Paradigm Shift

iStockphoto credit © James Driscoll

If you think of your life as a story, there will always be a plot and sub-plots running concurrently at any given time.  I adopted this thought process in 2009 after reading Donald Miller‘s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years -What I Learned While Editing My Life.   Miller offers a great lesson in how we all have the opportunity to edit our lives so they tell a better story.

Writing A Better Life Story

Since 2007, there has been no greater plot in my life than coming to understand that my purpose has very little to do with me and everything to do with Whom I serve. Up to that point, I pursued my own American dream: good income-check, nice house-check, company car-check, church-check, family-check, friends-check…my plan, my life, my destiny.

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Martin 1:1 For where Tom’s treasure is and where Tom’s time is spent, there his heart is.”

I had a head for God and was grateful for my life, but my heart was for me and for what I had determined my purpose to be.  All this worked amazingly well for many years, but when your world gets knocked off its axis, like it has for so many of of us these last few years, you can’t help but question a lot of things:

How did I get here?

Where am I going?

For me, that meant first seeking clarity, then understanding, and then reprioritizing what was important. This sequence led to a paradigm of shift in me and a course correction…one where my agenda for my life now came second to God’s agenda for my life.

Culture conditions us to believe surrender is a badge of weakness, but surrender to God, as an act of obedience is a source for strength.  And in time and through obedience, our surrender becomes a badge of honor worn proudly as strength leads to life change and a better life story.

My changes were gradual at first, but as the sheer momentum of life change takes over they became very intention…especially when friends and family see the change and offer encouragement and affirmation.

My time with family and friends was not just “clocking in” but “plugging in,”  to their worlds and their lives.

My work became something I did, not who I was.

My Faith was no longer anchored in a building or an organization.  It became rooted in a real and personal relationship with God… something I think I always wanted, and something He wanted for me… but I never really knew how to get there.

For me, writing a better life story meant I needed to have a better plot line and stronger personal character development. What took so long to realize, and what I now count as wasted years, was not understanding that I had taken my development as far as I could.  Fortunately, God waited patiently for me to surrender control to Him. And once I was not an obstacle to my own development, the sharing of my life lessons became an instrument available to be used to help develop character of people He put in my path.

An edited life story postures the teacher and hinders the student.  Have the guts to share your story so God can leverage the lessons you’ve learned beyond anything you can imagine.

These last two months have been filled with so many life lessons and sub-plots, challenging me to not let what is secondary become primary, overshadowing writing a better life story. That being said, this ebb and flow of emotions has perched me on the highest of peaks to experience dreams I had almost given up on and thrust me into the deepest of valleys I would not wish on anyone. Yet in this midst of all this, one thing is evident and is clear, God has a plan 2011 as much as He did in 2007, and the only reminder I need is one look at the wedding ring on my finger! ~Tom trusting God period!! Next upCancer Confessional – Behind the Mask Note! In the midst of editing my post I noticed Donald Miller recently blogged about creating a personal life plan and this would be a great read for those of you who enjoyed this post. He also featured a way to receive a FREE download of Michael Hyatt‘s new eBook Creating Your Personal Life Plan: A step-by-step guide for Designing the Life You’ve Always Wanted, and is something I highly recommend taking advantage of so you can write a better life story! I have included links at the bottom post & on the side to make it easy to share what is posted here with your friends on Facebook and Twitter…just a click or two on the Sharing is Caring links at the bottom is all it takes! Are you new to Leveraging Life? If so did you know you can receive Leveraging Life as an email every time I update?  If interested all you have to do is click here to subscribe to Leveraging Life. (It’s free.) That way when I update you’ll be notified via email. 

Leveraging Life-Now is the place where stories can be shared to influence and impact others as they create their own stories. As a cancer survivor I share how leveraging my faith and trusting God period was the key component to moving past my diagnosis and learning to live a life filled with purpose. I'm blessed to be married to Shari and stepfather to her teenage sons, Michael and Matthew. I volunteer with North Point Ministries as a MTR Leader and Re:New Mentor. I also serve on the board of directors at One Thing Men's Ministry.

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