“I just don’t sleep enough. But I have never met someone very successful who, at the end of their life, says ‘I wish I slept more.’ Nothing of any consequence was ever achieved without enormous passion and total dedication.”
There are moments where I wish I didn’t want out of life what I want out of it. Those moments sometimes creep in during times where I have 2 weeks of evenings booked solid, 4 project deadlines looming, and a growing collection of flagged emails to return, none of which even pertain to my paid profession. I look and think, “I’ve voluntarily done this to myself..?” But those moments melt away as quick as an ice cube in summer’s 40 degree sun… because of the reason why.
More and more, I think that WHAT we do, doesn’t mean nearly as much as WHY we do it. “Whats” will come and go seasonally. But discovering your “why” will make each “what” meaningful, even when times get tough.
Recently someone actually asked me the question, “How’s your soul?” simply because of how much I seemingly am doing. I was a little taken aback, honestly. My answer is… “THRIVING”. My body gets tired. My brain gets frazzled. But my soul is rockin’. A few weeks ago I cancelled a baseball trip that I wanted to go on… for a meeting. The guys I was planning on going with were aghast saying, “Just ditch it!” But the truth is that I would rather take the meeting because it feeds the ravenous beast inside me that wants something tastier than a few innings and crappy nachos.
In 2003 I spent two weeks in the Philippines, in and around Manila. During that time I met a man named Pastor Nonoy who was our local escort from engagement to engagement. He was one of the most incredible people I’d ever met. His ministry position within a denomination was to be the “troubleshooting” pastor for churches that were going through tough times. Essentially Nonoy was leading about 25 churches at once. He would go and go and go and go and go some more AND be a good husband AND be a good father AND be a community leader AND make time to guide Canadian missionaries around. He genuinely cared about all of it, and gave ALL of himself to ALL of it. It’s likely the one common character trait I’ve seen in all of the men I truly respect.
One night I was preaching at a youth service in Valenzuela City which is just outside of Manilla. I was bothered that night by the “What am I really doing here?” question. My trip to Asia wasn’t something that I was planning on doing. We had JUST opened the doors of Freedom House, my newborn first son was about to crawl for the first time and we had no money! But I got on a plane and went anyway… because somehow I just knew I had to go.
Pastor Nonoy looked at my agitation before the service and said, “David… I need to ask you a question. What do you really want to see happen with your life?” It was kind of out of the blue but I EXPLODED the answer back on him. I said, “I want to see a city transformed. A whole city. Transformed by people acting out God’s love in tangible ways. I want to see businesses revived. Churches full. Streets paved. Schools prospering. Economies re-dreamed. The sick healed. Poverty ended. A FULL city transformed. THAT’S what I want!”
I’d known this in my head for a few years, but that day… it EXPLODED into life. Pastor Nonoy wept and prayed with me at the evident breakthrough that had just happened. I preached my guts out that night. The beast was loosed. I don’t think we get to pick what our beast is SUPPOSED to be. We are, however, the gatekeepers of the beast. We are the final word on what GETS to be our beast. We can decide whether it’s a good beast or a bad beast. We can stoke the fire of whatever beast we choose… BUT what we were ideally designed to have inside us… is not ours to decide. Callings are God’s doing. It’s our job to dig until we find it, unearth it, unleash it and then LIVE it.
If Nonoy wasn’t going and going and going, being driven by his beast, I’m not sure if I would be fuelled to do the same today. You have something special in you that your community, neighbours, family and friends NEED. I want to encourage you to dig up your beast and be relentless with it. Find out what you really care about and go HARD at it. Realize that it can, and likely will, cost you everything. All the best dreams do. BUT in doing that, you’ll find the full and fruitful life that too many willingly forgo… because we like sleeping too much.
“Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.”