The Shifting of My Emotional Tank

As we age, our capacity to keep our inner buckets filled changes. It’s really that simple. This metaphor, helps me grasp some of the deeper ways and shifts I see taking place in me—in my emotional bucket.If you've not been following me on my thinking about repositioning my life and work, here's a chance to catch up!  I've been writing about my own shifts in how I see my work--my mission and my purpose. You can read about the first blog on my respositioning here.  You can read my second blog-- about the shift from an 8-lane freeway to a 2 lane road here.  This is the third of my entries on my own growing exploration to answer this question: When is enough--enough? And by that word "enough" I mean--work.What mattered to us in our 20’s simply morphs. We shift. No one in their 60's is like they were in their 20's---are they?  We grow, mature, gain wisdom and more life and God experience and we let go of some of the stuff that seemed to consume us in our 20’s.  I think this is a very good thing. I'll explain below. Please keep reading!When I married, my bucket shifted again. There was another person that filled up a big section of my bucket. Her needs. Her story and her desires shifted my own capacity. When we leave singleness—we experience shifts inside. Love stretches us—transforms us and makes us jettison false ideas about shallow kinds of love and affection for the deeper truths that come when we go through hard times, challenges and health scares.  The vows I spoke to my wife in my 20's have a depth now in my 60's that I simply could not understand.  Shifts happen when you actually go through "sickness" and hard times.  The shifts in life deepen the love we thought was love when we were younger. This is an important shift that time teaches us and the God of time reveals to us.When we have children, our emotional buckets shift again. Those little mixtures of ovum and sperm shift our priorities--don't they? Who is ever the same after the birth of your children? Love deepens and so does responsibility. Slow Saturday brunches shift to soccer games, baseball practice and swim meets. Our reality has a way of re-arranging what is important in life.  And here's the truth--we'd never want it any other way. The shifts are good. The shifts are necessary. They shifts are needed to help us become all God intended for us.Our inner buckets shift in our vocational journey as well. Our dreams and passions propel us into high ideals and lofty ambitions. We are driven. We are in a hurry and we are impatient with others who move too slow. We try on our varied vocational clothes to find meaning and purpose. We try this job--then we try another one. Maybe the next job will be "it."  It takes a while--meaning several jobs--to find the right fit. We shift in each job as necessary mentors to teach us who we need to become. We change jobs like migrant workers change fields and climates. We move—become transient seeking a dream status that we believe awaits us. Every shift is needed. Every shift is important. Every shift is an invitation to become more of our true selves.Some of us--when introduced early to the harshness of life, find ourselves shifting far ahead of our peers. Pain in life-- like labor pains in birth--forces us through the dark canal of pain into a new stage--a new shifting. Our bucket gets knocked over through tragedy, divorce, the death of a loved one, something unjust happening to us and more. Emptiness and brokness, come to find out are the real agents of any shift we experience throughout our lives. The spiritual masters tell us that apart from pain--we simply will not shift. We will not change apart from being broken.  These are the real teachers who can morph us into being old souls before our time--before we would ever want to.  Without pain and struggle, some of us simply will not shift. We will hold on--refuse to change--clinging to the same old stage--the same old beliefs. Some of us are so white-fisted about changing that we live immoble--and truly dead before we ever really live.Our aging parents take a place in our emotional buckets like never before. We have to care in ways we never thought about. It’s called being in the “sandwich generation” because we’re squeezed on both ends of life—our own kids and our own parents. Priorities shift. We get stretched in time and money. We are giving out more than we are ever taking in. We long for a shift--for relief perhaps.About this same time, our vocational journey takes on grand importance because we have a sense that we are making a difference. Long hours and good results keep an inner fire stoked inside. We are challenged by our time---thinking we can justify our lack of time by calling some time quality and other time quantity. We will learn later in another phase that this is simply not true. Time is time and time, more than any other factor in our life shifts our emotional tank.My Grandchildren Shifted My Heart Like Nothing Else!When I had my first grandchild, I knew a shift was happening. My inner tectonic plates shifted in a way that was shocking. It was as if a conversion as big as Paul’s falling off his horse in Tarsus had happened to me. Scales fell off my eyes, just as they fell off Paul's eyes. I was once lost--in a way--but my grandchildren's arrival on the planet gave me new sight and vision. My first grandchild brought an awakening—a waking up that is still happening—even after my 10th grandchild is just now announced but still in utero. I care deeply about these souls. I care so deeply in fact, that I want to show up more and be in their lives in a deep way. I’m shifting. I think my four sons see me shifting and are left scratching their heads--perhaps.  