They say you need a WHY in whatever you are pursuing. Something that will keep you going even when you don’t feel like it. I’ve been searching for my WHY---not all those readily apparent reasons, or the expected ones, but the one that is deeply personal, that burns deep down inside. The big one that is tied to who you are. The one that fuels all the others
My journey to the core of myself
I have fully entered the second half of my life. I will live it with more maturity and wisdom but with less strength and vitality than the first half. Emotionally and spiritually, I am stronger. Physically and mentally, admittedly I am not.
My Why? What originally woke me up to “doing something” was the fact that we were not going to have enough money for retirement. We had put our heads in the sand for a long time, and it was catching up with us.
As double income earners with grown kids, we were out of debt and stable. But we did not have enough set aside for retirement. To make it worse, in an effort to start bettering our financial situation, we took a few courses, got with the “experts” and made what appeared to be some safe investment choices. Now on the other side of a Ponzi Scheme and the economic downturn of 2008, we know that they obviously were not “safe.”
Retirement loomed closer and now we had debt. Our bottom line was not as pretty as it had been.
Then I had an encounter with God a couple of years ago in a way I never had before. He told me He was “gifting” me at “creating wealth.” It was a profound, life-changing moment. I knew by the conversation that He meant He was gifting me at helping His people create wealth. This was His heart for them. It was easy for me to see that a world full of wealthy people who had His heart could change the world for good. Money is influence. Money gets things done. Money brings choices and opportunity.
Money is also scary. Doesn’t money corrupt? Money brings power. Power corrupts. I wasn’t sure I really wanted this job. Actually I didn’t want this job at all. I liked being a pastor. This didn’t seem as noble. Business? Really? But I couldn’t really say no to God, could I? Not after a lifetime of saying “Whatever You want me to do” prayers. And certainly not after such a personal encounter that ended with, “And I want you to partner with Me in this.”
And what is pastoring anyway? I always thought it was loving people really well. That had always been important to me and showed itself in my career pursuits—first as a Marriage & Family Therapist, then as a Police Officer. Now as an Associate Pastor in a church, running a team of volunteer “pastors” whose entire ministry is set up to respond to people in crisis.
Yes, coincidentally, He has spent the last few years totally transforming that ministry. No longer do we bandage up the wounded. Now we’re all about empowering people in crisis to connect with God through thanksgiving, letting Him bandage their wounds directly.
Could it be that pasturing people is really about empowering them to live life to the fullest, no matter where they find themselves? Could it be that instead of a handout, we give them the tools and opportunity to crawl out themselves to gain strength and skills and confidence in the process—creating a personal story of empowerment rather than dependence? Instead of a handout, we open a door (hope) and then equip them to pursue it?
My WHY . . . I could be pursuing what I am because God told me to. Ultimately, yes, my WHY is all about that, but just being obedient to a calling is not what stirs passion in this for me. In fact, it stirred resistance. He told me He was anointing me to do it and then left me there with no road map. He instantly went about working on things in my head and heart! How I felt about money. How I felt about wealth. Fears I had. Judgments I had. Lies I believed.
But where were the tracks to run on?
Ultimately, He led me to “The WHY that makes me cry” as they say.
In that process of shifting my thinking, He showed me that my life didn’t match who I was. I was unable to live a life that was true to what was in my heart because of limitations of money.
If I could live without money being a factor, I would travel and see friends and family I cannot currently afford to go see. There are limitations of money and accrued vacation time. My parents are getting older (in their 80’s now) and so are my grandchildren—one will graduate and leave home in just a couple of years. Both family members and close friends are having many life experiences that I cannot share because of distance, requiring more of that limited time off and money.
If I had no limitations, would I go to all of the things my heart has longed to go and do? I don’t know, because the limitations made it pointless to think about. There was no choice. Where there was room for choices, they had to be sorted through, and limited only to the most crucial.
I’ve seen money and health limit the choices of others. I’m watching my friends unable to do what they long to do because of money. I’m watching too many friends living compromised lives—barely above broke and unhealthy. Lots have given up. They live resigned. Some have even died—way before they should have.
So my “Why that makes me cry?” I know I need money for retirement, but that doesn’t make me burn with the passion needed to do something differently. That just lands in the “should” drawer that never seems coupled with much motivation.
I want to live this second half of my life to the fullest. I want to be healthy—inside and out. I want to be beautiful—inside and out. I want to live a life full of love and creativity. I want to have no limitations.
I want to be able to do everything God puts in my heart to do, without being limited by money or health.
And I want to help others do the same.
That is the short and simple of it.
That is my WHY.
He has shown me it was in there all along. He just had to help me find it.