you would like, and I’m sorry if I’ve contributed to your stress. Your words have spoken truth to me so many times so I hope mine will now speak to you.

    You can’t do everything. That’s a hard thing for some people to digest, but we all have limits. Even when the great work you are doing is for the Kingdom, we simply can’t do everything we wish we could do. We all have to choose what NOT to do so that the things we choose to do are done well. Saying no to things, especially when they seem so worthwhile, is hard. God will show you where your focus should be, and I have no doubt that he will bless whatever you do just as he has used this blog to bless me and countless others. I will be praying for you J. Know that I love you as a sister in Christ.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Brian, that was so nice and encouraging. Thank you very, very much! And I actually enjoy being challenged, for a while. 😉

      Reply
  2. B

    Dear J, you certainly deserve a break and everyone needs time to rest and recharge. Enjoy your July! Praying for you.

    Reply
  3. Amy S.

    J: I am so glad that you recognize the need for a break…too often we deny it for too long. Enjoy your time away. Relax, reflect, and refresh! I pray you get all the answers you are looking for! See you when you come back!

    Reply
  4. Cindy Brannon

    J, I took a sabbatical last year for SEVERAL months from Song Of Solomon Wives. After (at that point) 7 yrs and some personal issues I needed to work thru, it was needed.
    It turned out to be refreshing! Do what you have to do! It will help to strengthen……. <3

    Reply
  5. Terry

    J, I read in a book (wish I could remember the author) that as Jesus was hanging on the cross, there seemed to be so much work left unfinished. There were still people in need of physical healing, in need of protection from rampant legalism, or just in need of His words of truth. And yet He said, “It is finished.” And indeed, He had done what He came to do. Not that you’re “finished” with ministry or with life(!), but if you feel that there’s so much more that you could or should be doing, well…apparently you’re in good company. I’ve found this encouraging when it seems that I accomplish very little in a day, and I pray that each day I complete what is the most important.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Thanks so much, Terry. It is hard to feel like you’re leaving people hanging, and I do it all the time with my inbox so full and comments with more I could say. But I know that I’m not IT. No one’s marriage hangs on me. I fully believe Mordecai’s words from Esther 4:14: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance…will arise from another place.” God’s doing His thing with or without me. But I do want Him to use me, and right now, He’s telling me to take a short break so He can use me better in the future.

      Reply
  6. Tristan Vali

    J,

    As a husband, I wanted to personally thank you for your insightful blog posts and all the hard work you place in this beautiful ministry. Enjoy your time off because even Christ needed to take time to get away. We look forward to your return along with new insights too.

    Reply
  7. Holyterror

    Hooray for you, J!
    You saw the wall before you crashed emotionally, spiritually, or physically. This is to be celebrated. The world and your ministry need you to rust out, not burn out.
    Sign off and bug out for awhile. To do so pleases God.

    Reply
  8. Phil

    Hey J – enjoy your time you deserve it. I actually made a decision myself this weekend that I too am taking a bit of a break. My situation involves working on myself and trying to find the platfom where I can serve my fellows better than I currently am. I am constantly wokring at it. I have decided that I take myself too seriously and I am going to read a book about fishing and go benign for a while. I am finding it real hard already on day 2. Hence I came here for deep innerself thinking lol. You caught me. And ironically you are helping me by having nothing to digest lol. Hey so have fun – my Mom is going to have my kids for 2 weeks and it will just be the wife and I and then I will be all alone for 2 weeks. I am sure I can find time to relax and sit and be still. Take care

    Reply
  9. Lucio

    God bless you nda your hard earned hiatus, may the rest properly recharge your batteries, hopefully all your family along with you will reap the effects of this much needed time. Please, please, DO NOT COME BACK until July has gone by, most likely you will have to fight the temptation to do so at one time or another, I pray for you to be able to resist.

    Reply
  10. Cara

    Very good choice J! I wish you the best during your sabbatical. Most of us wouldn’t go away. We’ll assume that you will come back all refreshed and ready to go!!
    You have an awesome ministry.

    Reply
  11. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    J, when you return, I will be here, if I am still alive.

    I so understand burnout…I try to blog three times a week on dying, and having to delve deep into what it’s doing to me…by God, it can be hard, and there are times when I don’t want to go there. I want to have a life of Jack Daniels and rugby brawls and pub crawls…NOT incontinence and forcing myself forward when I want to curl up and cry.

    What keeps me doing it are my readers, who, if I take a break, will think I’ve died…and more importantly, that writing about this stuff is helping me find a paradigm for living beyond pain and incontinence and the very worst that pancreatic cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma can offer.

    Sometimes all I can bear to give them is a music video that’s made me feel better.

    Like I said. I intend to be here when you return. If I’m not, I will tell Jesus about the wonderful work you’ve done, and me and Him will be planning a full-out surprise party for you when (a LONG when) you get to Heaven.

    It’ll have to be a long time, because we’ll need that, to hide all the breakables.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Well, I may not be here in July, but I will visit your blog this month. So I’ll catch you over there! Thanks so much, Andrew. You have inspired many.

      Reply
  12. E

    Enjoy your well deserved rest. Enjoy your quiet time with a God. Rest in Him and find out what is next for you as a good and faithful servant. You are doing a wonderful and admirable thing! Know that I am praying for you and your ministry. Listening to God and working out the next right thing to be doing is never easy (Satan likes to keep us rushing around on our hamster wheels!) but it is the most important thing.

