I do realize that the new year was over a month ago and yet I am just now writing about the new year and a new season. But it is never too late to start fresh and definitely never too late to dream new dreams. At the beginning of this new year I was too overwhelmed to even contemplate what it meant, muchless to begin dreaming new dreams. I was just trying to get through the day. Though things are still busy for us, the future is at hand and we want to be as purposeful as possible.
If you haven’t noticed, Greg and I are in the midst of lots of transition. God very clearly moved us out of Ethiopia when we had planned to be there for a few more years. We had dreams for our life and business there, but God had different ideas. It was a shock to the system when we gathered the pieces of our dreams and questioned if and where we had misheard God. Even though we aren’t sure what is next for us, we believe that we heard God in going to Ethiopia and we also believe we heard him in leaving— it doesn’t make sense to us either.
So where are we now besides living in our bus? At the root of it all we are again trying to figure out how and what to dream. We feel a little gun shy since our last dreams and plans didn’t turn out how we thought. To be honest, relearning to trust your instincts and desires after confusing circumstances is a process, but here we are asking the hard questions and digging into our purpose and calling AGAIN.
I picked up a book called the Last Arrow at my in-laws over the holidays. I am pretty sure the book is meant for fifty-year-old men, nonetheless I sat in the bath with a glass of wine and cried my eyes out. It was just what I needed. This last season has been hard and confusing and sometimes I just wanted to retreat because it sure seemed like we were losing the battle. I wanted to retreat and seek peace and comfort. Retreat because I was tired of the fight and the unknown. But this book reminded me that I was made for the fight and I was created to soldier on. I was destined, as all of you, to try new and hard things and now is the time to push into those hard things, despite my inability to see what God is doing.
Every year (well we have only been together for 3 years- but every year), we ask ourselves some questions each new year to reevaluate our purpose or identify our new purpose. Some friends of ours take time to evaluate what they want to spend their time, talent and treasure on every year. We have done a variation of that in years past, but this year there were some new questions on my heart as we evaluated what is next, not just in the new year but in this new life we are living. Here are some the questions that came to me while reading the book the Last Arrow and while going on our own journey of dreaming and evaluating calling and vocation. Maybe some of these questions will resonate with you.
- What am I intended for? Or what has God created me for? Or what should I be consumed by that is bigger than me? This question I answered pretty generally with one sentence, but you may find yourself answering this very specifically.
- What can I do to cut away things that aren’t in line with that calling so that I can do more of what I was intended for?
- How do I not want to settle in that one area of my life?
- What am I afraid of in the midst of that calling?
- Where do I need more faith to purpose what I was intended for?
- Where am I settling for less?
- What battles should I be fighting and which should I not be fighting?
- Where am I underestimating God?
- What do I want to leave my children? Not physical possession or money, but what legacy do I want to leave?
- What do I need to leave behind at the beginning this New Year?
To my surprise, we answered the question of calling almost exactly the same now as we did while doing Donald Miller’s Life Plan a few years ago. I was honestly expecting us to have a new revelation about our calling. Now, don’t get me wrong, callings can totally change!!!!! But for us it was interesting that though our dreams were dying our callings seemed to remained consistent. That made us push more into the questions of how are we underestimating God and settling for less. I hope these question lead you into a deeper understanding of what God might be doing for you and your family in this season.