A couple of days back, I received a sad note from a friend. I chose to share because I feel someone out there is living through a similar experience. This is my response, I hope it makes some meaning to my friend, and to you.
I’d have started this by asking how you’re doing but I received your letter yesterday. I feel deeply honoured that you’d trust me enough to bare your soul. That humbles me for real.
I wish I had all the answers you need but in all honesty, there are no guarantees. However, if you’d take these thoughts and work with them, you could find some respite in my ramblings and timely wisdom to mastermind an audacious comeback in 2016.
So you’re convinced everyone else had a great year, save you. I don’t think that’s entirely true (you saw that coming, right?). We’ve been friends for what? Six years? I know you have a strong, competitive streak that has hauled in some massive victories in your life. But every strength has its downside and I’m afraid your driven nature may be misleading you to belittle your results while idolizing what others have done.
I don’t think you’re failure, far from it (don’t roll your eyes. I mean these words). You said it yourself- you’ve got your list checked. May I suggest you look away from others and focus some more on yourself. It’s clichéd but if you’d count your blessings, you’d really be surprised just how far you’ve come. It’s better than you think. The temptation to measure ourselves against others can be pretty strong, I admit. But you must remember the timely warning about the foolishness of indulging in that game.
…when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely
2 Corinthians 10:12 (The Amplified Bible)
Celebrate your wins. Yes, you’ve got some. I’d bet on it. Pick them up again and be thankful. It may not be much of a consolation to you, but others desperately desire to be where you are today. Be grateful. You’re not where you desire but could it be you’re well beyond where you deserve for real? Consider this again Bro.
Your words conveyed the heaviness you feel within. This may shock you, but I’ve been in that EXACT same place before. It’s not a beautiful experience at all. I understand what you’re feeling.
That sense of tightness, that weight, you know, that perception of being choked, they lived with me not so long ago. The internal battles were long, hard and sadly, lonely. But I made it. And I’m confident you will too.
My season of burden taught me that most times, when we feel this way, there is a misalignment between who we are and who we feel we can be or what we’re doing and what we feel we should be doing. The internal and external worlds are at war and the mental space is the battleground. That’s why there’s so much strain there. Each world is aiming for domination. So how do you douse the feud? How do you restore harmony and internal peace when you’re being pulled in so many directions all at once?
This was the chain-breaker for me.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit (the thoughts and intents of the heart)
This was the clincher!
Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will,and so shall your plans be established and succeed)
Proverbs 16:2-3 (The Amplified Bible)
You laid out your plans. Knowing you, they must have been meticulously reasoned out and drafted in detail. That’s a priceless quality because I believe God works best with people who take time to plan. You’re a prime candidate for His partnership.
But I’m afraid, therein may lie the first snag. Have you consciously asked him to seat on the Board of your affairs? See, he’s not imposing; if you don’t extend an invitation, he won’t barge in.
May I suggest you practice Proverbs 16:3 in the coming year.
Yeah, you’ve crafted ingenious plans. But life has the mischievous habit of upstaging intentions with its unexpected (more like ‘unexpectable’) intrusions.
That’s why you need guidance Bro. Smart, detailed planning has its place. But take the whole thing to the Lord in prayer. Tell him about your plans, read them out to Him if you have to; not because He doesn’t know already, but because that exercise is your way of acknowledging and submitting to His wisdom.
This is where it gets interesting.
In the process, you will find He brings refinement, corrections, direction and sometimes, insider knowledge on how best to execute those plans. That’s the part about “causing your thoughts to become agreeable to His will”. Perspectives and considerations you may have missed would just come bubbling up to the surface and you’d be like “why didn’t I think of it this way?!”. Trust me Bro, it’s a beautiful experience. Opportunities and resources will bump into you at unprecedented moments and right before your eyes, your dreams will morph into reality.
This is way beyond SMART goals and personal exertion. Its like getting into a flow, a stream of serendipities. At the risk of sounding casual, let me reassure you that it’s this simple. That tightness within will dissolve; it will melt off as you put this to work.
But you, my friend, must start the process. Remember what I said about Him not barging in? Revisit those plans, practice with those. Roll them on the Lord- every day. Be consistent with this.
Watch what happens in a short while. Fresh life will be injected into those dreams as your thoughts start aligning with His. You’ll come to know what to pursue, how to execute, what to completely ignore and areas to adjust. This is how it works.
Mistakes have been made but they can be corrected. If you ask someone else, you may get different ideas. Self-help and motivational talk may do you some good but what I have, what I have proven, I have given.
Come live in this place Bro. I assure you again, it’s a beautiful experience.
Merry Christmas and have a fantastic 2016!
Your friend, your brother,
Live by Design.