    Reply
  13. Mark

    J,

    I have wondered how you have been able to maintain this blog, with the amount of ground you are covering in what amounts to a short amount of time.

    Writing the articles, proof reading and still keeping it fresh while the quality of the topics and way they are being presented is impressive.

    Maybe scaling it down to once a week or once every two weeks, will help ease on day to day time constraints while give you the opportunity to pray and meditate on the next topic.

    Trust me, the topics you cover is enough for all of us subscribers enough to think about for days anyway.

    Actually sometimes I can’t keep up with the amount of postings you are currently displaying.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Huh, that’s interesting. I never thought about readers not keeping up. Probably because there are so many blogs out there that do 3-5 days a week. But you have a point. I get overloaded reading blogs sometimes too. Thanks, Mark!

      Reply
      1. Mark

        J, some readers may get over-loaded looking at other blogs, but some readers I’m sure have a lot going on in life.

        The topics you cover are deep and thought provoking, because the topics are very personal and yet the quality is tastefully done. The quality is so good that one article can stick in our minds for days, sometimes weeks, months.

        To your subscribers, we would rather see you write something once a week or every other week, instead of you getting a little “burned out” trying to maintain the quality or struggle to meet personal deadlines putting together approximately 3 topics in the high quality standards you have, that you end up stopping or discontinue all together.

        Something to consider.

        I noticed an Astros comment again, causing me to suggest that my Mariners for the first time in 16 years are actually competitive and have a really good team and sitting a 1/2 game back of World Series Champs Astros going into today.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          Thanks, Mark. I’m going to mulling over the blog schedule and asking God to lead me on that.

          And man, you have no idea how competitive I can be. You want to rumble on Astros vs. Mariners? Let’s go! Lol.

          Reply
          1. Mark

            So far Mariners/Astros (M comes before A) have played 6 times this season, with the Astros winning 4. The M’s have to get hungry if they are to dethrone the Astros in the West.

            Watch out though, as the M’s are starving right now.

          2. J Post author

            Oh, so this is on now. I will be watching the Mariners/Astros and gloating, in a completely Christ-like way (LOL), when the Astros win. 🙂

  14. Chris

    I really hope you follow your own title and have some hot holy and humorous sex with spock this month. J you need the rest. Catch an astros game and watch them lose 😜and enjoy yourself and your family.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Yes, Spock and I just might boldly go into our bedroom and enjoy! 😉 And have you met my Astros? They’re winners! I will happily watch them head toward another pennant this season. Thanks!

      Reply
  15. Matt

    Enjoy your break! None of your readers are going anywhere and we eagerly await the good things to come from your freshened spirit.

    Reply
  16. Happily Married

    Thanks for all you do to strengthen and encourage our marriages! Enjoy your time of rest!

    Reply
  17. Wayne

    J, I see that you’re reading and responding here – wasn’t sure if this sabbatical included these or not, or I probably would have posted sooner. Or prefaced something like “when you get back….”, anyway, I couldn’t be happier for you – *and* I’m glad you’re not quitting. That rest and revitalization to hand in hand. And it’s biblical.

    For me, many times just the mere availability is enough, and that goes for just about anything – friendships or other connections (like this one), assistance at work, and yes, sex and sex discussion. Options are always good to have. Yes, I have found this site helpful; I wouldnt want not to have that availability. It’s like Yogi Berra said in the Aflac commercial: “You really need to have it. You don’t have it – that’s why you need it.”. You have a rare ability to take the most emotional topic on earth, and keep it just as your blog name says, to use my own words, steamy, even explosive (mind picture not intentional…and least, not entirely) yet clean, and allowing for plenty of laughter and comic relief, all at the same time.

    Speaking of baseball, yes, let’s you and our resident Mariner’s fan fight – lol! 😆
    Only saying this because, with my boyhood team Tigers out of it (though somehow hovering around second place in a weak division), I gotta laugh at something. Heck even my now-local team the Nationals are a game above .500. .500! Ludricous, for a team with that much talent. Anyway….enjoy your Sabbath rest, and I’ll see you and everyone when you’re back. Or….”back”..
    Best

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I’ve been told this is my last day to check in. By lovely, well-meaning friends. But thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words.

      Go, ‘Stros!

      Reply
  18. Mark

    J.
    Just in case the “Stros” struggle today, maybe keep a box of kleen-ex sitting next to you as you are watching the game.

    Oh, I forgot, there is no crying in baseball. haha

    Reply
  19. Agnieszka

    Have a great vacation, dear J! I’ve never commented on your posts before, but I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your work 🙂 Thank you for your passion, I hope you will rest a lot and come back full of energy <3

    Reply
  20. Eric

    J, thank you for all your hard work and commitment. Enjoy the break. I hope your team and you come back refreshed. God bless during this phase.

    Reply
  21. Amphasis

    I think it time to take a rest and think about what you really wanted in life, life and short and we have to make it meaningful.

    Reply
  22. Lucio

    July went S-L-O-W-L-Y by, i found myself checking your blog just in case you could not resist and posted something, August is tomorrow, hopefully by now you have regained your strenght and all. Consider bloggin’ twice instead of three times a week, and hard as it might seem, knowing you will surely like to be able to respond long and thoughtfully to every other difficult case or situation that gets to your inbox, maybe you should establish some kind of Lotto, choose 10, 20 or any other number and randomly choose one to reply to (“God´s lotto” maybe?) Looking forward to reading you again.

    Reply
  23. Pingback: What I Learned on My Sabbatical | Hot, Holy & Humorous

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