“How I can be more effective in the next decade of my life than I was in the previous?”
It’s not a mid-life crisis. It’s mid-life reflection time.
Looking for the sweet spot.
I’ve done a lot of processing, praying, talking with mentors, and reading.
One book that’s caught my attention is One Big Thing, by Phil Cooke.
“Another important signpost on your journey to your OBT (One Big Thing) is discovering a task, job, purpose, or cause that you love. Some people think that’s a ridiculous notion because to them, work is work – period. They’ve never felt that work was anything to enjoy, let alone love; it’s only something done for a paycheck. They love what they do after work. But the most productive, well-rounded, and fulfilled people have found a job they love to do and do extraordinarily well.
One of the greatest tests to find out whether people truly love what they do is whether or not they’d do it without being paid.” (Cooke, 97)
So, what do you love to do?
Here’s what I’m processing…
I LOVE doing life with my wife and kids. Learning, laughing, and loving together.
I LOVE meeting new people who are quirky, interesting, different, creative, and definitely who see the world differently than I do.
In my life, these people usually don’t profess to be Christians. I love hearing their stories; learning from their perspective on the world. I love connecting with them and sharing insights for how my journey with Jesus might connect with their story. Christians sometimes call me an “evangelist”, thinking I’ve got some savant skill at convincing people to believe in Jesus. That’s not true at all. I literally never feel like I have to convince people of something. My passion is to connect with people and have conversations.
If I have any guess as to why some people I meet (far from all) start connecting with Jesus, it’s this: I actually like them. I actually like getting to know what people think and what they’ve experienced (or not experienced) with God, demons, angels, spirits, whatever. I’m fascinated by people. They’re amazing. There’s an imprint of God within them. No matter how weird, screwed up, or odd others may find them.
I LOVE mentoring people to succeed in life – in their connection with God, pursuit of career passions, in relationships, and in improving the world.
I LOVE developing leaders to see themselves as powerful change agents in the lives of those around them – whether it be their families, their business, or other career.
I LOVE helping people discover that pursuing Jesus personally is simple, doable, and the best way to live.
The beauty of the situation I live in now is I get to do all these things – and get paid for them. I get to write, train, start new churches, gather leaders together, and help people make disciples in lots of places.
As a creative exercise, I recently mapped out what I would do if I had a different means of income.
You know what, I discovered I would do the exact same things I do now.
My time to focus on them might change, but my passions would not.
It was kind of a renewal experience for me.
New thoughts are still coming.
For now, I’m processing how I can be more effective at pursuing these passions in the next season.
The following Venn diagram by Michael Frost has been a helpful matrix. I’ve used this in my own life. I’ve mentored people to use it in their own.
As you reflect on the next season of your life, ask yourself these questions:
What do you love?
What are you great at?
What does the world need?
How are you paid?
The world needs people who hit their sweet spot.
You may not be there right now – don’t despair.
Life is a process, a journey.
And Jesus is the best one to journey with to lead us to our sweet spot.