~Joel’s Blog

The following is an excerpt from our upcoming book, Prepare For Rain; The Ten Essential Steps For Creating The Life You Want.

Living Out Your Purpose…

For many of us, life really is good. But we forget that. Our simple daily struggles cloud our vision. Our expectations for more…for easier…for faster…for whatever…get in the way of celebrating what we already have. There are exceptions, of course. Sometimes those that struggle with major health issues, financial strains, and relational ruin, seem to have greater access to genuine thanksgiving for the things they do have. It’s as if the severe pressures they face deepen their appreciation for the good in their lives.

Still, the reason we are so often reminded to live with an “attitude of gratitude” is because too often we don’t. Patience can be tricky.

…Needs Your Patience

Which is why when you finally get so fed up and “tired of…living these unexamined lives” (a line from Don Henley’s “My Thanksgiving”), you must face down the reasons you avoided doing so until that moment. Because there were reasons. And they didn’t just vanish with your decision to start living an examined life. The reasons behind your avoidance come from the expectations you’ve had.

Let’s see more of My Thanksgiving.

Have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things are

Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, and how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge

Patience Begins at Home

Each of us must, at some point, reconcile ourselves to the way things are. The premise of this book is that for far too many people, they allowed their passion to be set aside in favor of something that seemed more acceptable, or compelling, or easy. They chose a path more traveled by. But that path came with a cost. They paid for it with lost time. Patience was sacrificed for immediate.

This is a large group of people, usually well past their thirties. This group includes me. And it likely includes you. Recognizing this reality is simply being honest with ourselves. In that honesty, we may need to stare down some unexamined beliefs about ourselves, about others, even about the world. Most of us live for years with limiting beliefs we maintained without question. Many of those inaccurate beliefs were planted in us when we were very young, extremely impressionable, and naïve enough to believe they were true. Sometimes a person we trusted without reservation, said something. They pronounced a judgment. They declared a criticism. And in our limited, kid-view-understanding of the world, we absorbed the hurt that came with their declaration. Then we came up with a false belief. However we came to believe it, not enough people ever challenge those beliefs later in their life.

And Then Steps Into the World, Purposeful

Taking an active role in changing your beliefs is central to taming your unexamined expectations. Doing so with grace and humility speeds you along the road less traveled. It may even provide the best light for you, as you burn bridges along your journey. The bridges you burn might be relational. There may be some people who it would be better for you to distance yourself from. It’s not a cosmic requirement that you suffer the negativity of family and friends that are not supportive of your vision. Creating some distance between you and them doesn’t mean you cast them away. It just means you intentionally stop giving their opinion so much horsepower.

As a result, the most important bridges you should burn are relational, but they’re not with people. Your relationship with self-doubt, with over-thinking, with seeking approval from others, with limiting beliefs…all of these are absolutely worthy of your setting them on fire. The sooner, the better. The light that radiates in front of you from these burning bridges is brilliant and clear.

For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

Patience + Boldness = Living With Purpose

Allow yourself to see that even the fears of your past have brought you down winding roads to where you are today. Yesterday is past. Tomorrow is promise. Today is opportunity. All of your experiences, all of those side paths, all of your joys and fears, all of them now get poured into your purpose. You are worthy. You are capable. Reveal the flame inside of you. The world needs to see it.

Get to work setting aside your limiting beliefs. Let go the fears that have bound you up in the past. Forgive yourself for allowing these things to hold you back as long as they have. And forgive those whose negative voices impacted you so much when you were young. The best path for you to take is this: believe they meant well. At least, believe they were doing the best they could with what they knew and believed. Humbly accept that there is a chance you didn’t understand them correctly. Even if they were hurtful and you know that was exactly their intention, you do not need to continue to empower their point of view. You can set it aside like a worn-out pair of hiking boots that do nothing but give you blisters. Come to terms with that period in your life. And then move forward.

Most of All, Answer the Call

Proverbs tell us that

“a man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” [Pr. 19:11].

There are many others seeking the path you’re now on. Lead them. Help them. With patience. It really is the road less traveled on. But that doesn’t mean you have to travel it alone. Having traveling companions is a fine thing. Because there will be days when they support you after a misstep or tumble. Other days, you will do the same for them (Rom. 6:6).

We are called to live a life of purpose.

We are not called to go it alone.

Let your light shine as a beacon that others might follow.

Let this be your thanksgiving.

Engage below. What’s your experience?

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