What I learned in 2015

2015 was a transitional year for me. I changed careers after 11 years in full-time ministry. Once it begain, the transition seemed to span most of the year. While things unfolded before me, the path leading up to the transition seemed to extend behind me – revealing that this was some time in the making.

In the transition from being in full-time ministry to becoming a Happiness Engineer, I believe I have been repositioned for something new. In some ways, its a new season for me and my family.  In other ways, its simply the course correction of a trajectory that we were already on.

We now have a rough heading and I feel there are some imminent changes before us. Rather than a list of goals and resolutions for our coming year, here are a handful of reflections from 2015 that are influencing my thinking for 2016.

Faith Post Professional Ministy

Last year I stepped out of the church bubble. I spent 11 years as a minister (worship arts and senior leadership) – speaking the good news to people every week from a stage. Singing songs of God’s mercy and grace. Praying sincere, heartfelt prayers. Then, I changed careers. And I no longer had a “job” that required an active personal faith. I was left to rebuild my faith in the real world, surrounded by different types of people, without my “spiritual disciplines” being part of my job description.

Since my departure from vocational ministry, I have been forced to reexamine my faith and wrestled with some foundational truths. I was relieved to find my faith foundation still intact and now find myself at the start of rebuilding my faith. As I’ve heard great theologeans of old define a disciple as one who “hears in order to obey”,  I hope to grow closer to my Lord simply by doing what He tells me through the power of His Spirit.

Intentional Family Values

On the morning our family was scheduled to leave for our 23-day road trip, we realized that all the seemingly important items we planned to bring would not fit in the van. I remember joking, “Well, we can’t leave the kids behind…”   We departed almost 90 minutes later than we planned because we had to decide what to leave behind.

Family Life should reflect what is important – not what you can squeeze into it. I no longer want to see our family life as a van we tried to stuff full of things we possibly might need for the journey. But I want to see us start with what we think is important, bring only that along with us for the journey, leave everything else behind, and make adjustments along the way.

Making room for life

Life is better with less stuff. For all the various shades of minimalism, all seem to propose that you cannot go wrong owning less. We experienced a simulated version of this on our road trip. What did I miss from home while we were on our trip? Nothing. I am ready to give it a real go. I’m ready to take their word for it that owning less brings freedom. And if it’s not true, I’ll just buy back what I miss. And I say that with full expectations that there will be nothing I will have to buy back.

Desiring to be generous is not the same as being generous

Wow. How much money do we spend on ourselves for things that bring no value to our lives, or others’ lives? I’d rather not sit down and make a tally.  For years my wife and I have wanted to have more to give away. Desiring to be generous is easy. It costs nothing. But being generous is completely different. My hunch is that generosity breeds generosity both in those who give, and those who hear the stories.

This year I wish for our family to give more away. And I’m talking about money. I have two plans for this. One is locally, one is globally. More on this later – that is, if we do more than just desire it.

The World is Large

There’s a big world out there. Last year we took an epic road trip. It was huge. We were gone almost a full month and traveled well over 6,000 miles. However, if you trace it out on a globe, it’s a teeny, tiny little circle. There’s a big world out there. After getting my new job, we basically eliminated any major reason why we couldn’t travel anytime, or anwhere we decide (within reason).

2016

If I would take what I learned in 2015 and apply it this year, we will have a year of building faith through obedience, not just knowledge. A year of owning less and acquiring less. A year of giving more. And a year of exploration, discovery, and exceeded expectations.


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