Be Careful Where You Are Headed – You May Actually Get There.
I am a doer. When I first met my wife, Wendi, I was in college at the University of Maryland in the Washington D.C. area and I had a seven year plan. This plan spelled out what I was going to achieve over the next several years. I planned to complete my undergraduate degree with a 4.0 GPA, while interning in the nation’s capitol. I was in a Military Intelligence Army reserve unit next to the National Security Agency (NSA) and was looking into some part time work for the NSA. This scenario would have set me up nicely to be accepted into an ivy-league law school to specialize in international law. After law school the seven years would be completed and after taking stock, I could make a new plan. To me, relationships were secondary to accomplishing goals. I let Wendi know that my plan was in place and that where our relationship was going (to marriage or elsewhere) depended on the status of my plan.
I followed my plan for about a year and a half with quite a bit of success. My plan changed, however, when God brought me to my first “time out.” God gave me a sneak peak into what would happen if I actually achieved everything in my plan. I asked myself, “If my wildest dreams came true, if I become a high level advisor on the national level, or if I am elected to the legislature, then so what?” Even if I achieved all those goals, they would be gone – forgotten within a generation. If I achieved my wildest dreams I would have achieved nothingness. This revelation didn’t come about subtly. It was driven home by a Bible cult that I had started hanging around with. (I describe this association more in subsequent chapters.) God knew that I needed a LOUD wake up call. After a short time of looking at things through an eternal perspective I knew that God was the only thing of any permanence and the only thing worth devoting my life to. I soon realized that I wanted to devote my life to God but not this cult. In the cult’s eyes you couldn’t do one without the other. Rather confused and feeling that I didn’t want to follow my plan or this cult anymore, I left. I went back home to live with my parents. For the next couple of months I was in time out. God took away everything I was doing. I no longer had a plan except to abandon my old plan because it was worthless. I didn’t have a clear grasp of what the Bible really said or what God wanted me to do next. Away from college and all I had lived for, I spent the subsequent few months pouring over the Bible for myself. I really focused on the voice of the Father and my relationship with Him grew. This was my first time out and it felt like the hardest time of my life while I was going through it. But in hindsight, I am so thankful for that time out. I was so focused on doing, on achieving, on following the American dream that I was actually throwing my life and relationship with the Father away. God was trying to tell me this truth for some time, but I couldn’t hear him. I was too busy doing stuff. I needed a time out and that is exactly what I received. Continue reading