Many times in this journey called life we get so busy in ‘doing’ that we lose sight of ‘why’ we are doing. Could you sit down right now and write the reasons why you do ________? Fill in that blank with whatever you choose. The answers do not have to be elaborate and deep. I just want you to think about why instead of flying into the day. If you can’t that’s ok, we’ll discuss more about this below.
Each of us are doing what we are doing for a reason. Sometimes its more serious and reflective than others and that’s ok. I believe we all have so many gifts and talents to bring to the table that I get sad when I don’t see people living those out in their daily lives.
Here is a statement that you don’t have to agree with but I want you to take it in and think about it – “It is my responsibility to bring out my talents and gifts to the world.”
Comparison stops you from moving forward and embracing the talents you have been given. That is why it is so important to not let what others think about you crowd out your ‘why.’ If I know why I am doing what I am doing, it doesn’t matter what someone else may think. My why is strong and the driving force, not other people’s opinions. Knowing my ‘why’ also moves me forward even if I go against the cultural norm of the activity or task I’m completing.
For example, I recently lost over 30 pounds eating the Keto diet. This diet is high fat and low carb. There is no sugar allowed. None. Like, I haven’t eaten a piece of fruit in several months. This diet is, in the eyes of many, weird, strange, and not normal. Guess what? I don’t care. My why is bigger than what others may think about how I am eating. I needed a dramatic shift in my thinking regarding sugar and this was the best way I found to do that. Your examples may not be that serious but hopefully your why is just as strong.
The best way to combat this comparison trap and let your gifts shine is by creating anchors. An anchor is solid, heavy, and buried into the ground. It is immovable and will keep your ship from being swayed by the currents of life. Instead of running to the fear and worry, run to your anchors. One of my anchors is my family. No matter what crap life may throw at me during the day, I can rest in the love and support of my family. Its strong and immovable.
Take some time today and write down why are you doing what you are doing. Spend some time finding those anchors. Put those stakes in the ground that are strong and steady. These are your markers, the places you are not moving from no matter what life throws at you. The world needs what you have to offer!
The reality of any journey is how difficult it can be from time to time. As you have seen in my previous two posts, I had some significant disappointments along the way. But, as the years become greater in-between those moments and now, I see things in a much different light.
Look at this picture above, it’s a simple road that all of us have traveled. When we are on the road, we often can’t see very far in front of us, only the things that are around our present location. You can make out some trees ahead, a few hills or mountains, but that is the extent of what is seen. This is an interesting thought when we look at our lives in a similar way.
I can look back and see where the Lord was working in my life, what He was doing to get me to the place I am today, but not while I was in the middle of it. Similarly, I am unable to look ahead to 40 and see what may be in store for me and my family. All I can do is seek guidance from the Lord, my family, and those whom I trust that have been down a similar road before.
The hurt I felt when I was rejected by all the law schools in which I applied is still there. I remember getting each of those letters and how, after the second one I knew the rest would also contain a no. I remember applying for a job as a bank teller, having an interview, getting the phone call that I wasn’t hired, and wondering what was wrong with me. Ever been there? It is not a fun place to be but how I learned from those experiences!
I honestly believe the journey through those pains have made me a better husband, a better father, and a better person. While I don’t wish pain and hurt on anyone, sometimes they can be the best learning experience. They have taught me the value of not giving up, reaching out to others for help, and not being so quick to judge people who may be in tough spots. Each of these are areas I have struggled with in the past and it took me going through a rough patch in my own life to grow.
The one image that continually comes to mind as I think back on my own journey is my son. He was born while I was unemployed. As any parent will tell you, there is not a worse feeling in the world than feeling like you are unable to provide for and take care of your family. Ever have a moment in your life when you thought things couldn’t get any worse? This was it for me. Fortunately, the Lord provided an opportunity and while I would rather not go through something like that again, I am thankful for what I learned.
We will always be learning and the heart of these posts is to recognize those moments and grow as a person. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments about times in your life that while difficult, have been some of the best learning experiences for you. It is always helpful to go through these times together and learn from one another so I look forward to hearing from all of you on this journey.
Ever since I was a little boy I have had a passion, love, whatever word you want to use, for politics. Can you believe that? Most of the time when I tell people that they give me that look that says, ‘really?’ It is a weird thing to like, I admit, and often times the conversations involving politics can cause anger and frustration. So, I have a passion for something that most people hate talking about. Fun, huh?
Anyway, through that desire I mapped out a plan of action that would take me where I wanted to be as a grown up. First, I would major in Political Science, attend law school, practice law for 10 years, get appointed as a judge, serve as judge for 10 years, launch my political career sometime in my early 50s, and end with being the Governor of Tennessee. Of course, all along that path I would involve myself in campaigns, committees, etc. to make myself visable. Sounds like a great plan right?
I accomplished the first one with a B.A. degree in Political Science. Alright, well on my way to my goals! Unfortunately, at least for now, that’s where the dream ended. My LSAT score was low, I was declined admission to all the schools in which I applied, and was left with no opportunity to attend law school. Definitely disappointed and felt lost.
Now, does this mean these dreams of mine are gone forever? Does this mean I was chasing the wrong thing? Not necessarily and all of you reading this have stories of your own similar to mine. What do we do when our dreams come to a halt or aren’t fulfilled the way we expect? Do we give up? Well, I did for a long time. I shut that part of my life down and moved on in an attempt to forget what had happened. What I missed during that giving up phase was a lot of growth and opportunities to learn from the experience.
I have learned so much, including the reality that my passion for politics and policy has not gone away. As much as I tried to shut it down and hide it, it is still there and as strong as ever. Does that mean I still want to run for office? Maybe, but what I have learned is the Lord has shifted my focus away from myself and onto helping others through those passions. If you look back at the top of this post, my dream was all about me and how successful I could be. As this series continues I’ll dive deeper into this and where I am now on this journey.
Have you ever had a dream end? Not turn out the way you expected? Let us know in the comments below…