Before you read on, I’d like to ask you a favor please. I’d welcome your 2 stage input on this post. If you could please let me know your initial comments to this post, right after you read it, then again, 24 hours later after you ”ve given it some thought, I would greatly appreciate it.
At some time or another, most of us have taken a long drive in a car. We’ve experienced long hours of driving in rural areas and then we come to city traffic. In the city, we find our adrenaline pumping because we seem to have entered a NASCAR race. There are drivers zipping in and out all around us. There are tolls to be paid. There are billboards and signs screaming out to get our attention, and there are many exits and on and off ramps to take us to various destinations.
Similar to the circle interchange (as they call it in Chicago), where there is a merger in the city of fast-moving highways, my many thoughts , experiences and questions have intersected in my mind and are seeking a place to exit and a sure destination to head towards.
Bob Buford in his excellent book “Halftime, moving from Success to Significance” talks about two halves in people’s lives. There is the first half where there is a strong drive for personal success, and then a second half filled with the desire for significance.
As I look back on my quest for personal success, I am so grateful for being such an avid reader. When I recall the number of biographies I have read and been inspired by, various people who have worked hard (and smart), who showed great courage, and were given opportunities and succeeded, I feel grateful I have been able to take from so many experiences. Over the years, I have been inspired by reading about people like Theodore Roosevelt, John Wanamaker, Sam Walton, Meriwether Lewis, D.L. Moody, and on and on my list could go. The collective learning I have received from the reading of “successful” people has had a huge impact on the choices I have made in my own life.
Another huge factor regarding living successfully has been a deep-seated belief in striving for excellence in all the areas of my responsibilities (devotion to God, personal health, family, stewardship, work, ministry, and personal leisure).
Those who have taken a long car trip know that they will drive for hours on quiet, rural highways and then enter the intense ‘race” through crowded cities to find a focused escape and finally exit onto a road that leads them out of the city back towards quietness.
I have recently found myself at a stage of my life similar to the city interchange. I find that my many thoughts and experiences have gathered or converged into a crowded, crazy place. However, up ahead of me, I have caught the highway sign I’ve been looking for, which shows me the exit ramp I need to take to depart from the city and to get onto the ramp that leads (in Bob Buford’s words) to the road called “Significance.”
What my internal GPS is telling me is that whereas I came into this interchange in a car, I find myself about to exit the city in a truck. Like a semi-truck that has the name of a company written on the outside of it, I leave the city with “CHRISTIAN” clearly labeled on my vehicle
Although I am still mindful of my personal responsibilities (devotion to God, family, health, stewardship, etc.), the capacity of my semi-truck vehicle has now greatly enhanced the opportunities I have to carry more burdens and move more resources to other people.
A great change has occurred at the interchange in my mind”, it is a realization that my life is not really about me. It is a recognition that my life is a gift from a Gracious Giver. It is a conviction that has arisen that Almighty God deserves to be recognized for the Loving, Sovereign, and Holy God that He is.
And now, as I’m about to exit this interchange and enter this new road, there is a toll to be paid -its a toll of praise. Its a momentary opportunity to pause and express thankfulness to a personal God who chooses to do life with us–to take the wheel and give us significance.