As I write this, it's been several months since I decided to step down from full-time, occupational ministry and those months have been filled with a lot of looking back.
I've been looking back with grief, because I loved so much of what life looked like back there and what I got to be a part of in a church I helped start in Los Angeles.
I've been looking back with gratitude, because I never want to forget how much I was given.
I've been looking back with curiosity, because I assume there's a treasure chest of learning.
But I've also needed to remember a crucial concept about how I want to live my life.
Our brains are neurologically geared to access what they've already experienced. To be as efficient as possible, the brain wants to make sense of your present challenges, opportunities, and identity from available data. In other words, without a decision to think differently, you will live like today will be, at best, a version of what's already been.
But there's another way to live. I would argue, there's a truer way to live.
The author of the letter of Hebrews wrote this little phrase that has always struck me.
“Because of the joy awaiting Jesus, he endured the cross...”
(Hebrews 12:2, emphasis mine)
Because of a crystal clear picture of what was possible, he chose a wildly inadvisable path.
The idea I'm extracting from this today is simply this:
I will let what's possible tomorrow dictate my priorities today.
(I'm also moved to know that the vision that gave him so much "joy" was you and me. Wow.)
I invite you to do this with me.
It's worth consulting with people who think and live differently than you. It's worth praying and journaling the hopes and dreams you're almost embarrassed to share with your current crowd. It's worth asking yourself the questions...
"Why not me?"
"Why not my team?"
"Why not my family?"
Though it might take some time to get that vision crystal clear and white hot, it's so worth the investment.
And pay attention to your resistance to this. Most of us avoid painting a clear picture of what's possible because it also defines the terms of falling short. The reason we often keep our dreams vague is so we can do the same things we've always done and call it "fine".
Too many lives are lived as echoes of what was. I choose to live as the origin story of what's to come.