Back in Spring of 2015 I was working on a book project called Create A Better Life. One of the things I hammered hard in that book was setting a goal, giving yourself a deadline and finish on time, no excuses. As poetic justice and irony would have it, I never finished the book. I know, “Hypocrite!” Actually it was mostly done but I couldn’t bring myself to post it. So what happened? Well the short one word answer is “life” happened. I lost my day job and had to hustle. The thing is, in the hustle I actually found the better life I was looking for. Losing that job could have been earth shaking (and in ways it was), but as it turned out, it was the impetus I needed to leave the theoretical world behind, hit my knees in prayer and get to work. The result is a life where I create every single day, I get paid to speak all over the country and pastor a wonderful church that encourages me in all of it. I would have found none of this if I had stayed where I was.
Now please do not overlook the obvious, the hand of God was all over this, but there are a few things I have learned in the process. The first was while I got hit with something somewhat unexpected (I say “somewhat” because I had been hearing for several years that my job may be outsourced), all the work I had been doing definitely helped open some doors when the other door closed.
Secondly, my wife was invaluable in this in so many ways. From the fact that she reacted calmly and helped me make the adjustments to the fact that her job helped to provide for us as well as made us able to have things like health insurance. Over and above all of that was her encouragement to put a plan in motion, stick with it, and work hard, but not too hard.
Thirdly, not everything in creating a better life can be planned. Sometimes things will hit us unexpectedly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed and even thrive. The key is to keep praying and preparing and working toward the life you imagine and don’t forget, you don’t see the whole picture all the time, so be prepared to shift. If someone had told me I would be pastoring a church again, I would have told them they were crazy. I thought that stage of life had passed. I only ended up pastoring because my speaking schedule was slowing down for the winter and I was told of a church I could help for a few months until it was time to get back out on the road again. I decided to try it and put my whole self into it and you know what happened? I discovered there was a place missing in my plan. A piece involving relationships and gifts that were going unused. I discovered I loved these people and they loved me. They gave me stability and encouragement and I gave them the best of my creative energy, They were open to trying new things and a lot of my “better life” was made possible because I decided to take a little detour from my original plan and help someone else.
I am going to start rewriting Create a Better Life, but this time, I am going to take my time, and adding some of what I have learned on this journey. Sometimes you have to eat your words and realize you don’t know everything. The funny thing is, when I lost most of my control, I found my better life.