We usually want to start the New Year filled with hope.

Future Hope

The start of the New Year is one of those times, those moments, that can be pivotal. Pivotal in the sense that we give ourselves the mental and emotional space to reflect, review, and re-position. Now is the time when we can rationalize the past pain, pause to regroup, and prepare for the days ahead. Knowing that attitude is “everything”, taking the time for some attitude adjustment is also part of the year end, New Year’s drill. Clearly we are dealing with the “feelings” that are attached to the realities of life.

During so much of the year we are “in the battle” or pressed by the “tyranny of the urgent”, or up to our ears in the proverbial “alligators” that there is little space to re-position, or redirect. There is little time for course corrections. We are caught up on the moving pathway of getting there, wherever that is, that we don’t look up to see if it is the pathway to success, or the pathway to nowhere. Interestingly, it is often the pathway leading to more of where we have been, rather than the pathway to where we, where God, wants us to go.

During one of our recent Retirement Plan Summits, we were introducing a whole new way to help Retirement Plan Participants begin to visualize what their “future” might look like. We realize this is an important exercise for all of us to do. We sometimes talk about the future, but it is usually devoid of real meaning. We talk about it as “dreaming about the future”. But the dream is cloudy, the connection to reality distant, and the likelihood of being realized, virtually nil.

So what happens next? We put aside the dream, we move on from fiction to reality, leaving the dream either on a hard to reach shelf, or perhaps discarded entirely.

In the last few blogs, our focus has been on exploring the role of “meaning” in our lives. We briefly explored the DNA of Meaning and came to realize what gives meaning prompts action. Action is then energized by our emotions and the action plan is guided by our reason, or thought process.

Clearly, what gives meaning impacts our future. Our connection with, or connection to that “meaning”, is actually a part of what creates the future itself.

5I had lunch today with a friend and we talked about his future. Do he and his wife want to stay in their current ministry position? Return to the mission field? Connect with another mission sending or faith based organization? Become a missions pastor at a church? Or, return to the more secular work environment he left almost 20 years ago?

I was impressed with one of his observations: “Contrasted with how I thought about ministry 20 years ago, regardless of where I go or what I do, it will always be ministry.”

What a great perspective. While explaining this perspective more thoroughly, he physically intertwined his hands and looked up, “It’s all ministry, isn’t it?’ he said. I nodded, “It is.”

When we understand “ministry” in this way, it opens the door to new meanings, to new and additional ways of thinking about our role in God’s great plan. It added a new view of “meaning” for me.

Living Trusted Advice together,


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