My emotional bucket is shifting-- pushing other less important matters out of my bucket—giving more and more room to these little souls who seem to thrive on having time with me. Here's the truth: I cannot keep piling things into my bucket. Something has to shift. My bucket can literally only hold so much. Are you at your limit? If so, it may be time to shift somethings around--perhaps putting some thing out of your bucket.Through time and in time, I am shifting. My emotional bucket is changing its capacity. I cannot carry everything I use to carry in this bucket of mine. Some things will have to go. Somethings will come into my bucket that are not only going to re-arrange my life--but shift my inner life.Let me try to explain this shift more personally now.I am aging. I'm not 20 anymore.  I"m not 40 anymore.I am changing.I am shifting.I am not only aging—I am "sage-ing."I am arriving at a plateau where I can finally look out and see the horizon but also see  some drop offs  and dangerous cliffs.I may not need to take another mountain.  I use to talk this way.  Every challenge was something to conquer. Now, I'm seeing things different.I see the need to be careful. I sense the need to be wise--really wise.I do not want to make a mistake chiefly because there is no longer time to recover from a big mistake.I am seeing shifts in my emotional bucket that are going to inform my life in a different way than I ever thought before.I am growing wise and the shift in me is this: I want to give my wisdom now to only those who really want my wisdom. I no longer feel the need to convince, persuade or coax people to drink from the same cup I am drinking.I am thinking I can relax a bit more by not trying so dad-gum hard--all the time.I want to be available to those who are thirsty—to those who are hungry. I don’t want to have to motivate anyone to change their life unless they WANT to change their life. That’s a shift in me for sure.I'm realizing that only God can shift us anyway.  All change is in God's arena. I see a shift in the writers of our Scriptures.As I have read the second letters of Paul, Peter and John, I have found myself liking their second letters far, far more than than first letters. Take Paul for example. He said some things in I Corinthians that were…well—harsh and hard. As he ages, I’ve seen a remarkable shift in his own bucket. He softens. He’s more mellow. He’s far, more pastoral. Luke tells us about the emotional bucket shifting for Paul in the final verses of the book of Acts. I’ve sat with Acts 28:30-31 for a couple of years now. I’m drawn to how Luke narrates Paul’s inner shift. Here’s how Luke hints at Paul’s shift:“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”Paul started as a religious zealot as a young man. His zeal was fierce. His energy was extraordinary. He traveled widely. He suffered greatly. He was resilient. Yet, as Paul aged, he shifted and in this passage, we learn that only two things were on his mind and heart: He told people about the Kingdom of God and he told people about Jesus. These two things consumed the final two years of his life. Not church planting strategy. Not leadership development seminars. Not mapping out world evangelization. He simply shifted as an older man to tell people about the two most essential truths: God’s rule and God’s Son. Complete. An amazing reduction of decades crusading for doctrinal purity. A distillation of many things to just a few things. His bucket shifted.  I wish that more and more preachers would shift to how Paul shifted rather than being so cantankerous--like I am sure I was. Can we major on the majors? Can we please major on the majors and let these minors pass away with our childish ways and childhood shifts?Peter too! 2 Peter is just a nicer book than 1 Peter. I learned this while spending a year in 2 Peter when I wrote my book, Inside Job. Peter morphed from a fiery, reactionary wanna-be leader to a real pastoral type. He’s much more passionate from a deeper place in 2 Peter than I see him in his first letter. This morphing—shifting—changing his own emotional bucket led Peter to become the head of the church—not as a young, fiery leader but as a sage like leader. I’m glad to see his shift and it gives me great hope for my own shifting inside.As we go from decade to decade, we simply must shift inside. We must keep growing—keep shedding old snake skins to have soft hearts and wise eyes. We cannot do it all. Perhaps we are not meant to.When we hear the stories of the great men and women in Scripture, we see them shifting. All of them shifted as a matter of fact. No one stays the way they are in their 20’s. Seriously. Would anyone even want to? I doubt it.Preparing for our Final ShiftI am glad to see my own shifting and be a witness to this shifting to you. I hope my words—my shifting may give you words to your own feelings—your own inner rumblings of a change that is not only good—but necessary.All shifting in our lives is only preparation for our final shift into eternity. If we can shift well now--then we will be prepared to shift from our final breath on this earth to the first breath with God.  Now, this is a shift that, more and more, I look forward to making.  How about you?           

