Tag Archives: dreams

Living A New Adventure

Adventure

As I sit here on a vacation week on the eve of a new year, I was thinking about how new beginnings can start anytime. They are not restricted by age, stage or calendar dates. They are much more determined by attitude and intentionality.

What new adventure do you want to start this year?

For those who know us, Nan and I are definitely of “retirement age”, but not of a retirement mindset. It is not our goal to live a life of leisure, but rather a more leisurely life in some aspects of our daily living, but not all. We are excited about what God has put before us and want to take full advantage of the years we have.

For some of you, you may have been living a more leisurely life and it’s time to fire up the engine and get moving. There are many things that are much easier to start building at a younger age. For others, you have pressed the gas pedal too hard, and it’s time to hit the brakes and look around and perhaps change direction.

Both Nan and I did this early in our relationship. She shifted from teaching to starting a new direction as a marriage and family therapist. I refocused from a career as a musician to a businessman and then counselor. What have you been itching to do but need to make changes to do it?

I am not just talking about career. Have you put off friendships, relationships or spiritual pursuits because you “haven’t got the time”? I know some people have pushed these things forward expecting they will always be there when they want them. But that is not always true. We cannot depend on being able to order our world the way we want it. We can try, but there are no guarantees. It’s not bad to be impatient for the really important things.

New life skills?

I want to continue as a learner. I have always been an avid reader, but now with YouTube it is easier than ever to learn all kinds of new and often practical skills. I am not necessarily encouraging solitary pursuits – some things are best learned in community. But rather I am advocating an attitude of personal as well as corporate growth. What new life skills do you want to pick up?

How about an adventure into gratitude, generosity and hospitality? Have you put those things off for later in your life? I know I struggle to balance those things out and continue to fight to gain ground against their opposites. It seems easy for me to go negative and scared rather than optimistic and courageous. But new adventures can’t be based on fear and pessimism – at least not worthwhile ones. So join me!

Blessings to you and your adventures in the new year.

 

When the New Year is Not Happy

new-yers-eve-hongkong

I love the excitement that people generally have as a new year approaches. It’s as if all the bad stuff is left behind and only the hopeful is ahead. I have spent many a New Year’s Day feeling this way. There had been a new musical instrument or accessory under the Christmas tree waiting to be mastered or vacation plans in the works for the coming year. But for some the new year doesn’t seem so delightful.

What if the phrase “Happy New Year” doesn’t ring true for you?

  • You were hoping for an engagement ring, but it didn’t happen.
  • It feels like the best years are behind you.
  • It’s another year where you are disappointed with your job or can’t find work.
  • You were hoping that family relationships would have been mended for this holiday season, but it just got worse.
  • It looks like another year ahead feeling alone, overwhelmed and broke.
  • Your cancer treatments are ahead of you, not behind.

I don’t have something to propose that will solve all these problems – but you already knew that. You have probably been told repeatedly that life isn’t fair and (unhelpfully) told to just get over it.

What I do have to offer is this:

Life is always better when you do it with others, in community. 

When you are sad or discouraged, connecting with others might be the last thing you want to do. But I assure you, it is the best strategy. God said he would not give us more than we could bear – but He didn’t say we have to bear it alone. I would even argue that sometimes we can’t carry it alone, that the burdens are just too heavy. When you tell others your story, an exchange takes place that cannot be measured, but it can be felt.

Even in the worst of times we can also work on our gratitude list. There are always things we can be thankful for. It is a very individual list – I can show you mine, but yours will be different. For those of us who are in Christ, there is a life ahead without suffering, and for all, a life today where we are deeply loved by Him, even when we don’t feel it.

The other thing we can do is to dream. Dreams cost nothing and they travel everywhere. They can be big or small, but they say “I am not finished with life.”

“When you cease to dream you cease to live.”  Malcolm Forbes