About every 5 years I go through a pretty intense period of self-reflection. Every 10 years that self-reflection borders a fiery meltdown where I threaten to burn everything down and go live in the woods. I was a little early this year, my 40th birthday isn’t until next week. Maybe it was the leap years that pulled my meltdown a few weeks early? Who knows.
The nice thing about going through it this time is that I had people to help me that I didn’t have before. I thought I would list them, along with the perspectives they offered. I hope it helps you in your period of self-reflection. All of these people and their influence all reside within the realm of my faith. God is the author of our lives and brings people to us to draw us close to Him.
The first is family. My wife and daughters provide an anchor for me. They are absolutes. I will not risk them for anything. This is properly ordered. God has placed me in a family, making it my primary vocation. Keeping my family as my first focus helps everything else move into proper order.
The second is having other Christians I can talk to. Life for a Christian isn’t separate from faith. It is important to speak with people who understand how the dynamics of life impact faith and how faith impacts the dynamics of our life. I have had 2 people. AJ has been one I go to for faith related topics for a long time. Starting InkleDeux was my last 5 year self-reflection period and AJ was who I went to. The best thing about AJ is that he makes decisions with lots of time and prayer. I fire five from the hip and see if I hit anything. Working with someone who slows me down, forces me to pray and listen more has helped tremendously. The second is my mentor Kevin. Our official mentorship ended, but he is still someone I go to for life. He is older than me and lives a life that I respect. Having someone in the faith who is a little further along the path, who has already been through what you are experiencing is a tremendous asset. Their guidance is a mix of faith, experience, and challenge. So, get someone to walk next to you and someone who is a level up.
Lastly, I have two friends with drastically different perspectives. My two friends, April and Aaron, do not share my faith. They do not match my life experience. This means their perspectives will not be an echo chamber. These are people who have been with me for a long time. I have worked with April for 14 years. I have been friends with Aaron for something like 20 years and shared some tough times together. I care deeply about these two people and I know that they care about me. Because of that relationship, I trust their advice. Their perspectives are so different that it forces me to poke my head outside of the box to try and see what they see. When we start thinking outside the box, we become open to solutions we didn’t have visibility to before.
Now, for those of you who were wondering what I wrestled with on my ten year meltdown, it was my day job. I was living in constant frustration because I believed my day job was robbing me of doing God’s will. It took me a few weeks to process all my emotions, thoughts, and feedback from my people. The conclusion I came to was that it was all in my perspective. I viewed my day job as a thief instead of an enabler. I changed my perspective and found peace and joy that I had been missing out on for years.
In conclusions, it takes the perspective of others to help us fix our perspective. Sometimes we walk in our calling but lack joy purely because our perspective is misaligned.
Working for my life’s vision of writing stories in a beverage shop that I own.