The Eight Lane Freeway of Our Working Lives

Living life can sometime feel like driving fast on an eight-lane freeway.It’s busy.It’s intense.It’s stressful.It requires intense focus to stay in your lane.You have to monitor the dashboard of speed limits, fuel gauge and timing.You have to watch out for crazy drivers and the inherent possibility of road rage at any moment.It’s fast.It’s slow too much of the time it seems.Even when we're driving hard, we sense the need to multi-task--to do more work. To get 'ur done!You can feel stuck because the off-ramp is 10 miles away and your sitting idle. I know few people who actually enjoy spending time on freeways. When I hear people talk about taking a nice Sunday afternoon drive—they are never describing this motif: “Let’s get on the freeway where we will experience the exhilarating times of intensity, stress and a high likelihood of getting stalled or stuck in insane traffic." No, when people envision a nice drive, they are thinking of a country road where they can take in the scenery of forests, vales and rainbows.I’ve sat with this metaphor for some time now—trying to discern my future. Ever since I wrote my initial blog on this heart-felt theme, THAT (Read THAT blog here) blog has been the most read article of all time for me. It’s received the most SHAREs on social media and people are writing me; calling me and stopping me to say, “You took the words right out of my mouth. You described my dilemma perfectly.” I’m glad my own attempt to figure out my next phase of life might be giving words to so many inner rumblings. It seems many of us are restless—no matter what age and stage of life we are in. Many of us want to “reposition”. I hope we can and I hope my encouragement to simply articulate some of my inner world might help you.Metaphors are helpful because they actually help us envision and picture something real and explore what this image stirs inside. An image opens our mind and heart up more than a Powerpoint presentation can. We need more than linear facts to make sense of life. We have more than a left brain to give inform us of meaning, purpose and conviction. Metaphors were the masterful way of how Jesus taught. He appealed to the right brain to help us envision the life he came to show us how to live.  Friends, this is precisely why, the teachings of Jesus were so revolutionary and life-changing. People could actually come to "see" the life he was describing. He used the everyday symbols of dirt, trees, bushes, birds and storms to help people explore their inner geography. Jesus was brilliant in his efforts to help us look inward by using the outer world and draw parallels.When I think of staying on an eight lane freeway for the next season or chapter of my life, my thoughts do not go to a good place. I have, to be honest, a sinking feeling.   When I listen to people talk about “How much longer can I go?” or “I just want to finish well”, I picture the eight lane freeway. Is finishing well running out of gas and pulling over to the side of the loud, busy traffic and just say, “I’m done. That’s it.” Is an abrupt exit off the freeway the only way to do this? What does that term, "finishing well" really mean? Does it mean more work? Harder work to get to a certain place so that you can work again? There are many questions we need to look at. There are many rocks that need to be turned over to expose the Rollie-pollies of our illusions about work and life as well as God and faith.What I’m sitting with goes like this: moving from the eight lane freeway to a 2-lane road. I want to continue but I do not want to continue at the pace, speed and intensity I have been traveling. If you've lived so much of your working life on an eight lane freeway---something might be pulling you to consider an alternative route--a route that is more than just thinking about the grass being greener on the other side kind of thing.It seems reasonable to me, at this stage of my processing the next chapter of my life, that I and perhaps you need to sit with these questions:

