Black Women Plant Seeds Columns

After you #LeaveLOUD, don’t forget to rest

Kristina Button

I think that it is very hard to know where or even what our next step is when we #LeaveLOUD. Many of us find ourselves wandering in the wilderness; the space between our previous spiritual community and our next church home. Leaving an unhealthy church and entering into the wilderness gives a sense of freedom, yet, it is also filled with uncertainty. The biggest questions that those of us in the wilderness seem to have are, “We outchea, but where do we go and what do we do? How long do we stay in the wilderness?” I firmly believe that the next step is to rest. 

Black Christians should normalize and prioritize taking a sabbatical after leaving white and multiethnic organizations. A sabbatical is nothing more than a time of rest (the root word of sabbatical is “sabbath,” which means to rest as God did on the seventh day of Creation). You might have heard of a pastor or other spiritual leader taking a sabbatical where they take time to disconnect from the world to hear from God. 

We need a break from the regular microaggressions and tokenization that comes with being in white and multiethnic churches. I used to feel shame if I wasn’t in church every week or at least seeking a place of worship for my family. This toxic line of thinking resulted in my family worshipping in churches that were just as toxic as the ones before. I came to the realization that, in order for me to be whole, I have to prioritize and be aggressive about seeking healing and rest. 

For a long time, I didn’t know how to go about resting; the idea felt daunting. It’s been trial and error along the way, but this past year has taught me how to prioritize healing and rest. 

The racial stereotyping and microaggressions that Black people experience in white and multiethnic churches cause weathering. We carry that trauma with us for the rest of our lives. This is why rest is so important. This is why we need to take a sabbatical after we #LeaveLOUD. 

Seek the Lord, pray, fast, go to therapy, or take a break from church. Go on a vacation. Connect with the outdoors (#BlackPeopleHike). Find a Black mentor. Find other justice-minded believers and build community with them. 

White supremacy got us out here thinking that we are alone in our struggle. Don’t go off alone. Know that you are not alone. Your struggle might not look like everyone else’s struggle, and so your sabbath might not look like everyone else’s sabbath. Once you decide to make your exit, your goal should be to prioritize healing and rest. You deserve rest. You deserve healing. You deserve restoration.