01 Jan Setting Priorities in the RESET of Life
I have gotten some great feedback on my last post and was asked by some to help in thinking through whether you know to bust down the wall or run your hand along the wall. As I look to a fresh start and wish you all the best in your fresh start, I found these four things helpful in allocating in the reset.
For everything there is a season, and la time for every matter under heaven–Eccl. 3.1
The wisest of all kings tells us that life has built within it seasons of change. I try to maintain stability and constancy, but I am pushing against the wind. . .oftentimes against the Spirit of God (Jn 3.8) oftentimes becoming like those carried away by the wind (Hab 1.11). Embracing the sovereignty of God assumes he has the right to change life–yes, even my life!–as he sees fit.
As I said before, God has shown me the reset button and I have pressed it.
I haven’t done it mindlessly or frivolously. In fact, I balked for a couple months when I should have pressed it–thinking I could remedy the situation that was like desalting the sea that I was swimming in.
So what were some ways that justified a reset–with family in tow? Well, I had to first set the priorities of my life. Once these foci were in place, I could then decide what was out of range. This takes time and prayer and a lot of asking.
Maybe you’re not the praying kind of person. Yeah, I know, you’re spiritual, you read your Bible. But I venture to say it’s been a while since you’ve really prayed. Beyond the shopping list of what you want from God, prayer is a dialogue. For the Christian, this is a no-brainer. But I found that I too easily move forward without first being silent and listening. Surely prayer is us petitioning and seeking God with our words. Yet, prayer is intended to mold us and remind us and show us.
It is not a letter, but an extended period of conversation at coffee. It’s not just confession, but it is reception. It is not information download, but dynamic framework reconfiguration. When was the last time you were silent before God?
You would think after 35 years I know myself well enough to rattle off my priorities on command. I found that I have spent 35 years with my ear to the ground trying to see where my priorities ought to be by the swirling voices around me. It took months of listening and frustration and repentance and pleading to understand what my priorities ought to be–ever so simple, but borne along from a deeper conviction.
It’s one thing to say God is good. It’s quite another to taste his goodness. It’s one thing to say God is all-satisfying. It’s another to live in such a way that I believe it and others see it. Why do you hurry and clamor for answers when they are given through tears and pain?
This is the more humbling but has been even more revelatory for me. We all have blind spots and sometimes our dreams can give us tunnel vision or (on the other hand) make it so we can’t focus on who God has made us to be. I remember first asking God: What have you made me most passionate about? And I waited–with the Bible in my lap. After getting a couple of things, I then asked my wife–who offered me a little clarity on what I had discerned those passions to be. I then took that and started asking friends who knew me well over the past few years, who further honed and confirmed what those things were. You must open your life up and your dreams. Why do you continue to go at it alone when you have been surrounded by a myriad of counselors?
4. CONVENTIONAL WISDOM
One of the things I found from asking is that there are so many opinions (as many as there are people!) that you can fill like your head is floating. It helps to write out people’s thoughts and look for threads of similarity. Further, you will find that you and the world around you have garnered conventional wisdom in decision-making. Conventional wisdom can be helpful, but it is. . . conventional. It’s a consensus on how people should live–often devoid of any supernatural variables. If God is in control, he is in control of people’s hearts and advice. He’s in control of your heart and understanding. He’s in control of the difficult circumstances you are in. He is in control of setting your feet in wide places.
Given this fact, you must be willing to throw some conventional wisdom aside. After all, conventions do much to gather but little to apply to the day after they are over. Conventional wisdom attempts to make you safe (or feel safer than you ever really are).
Get a job that is consistent. You don’t have to like the job. Own a house by the age of 35. Who said? The convention. Oftentimes, this helpful wisdom does not make you want to do great things. It wants you to keep the status quo because danger and pain and fear are undesirable.
I fear resets are undesirable because we have the short view. When my child lets me know about a splinter that’s been in her hand for two days (not telling me because she was afraid of the pain of taking it out), I find that infection has already set in. I have to open the skin. . .and, well, you know.
We must not run away from pain, but utilize it and learn from it in the moment and following. Why is this painful? Is it legitimate pain? What is this pain teaching me for my future decisions?
Join the Conversation:
What things have you found helpful in your reset? What things make you scared to death?