  1. What is the lane I want to be in for the next season—the next stretch of my life?
  2. Where do I really want to go and feel the need to go?
  3. What would it look like to find my lane—the lane that converges all my passion, experience, desire and gifts? Then, this question, how do I take an off-ramp to get in the lane I simply want to be in?
  4. What is it going to cost me to get off the freeway that I have traveled for so long?

This thing about work is deeply etched into the soul of every Protestant. Work is a part of the fabric of our lives. We are so enmeshed in our work that many of us go through some culture shock even musing about NOT working. We can’t imagine it. We don’t really have categories or training to help us find a lane upon which we can live without work.It’s the ethos called, “the Protestant work ethic.” Well, Catholics have this too--the feeling and the need to work hard, remain faithful to be saved. In this ethic--our worth and dignity come from our work--not our essence. There must be no slaggards in the ranks. People who don't work are bums. This belief and ethic needs to be looked at deeply and it is really the work of the soul to do this work now while we are working and considering our alternative lanes. We can find where these messages lodge in our story. We can explore how our experiences of work shaped our soul and who modeled this kind of living and narrative for you? What a fascinating small group this would be—a group formed to hear each others shaping experiences about work, the value of work and how our working parents and friends lived their life out in their work.Let me just say this briefly, our worth and dignity do not come from our work.  Our worth comes from knowing we are created, formed and shaped by God because of our identity as sons and daughters of God. We are the Beloved of God--apart from our work. That's the core foundation to healthy living and a healthy soul. Miss this and you miss nearly everything.Our world has shaped us into human doings. It’s precisely here though in our being—not our doing that we must redefine and reposition our selves and our lives. Most people I sit with are afraid of stopping their “doing” because of the deep seated fear that they will simply not know who they are apart from their work. Here’s a good question to ponder with a friend: Who are you apart from your doing?Start this kind of inner work now—the inner thinking and reflective work now—before you get off the freeway—before you take an exit—before you quit-- before you start pulling off the freeway. Thinking about this now will help you actually know and recognize when it’s time to take the off ramp to the road you actually want to drive on—for a while.Take your name tag off—take your lanyard off which gives your position, worth and dignity—and who the heck are you? Who are you without your “doing”?  This kind of thinking may well be--the exit ramp you've been looking for that is just ahead.

To Re-position or To Retire

Please allow me to share my own personal thinking about what I am thinking about regarding the rest of my life.  All of us, to one degree or another is re-thinking our lives. Goodness. In the light of current events, nuclear threats and such hatred going rampant, we all need to be in the business of re-thinking many things—including our own personal futures. I’m hoping that if I am transparent and open, it might also give you words—perhaps even courage to rethink your own life, work and mission.

I’ve heard folks who live a lot of their life in the church, say that the word, “retirement” is not in the Bible. Any fact checker can tell you that it actually is in the Bible. I’ll make you work a bit here to find it but it is in the Bible. Now, now, we all can’t be spoon fed, can we? Just dig a bit and you’ll find it and that will put the argument that we can never stop working to bed!

The mindset that I hear among some people groups goes like this:

  • "I want to die with my boots on.”

  • "I'd rather rust out than quit." 

  • "Christians should never retire."

Then, there's this one: "My rest is in heaven." This is precisely the kind of thinking that leads to burnout and fosters a mentality of survival, not thriving. 

If you could hear, like Gwen and I do, from the spouses of the ones who hold such beliefs; if you could hear from those left in the wake of their carnage by men who never quit and women who simply do not know how to slow down, then you could better understand our deep concern.  I suppose the one we hear most is this: "Retirement is not in the Bible."

