This week I have had a couple of opportunities to tell my story, to describe my vocational journey from being a hospital scientist, to ordained minister and finally a military chaplain. When I do that the obvious question is why? How did I know that was the “right” thing to do? There are no easy answers to those questions, especially when it does not seem logical! If you are struggling with your future directions, or how to cope with the posting that did or didn’t come, your first step is to work out what your life purpose is. Only then can you assess how the decision you are making will help or hinder achieving that goal. The fact is at many times in life we are not faced with choosing between a good and a bad option, but struggling to decide which of two good (or bad) options is better.
If you are content to just accept mediocre, and take the route of least resistance, you need not read any further, but if you want your life to be super fantastic, to go to new heights and achieve beyond your wildest dreams then stop and ponder the following:
1. Who are the most important people in my life? Rate the following:
- family – spouse, children
- work colleagues
- work supervisor
- sporting team
2. What things are most important to me?
- Being available to my partner, family, children
- Work performance… getting a top PAR… promotion…
- Earning more money to become rich…
- My toys, my house, my car, my big screen TV…
- Personal happiness, having fun, avoiding responsibility
3. Does my division of time and money prove that these are my priorities?
- Who gets my best time, energy and attention?
- What gets the biggest share of my discretional finance?
- Is there good balance?
4. What have I got to do to readjust this balance?
- Be honest with myself and take control of my life
- Set some realistic goals for the future
- Assess whether I am in the right job – one that allows me to achieve my priorities?
Somewhere in that pondering it might be helpful to also ask “Where does God fit in all that?” The fact is, the reason I left the lab and took an enormous pay cut to become a minister was because that is what I believed God wanted me to do! That decision was not logical or easy, but I have never regretted it and God has richly rewarded me for that step of faith. If you are unhappy with your life maybe the above audit will help, but if you are struggling with the bigger question of why I am here and what is life really all about then maybe you need to meet God. I would be happy to introduce you!
Chaplain Ian Whitley