I started this blog about 6-8 weeks ago at the encouragement of my wife. For most of my life I have wanted to be a writer, but work, responsibilities, and fear of failure intercepted my dreams on a regular basis. This venue, though, allows me to write regularly and begin the discipline that I have so long excused away.
As you know, I named my blog “Living in the Tent.” The idea was to write entries that highlighted how to live in dependency upon God in the various areas of our lives. I believe that like the ancient Israelites, we are to be a people who dependently follow God as He guides us through the nomadic adventure we call life. Some of this I hoped to explain in my first post Before I Begin.
From the start I have focused my entries on two primary areas: Inspirational and Relational. I am a marriage therapist by profession, and a seminary graduate, so I felt these would be safe areas to write about. However, in perusing some of my past articles, I have realized that I may have failed this blog in two primary ways.
First, I have spoken with an air of authority on many issues and have given the impression of expertise. While it is true that I have been a practicing Licensed Professional Counselor for almost 20 years and an avid student of Scripture for over 30 years, it is important to point out that I am a curious novice, just like you. Life is a maze of paradoxes, begging to be explained. As such, I am willing to share my understanding of the best course through this maze, providing guidance (and hopefully wisdom) along the way. But I am not a leader. I am just the person standing beside you, telling you about my experience and understanding of the maze.
Second, I realize that my entries have been somewhat imbalanced. I have focused on the “in the tent” part more than on the “living” part. Life is more than just successfully relating with the people around us, though that is a big part of it, and if I am going to be faithful to the intent of this blog, living must be covered in its myriad expressions .
But before any of this can be begun, a few questions must be answered (this is the group participation part, if you choose):
1) When is life most exciting?
2) When is life most challenging?
3) When is life most rewarding?
4) Am I existing or am I truly living?
To be honest, this last question has been the most troubling of the four for me over the past month. At 45 years old I am entering that stage of life that Erik Erikson labeled Generativity vs. Stagnation. In other words, I am beginning to evaluate my contribution to the world and the legacy I am leaving for those who walk behind me. My mortality has been unusually present to me lately, and I am beginning to wonder if I am wasting my life or am I truly living? This question began to pester me about a month ago after an adventure-filled vacation in Colorado, but I am not naive enough to think that living must be saturated with adrenaline filled experiences or bucket list items. I realize that work must be done. Bills must be paid. And children must be prepared to live their lives successfully in the adult world. But through all of this, how am I avoiding becoming stagnant? What am I doing with my life? What are you? What is it that transforms life into living?
To me, the worst part about life is the monotony, not because it is repetitive, but because the repetitiveness is being spilled out for something that is designed to waste time. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with watching a little TV or surfing the internet, but bingeing on Netflix for an entire season of my favorite show is almost as bad as realizing that I ignored my family in the process and finished off the last brownie, half a pack of Oreos, and a bag of popcorn. I am not anti-entertainment. I am simply realizing that I have lived 4 1/2 decades and I have, at best, 3 1/2 left. The proverbial sands in the hourglass are moving quicker than I desire and things that waste my time should have no place in my life. The question is how do I change a lifetime of ignoring my legacy? What options are available to me? After all, one’s legacy is not something that he achieves; it is something that he creates along the way. And unless we are carefully choosing to spill out our lives for something grander than our careers, our pleasures, or our selves, we will find that what we have created looks a lot like that warped, green, clay “duck” we made Mom in 1st grade.
This is not to say that I have lost hope. Nor am I suicidal. But if I am to have a blog about dependent living upon God, both of an inspirational and a relational nature, then we must discuss what does it mean to live?
How do you avoid becoming stagnant?
What is it that you pour out your time on?
Where is your life most exciting? Most challenging? Most rewarding? And when you step back and truly evaluate, are you existing or are you truly living?