But, there are many words that are not in the Bible that we use a lot these days: seminary, nuclear weapons, narcissism and mega-church, just to name a few. Other words like "workaholic," "high blood pressure" and the "accumulation of high stress" is also not found in the Bible.  

This discussion is not about the right and wrong of words, it is about finding the right word that might fit anyone who has worked a long time and who might be considering, or re-thinking, their life. This is also food for thought for anyone who is stuck, facing a wall, recently fired or laid off, or perhaps even divorced or recently widowed. This is for anyone who wants the courage just to think a bit more deeply about a new beginning.

Here are two words I want to explore for my own benefit and perhaps yours as well:The first word is this:

Retire”—Here’s the literal definition:

  1. to withdraw, or go away or apart, to a place of privacy, shelter, or seclusion: Like, "He retired to his study."

  2. to go to bed: Like, "He retired at midnight."

  3. to withdraw from office, business, or active life, usually because of age.

This is the one word that trips me up. To withdraw--because of age? Seriously? he second word, and in my opinion better word for me at least, is this word:“Re-position”—Here’s the definition of “re-position.”

  1. to put in a new or different position; shift: to re-position the artwork on the advertising layout.

  2. to change the image.

Something in me, around me, and to me needs to "re-position."  There is just this deep sense within me that, unless I re-position my life, I will simply withdraw, lose my voice, and quit.  I want this word. I need this word. I need this paradigm to know how to re-access the trajectory of my life and work. 

If you are feeling that something needs to shift, then before we jerk the gear shift of our lives into neutral or reverse, let's just pause for a moment and reflect.  This would help us NOT to react--but rather respond to how we're feeling and what we are wanting.

Based on these two definitions, I know that I am not ready to “withdraw” from my work or the life I live. I’m not ready to “retire.” I’m not ready and I’m not done. It’s that simple for me. There are still some things I feel the need to say, teach, and live. There is still the sense within me that: “This—THIS is MY time and it is the time to stand up and do something--say something.” This is my time.  Deep inside, I feel the world's convergence with all of our problems with this incredible message of caring for our souls.

We are not the perpetual slaves to Egypt having to always do more with less straw.  We are not that people group. We are not slaves to our dilemma. We are not victims of the world. We are free and there is this idea of the ways that Jesus lived his life that I feel so compelled to talk about. (See my book, The Jesus Life) I want to stand up and finally say some things that have been brooding for quite a while.

After pioneering a ministry; shaping a new work around the words “care of the soul”—I somehow feel like I’m just now ready and equipped to do this. All my life may really have been preparation for what is just ahead of me.  Do you ever feel this way?  It seems with aging, I am morphing into sagging and that makes so much sense. I may finally be learning how to do what I have been wanting to do and more--what I have been talking about for many years. 

Looking back, I can say this for sure: most of my life has been in preparation and training for this moment—this time and this message. I believe the world is desperate for the message of soul care and I want to be one of the messengers.

A better word for me to work with and perhaps for you to ponder is this word: To re-position oneself in life. If I want to re-position myself, then I should re-position myself. If I want to share my message, then I want to think this through and jettison what needs to be jettisoned and narrow my focus and move forward. That's it.  Let go.  Narrow my focus.  Proceed.

Do you need to re-position? Do you need to simply change a few things—stop giving out through all the hoses that are attached to you and live more sanely and more intentionally? In my case, I have been about the work of unpacking the phrase offered us by Jesus –the abundant life. I can say for certain: I want to live before I die. I want my life to make a mark, leave an impression, be a signpost for a few - most of all for my grandchildren. To do this, I will need to re-position my life. I can't withdraw. That's not the right vision at all. But I can "re-position"--I can change a few things and some things can change in me.

I have a few folks whose words are like gospel to me. When they speak, I stop and listen. One of these voices is my mentor, Mary Oliver. She writes:

“When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument. 

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.”

