Retreating Before Charging

Jan 16, 2021

Comedienne Lily Tomlin said, “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.” This week a friend reached out and asked about how to figure out what he was good at, how to do what he loves and how to find and live his purpose. Don’t we all want to find the more to life we sense that’s out there somewhere? We live in a metropolitan area of over seven million people. It’s easy to get caught up in the “rat race.” There are commute times, taking kids places, work pressures, financial pressures, relationships at work, at home, with friends. The list could go on and on. We’re so busy we go, go, go and don’t have time to think. Or do we?

Sometimes we need to hit the stop or pause button. Several years ago I took three days to just get alone. I rode my motorcycle to the mountains of New Mexico and stayed in a place where I didn’t know a soul but could spend time praying, reading (as a Christian, my primary reading material was a Bible) and taking walks in the fresh mountain air. I guess you would call it a personal retreat. As I was wrapping up the retreat, I prayed a simple prayer asking God to show me anything else He wanted before I went home. The next morning upon waking up one word came to mind. Now I’m not saying it was an audible voice, but it was a strong impression. One word that I’m convinced was the answer to that prayer. Just one four letter word. Okay, are you ready for it? The word? Time. That’s right it was about how I use my Time. The result of that one-word answer to my prayer was that I did not turn on a television for eleven months. Now just think about this for a moment. Many houses have multiple televisions, in living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and some even in bathrooms.  In 2017, an average U.S. consumer spent 238 minutes (3h 58min) daily watching TV. That’s 1,448 hours or almost 9 weeks or two months every year!

Now, if you’re reading this my guess is you don’t watch four hours of television daily. But if you currently watch two and cut back to one, you just gained two weeks a year that you didn’t have before. Maybe for you it’s not television, it’s happy hours at the bar, or time on social media. Or maybe you even need to move. I know one CEO who told a realtor to find a house within a 5 mile radius of the corporate office to reduce driving time to and from work, allowing more family time.

Think about retreating. You’ll find it prepares you to charge.

And here are a couple of tips about finding and living your purpose. What are you good at and what do you love to do? Ask people you trust what they think are your strengths. Ask God for guidance. Take that time you were watching television or on social media and read one or all of these books. Start by Jon Acuff, The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson, Put Your Dream To The Test by John Maxwell or Unlock Your Courage by Mark Hemingway.

Your Encouraging Friend,

Mark

 

P.S. Candidly, I needed this reminder today and thought if I did maybe it could also benefit others.

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