Back in July (2017), I asked, the answer was the very last thing I wanted to hear.
If you know me, you know that being busy, useful, engaged, doing, etc. is what I do. Even at age 73, “retiring” is at the bottom of my list. Speaking, writing, coaching, and consulting for businesses and churches, that’s me, my brand, my image, my life. But on a personal retreat (no tv, fb, email, etc.), I began a two-month long argument with God that went something like this:
“What’s next for me, God?”
“Do you really want Me answer that?”
“Clear the deck.”
“What do you mean?”
“Clear the deck of everything you are doing.”
“Everything? In my business, at church, speaking, writing, coaching, and consulting? Are You serious?”
“Yes. That’s what clear the deck means.”
“That is the most terrifying thing You could ask me to do. If I really clear the deck, I’ll get up some morning with absolutely nothing to prepare for, nothing on my schedule. That will be the most humiliating day of my life.”
“That’s the point.”
For two months, I argued, slow-walked, rationalized, and resisted, but finally in mid-September said, “Okay, I’ll do it.” Since then I have cleared the deck of all my responsibilities at my church, left two boards, wound down activities with clients, declined new speaking engagements and so on. Today is the 2nd day of 2018, and except for a couple of things that have unavoidably slipped into this year, my schedule is clear. I am sitting here without one thing to prepare for (except finish this post). This feels terrible.
Please don’t give me credit for faithfulness or obedience. I have come kicking and screaming to this point. Most people have told me how excited they are for me—I’m not excited. I have no idea what I will do the rest of the day. I can’t go downstairs and follow Dottie around all day. It’s too cold to go to mow the grass (and it doesn’t need mowing anyway). I suppose I can spend the rest of the day watching old John Wayne westerns or napping. Aaagggghhhhh!
Since God has stripped me of doing for Him, I think there is something He wants to do in me. I can be stubborn about that, so it may take a while. I hope not because I’m anxious to load up the deck again. However long it is, I need to trust Him and see it through. So this morning, I finish my conversation with God relying on these two promises:
“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13, ESV)
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV)
I hope “completion” doesn’t take too long.
[This will be my last post for a while except occasional status reports on how clear the deck is going.
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© Copyright 2018 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
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