But I have always tried to live my life without looking back and with no regrets. When I was younger, I saw some of the adults in my life really get paralyzed by regrets from the past. I determined then that I did not want that to happen to me. Yes, I was going to make mistakes in life but, rather than lament them, I wanted to learn from them and use them as points of growth. In more recent years, as I have tried to be more serious about my faith journey, it has been easy to sort of re-focus my reflection on life’s experiences to look at them as preparation for what God ultimately intends for me.
In my prayer life and reflection in 2008, then, my focus has been on what God has been preparing me for. I am sort of at “half time” in my life. Half way through the span of a typical career and half-way through my hopeful life expectancy, my focus has been on trying to discern what God wants for my future … what has He been preparing me for.
I suppose that most folks from the outside would look at my career and think it’s been rather milquetoast – moving into and spending time in the family business. But yet, over the past 20+ years through my job, I have encountered some of the most bizarre and unusual situations and people that probably any businessperson could ever encounter. I won’t go into details here and now but my career, despite, being at one place, has been full of twists and turns, ups and downs. Even before I was really trying to be a disciple of Christ, though, my focus was always on trying to take the high road in business decisions and put others, even those I may seemingly be at odds with, before myself. As I have been trying to walk with the Lord, the reasoning for my decisions processes has changed somewhat but my characteristic patterns of behavior have not changed greatly.
So, what has God been preparing me for? To large degree, it’s been a long, strange road. God, I figure, did not bring me down it for no reason. While I certainly did not expect to know exactly what God’s calling is for my future, I hoped to at least in 2008 gain a glimpse, glimmer, and perspective of where He is calling me for the next year or so.
And, God delivers. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been led to begin a personal study of what it means to be a Christian in the secular marketplace. What opportunities are there and what are the practical and meaningful ways to live that out and be effective for God? My goal right now is to, by the end of 2009, develop three talks on this subject that I could potentially give to groups of Christians in the marketplace. A short 20-30 minute talk as well as a half day and a full day seminar.
Frankly, I do not know if God ever intends for me to actually give these talks or if He is just leading me down this path of study and writing so that I will go deeper into Him and deeper into realizing my role as a Christian in the marketplace. If my own growth is what this is all about, that is wonderful. I am fine with that. If, down the road, it turns out that He does want me to work with others on this subject, well, I just pray that I will be faithful and do what He calls me to.
So, while a part of me is still very happy to see 2008 over and done with, I hope that, for all of us, it has been a time of learning and growth … learning and growth which will give us the experiences and knowledge that God needs us to have in order for us to live out His plan for our lives.
God bless you and yours in this bright new year. May He bring us all renewed hope, renewed peace, renewed optimism. May that renewal allow those of us who are trying to live our lives for Him to shine ever brighter as beacons of love and mercy in a world that is searching for God knows what.