I believe that as we live—as we age, this quest to really live before we really die gnaws inside of us like sharp hunger pangs. We need to live and we will fight to live. Who in the world ever really wants to have just “visited this world?”  Forgive me, please...but there are a few who simply want to visit--who want to actually go through life asleep and simply endure.  They think that to survive is the goal. But not me and I'm thinking not you either. I want to thrive and I want to thrive until my body begs me to lay it down and put it into the ground... then I will most certainly be "free at last."  I long for this.

Another mentor of mine, John O’Donohue, writes so magnificently:“For a long time it [your own life] has watched your desire, Feeling the emptiness growing inside you, Noticing how you willed yourself on, Still unable to leave what you had outgrown. It watched you play with the seduction of safety And the grey promises that sameness whispered, Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent, Wondered would you always live like this?Oh me.... he grabs my soul with these words.... "will yourself to go on..." 

Do you know how many hundreds of time I have heard this in my work with leaders, preachers, missionaries, and CEO's?  Trust me, "will to go on" is said too, too much.

To re-position is to change the direction of how one is moving through life. To re-position is to implement changes that will effect the direction and impact that I—that you-- might have. Since I believe that I am not “done” with my work and calling, I want to re-position myself so that I can do what I feel called to do—but do it with greater effectiveness and impact. I do not want to be stuck. I do not want to be seduced by safety. I want to live and I want to help others to live as well.I have found that the seduction of safety speaks the loudest in the area of money. Do I have enough?  That begs another question that is a deeply spiritual question to think through: How much is enough?  Here's a book I highly recommend to help you think through this issue of "enough."

Some 'new beginning' is what births up inside me when I sit with this word--re-position.  I feel hopeful. I feel courage. I feel like I have a map now. I know what I need to do. O'Donahue ends his poem, "For a new beginning" with this stunning line: "For your soul sense the world that awaits you."  And my does. My soul senses what is ahead.  This is not the end. This is a  new beginning.

To re-position might mean to maximize one’s impact, effectiveness, and influence. To re-position is to find that deep place within that Buechner called, "deep gladness converging with the world's need." Re-positioning is to feel, sense, and recognize this deep gladness of why I am alive. It may mean to actually withdraw.  But here's the point; each of us has to work through this for themselves. We are not involved in cookie cutter process. We are not worker-bees. We can reflect. This is what makes us human. My dog can't reflect. The hummingbirds don't reflect but we--those created in the image of God—can reflect, make choices, and move into these choices.

When an athlete was training for the Para-Olympics and ran speed races on his newly configured blades for new mechanical feet, his performance increased by 20% because he had the blades on his prosthetic legs adjusted to a better angle. By re-positioning the angle of the blade, a better performance was achieved. I”d like to think I could improve my own output and impact by doing some things that would “re-position” me.

If I re-position, I might run better. I might run faster. I might feel his glory as Eric Liddell said he did when he ran in the Olympics. (His story is told in the wonderful movie, "Chariots of Fire."  Watch it soon!).

As we age, we have a few paradigms and terms offered us on how to transition from meaningful work to a life that envisions “more” than just working more years.  Some are "reboot,"  "retool" and again "retire."  But those don't fit--at least not me.

What is the word I hear most often? It’s 'stop working and start living. 'But that does not fit me. I have lived as I have worked. It’s not one or the other. It’s a dance between the two realities of life: work and living. Many retire and are happy to stop, withdraw, quit, ‘hang it up’ or whatever other word might best fit their vocational transition.

We have heard: “moving from success to significance.” In this movement, one changes direction to embrace causes and a new kind of work that fosters significance. Bob was a banker for a large national bank. He was known to be successful. But in his late 50’s, Bob began to want to do something that was “more” than just being a success. He wanted to do something of significance. So Bob offered his skills to a mission organization who helped underprivileged children in a developing country. Bob tells me now that “This is the most rewarding work he has ever been involved in in his entire vocational career.” Knowing that Bob was bringing real and lasting change to children through his time and work brought a great deal of joy to Bob and his family.

