In the year 2000 I decided to plant a Church, by 2008 I was faithless and awash in sin and shame. My walk with God was non-existent and I was on the verge of losing my family. In those days I decided to resign as Pastor and take a Sabbatical for 2 months that lead to a 6 month hiatus as I searched for a new ministry and then made the move to Alaska. During that time away from ministry I made several decisions that have helped me regain my walk with God and my relationship with my family. Here they are –
1. I Committed To a Regular Time With God. – I start almost every day in my office with prayer and Bible reading. It takes me about a half hour for me to do both usually. I have found it has deepened my understanding of God and his word. It has helped me to develop a heart for people and it has enriched my love for my family.
2. I Made My Family a Priority. – My faith in God is the biggest guiding value in my life. Second is my family. Work is now third or maybe even fourth on my list. No longer will I be away from my family almost every night. In fact, I will not be gone more than two nights in a week unless there is a huge emergency. I schedule my kid’s games and make time for them in my life.
3. I Decided to Do Only a Few Things Well. – Once upon a time I wanted to pastor a large Church, write a bestselling book, travel speaking on the conference tour, and become a folk hero in the Church. Now, I want to preach well and I want to develop a healthy church. That’s it. I hope to do two things well besides being a good husband, father and son.
4. I Have Learned to Say No. – This is BY FAR the biggest decision most of us need to make. This year I have had to say no to two special speaking engagements where I was invited to preach. These would have been good events that would have helped me to make a name for myself. But, they would have meant time away from the few things I want to do well and from my family.
I firmly believe that most people live their lives based on guilt. I feel like they need to do something when asked or otherwise people will think less of me. Then I feel guilty for letting you down. I don’t want to feel guilty so I would rather endure being involved than saying no.
Let me be clear though – You need to know your priorities before you can say no. Numerous people say no to Church, no to church activities, not to small groups, no to bible study & prayer along with saying no to other believers because they have said yes to a lot of small and trivial things.
5. I Do Things I Enjoy Regularly. – For years I felt guilty for taking time off. If I went fishing I felt like I had to justify that to everyone. After all, there are so many good things I could be doing for the Church and the cause of Christ. I would not let myself enjoy life so that I could be a martyr for Jesus. Now, I have no shame in taking nights off. I need to have time to go fishing or just watch TV. I need a break to refresh my soul.
Today I feel more spiritually healthy than I have in my whole life. It didn’t come easy, but with a few critical decisions I began to turn everything in my life around. I know that you can do the same. All you have to do is make the right decisions.