I'm fortunate to have worked and also experienced significance. I know my work has mattered to many people. I know I have helped many people.  That, again, is not my issue.  My issue is deeper than significance.  I suspect yours may be as well.

Here's how I'm working through this by jotting down a few statements that define my heart's desire at the present:

  • I want to see myself “re-position” to do the things that bring me life.

  • I want to be involved in areas that are truly my sweet spot.

  • I want to do the things I really feel gifted and called to do and leave other areas for others who are gifted, passionate, and desiring to do the things I feel I need to lay down.

  • I want to lay down areas that drain me.

  • I want to pick up areas that bring me hope.

  • I want my marriage to ripen into a more healthy and deep love than ever before.

  • I want to love my grandchildren and be there for my grandchildren for as long as they can. I believe they need a spiritual guide and I'd like to be that for them.

  • I want to love my four boys and their wives with deepening love and a deepening ability to listen to them more than I ever have before in my life.

  • I want to surrender some aspects of my life and work in order to be more free to pick up a lighter and less burdened way to live and work.

  • I want to be responsible to steward my life and gifts to have maximum impact on the remaining years of my life of good health, desire, and passion.

  • I want to focus on the ‘main thing’ from an eight-lane freeway--where everyone is moving fast and I’m doing multiple things. I want to simply “stay in my lane” where I feel reasonably gifted and called to move on a bit further in my work. I want to narrow my lane to doing the thing—or things that are indeed, mine to do—as if no one else can do this, say this or give this like I do at my season of life.

  • I no longer desire to live in an eight-lane freeway. I am certain of this fact.

 Each of these “I want….” Statements are more than statements. They contain a manifesto of re-working my insides—including my desires and longings with my intent and focus. I will not re-position unless my desires begin to align with my intent and my focus. I can drift. I can drift for a long time perhaps but I do not want to drift. I want to re-position my life, work and mission. To do these things, I need to re-position. Unless, we learn to re-position, we will simply keep on keeping on—and this is what I know I do not want to do. I could die one day and in that death, I would take with me to my grave some regrets—some things that are bubbling up within me—some pieces of a mission that I want to be a part of—some things I still want to do and feel called to do. This will involve:

  • Discerning what areas need to be laid down.

  • Knowing the areas that drain me and suck the life out of me.

  • Focusing and narrowing—which is the movement of one re-positioning one’s life to stay in my lane and not swerve into areas that might be interesting and fascination but could result in more of a drain than giving me hope, joy, and fulfillment.

  • Courage—I must have courage to move when I hear the bell.

  • Convergence—the circumstances, pulling, events, and desire—all need to have a sense of coming together. I believe that timing is important. Timing is a part of this convergence.

 Making this personal  and when I distill what I’m trying to say is this: 

  • I want to live the life I write about, teach about, and explain. I do not want to be a talking head. If this is true, I must re-position my life, work, and passion.

  • I want to write another book that would be the convergence of all I now know about the abundant life and walking in the ways of Jesus.

  • I want Gwen and I to have a long season of restoring the “years that the locusts have eaten.” There were years and years of my being a workaholic—giving the best years of our lives to others and giving the left overs to each other. To do this, I will need to re-position.

  • I want to be an active, involved grandfather. I want to show up for my grandchildren and engage their heads and inspire them to live with God. To do this, I will need to re-position my life.

  • I want to be healthy. There have been too many years of long, long weeks and living more exhausted than I wanted to live. To do this, I will need to re-position my life.

 After hearing my friend using the word “re-position”—I knew, just like the virgin Mary knew when God spoke to her about being pregnant with Jesus—that I had been spoken to. This word--"re-position" is a pregnant word. Full of meaning.  But in all honesty, not quite ready to deliver. I need more time.  I don't want to make a mistake. The time will come.  It's gestation time I suppose.  It is my word—a word that will begin to deconstruct an illusion of a life I did not want to live and actually enable me to make strides to live this life—my only life—my abundant life.

How about you?