I chatted with many people last week, from business owners to students, and there was a consistent theme in our conversations: the lack of and desperate need for clarity and direction. I'm not here to tell you how to live your calling, and this blog isn't advocating a DIY kind of life. If anything, I recommend a DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself) life. Instead, do whatever God is calling you to do… with His help. He always calls us to action, but it's action in Him, not in our own strength, that works.
So, here are three things that have helped me 1) establish clarity in my life and 2) clearly define the direction I'm moving in:
1) Dig into the Bible
The Word of God is said to be "the Living Word," the fountain of life and truth. I believe this to be true, and it's amazing how relevant a book written thousands of years ago can be to a person living in the most technologically-advanced culture the world has ever seen. Recently, I've become more disciplined in reading my Bible. It was something I'd struggled with for long enough and realized that my own strength wasn't going to win the battle… as usual.
I've quickly come to realize that it really does breathe life into my heart. And that’s the thing—it’s a matter of the heart, friends. It’s a desire for God that changes us. I regularly pray for my heart to stay soft, act in humility and long for intimacy with God. Reading the Bible is the first thing that drops off of my priority board when I'm crunched for time or running over schedule. It finds its spot on the to-do list but never seems to get checked off.
Rid your vocabulary of the words "I don't have time." This excuse needs to fly like a kite in a thunderstorm. None of us have enough time, but we do choose how we spend it. Allow the Bible to be a priority in your life and watch how God will rock your world. Pray for a heart change. That's something I must do regularly, because I'm indeed a man in need of a soft heart.
2) Learn from Role Models
The people you look up to, the people who live the kind of life you aspire to, should be held dear to your heart. One of the greatest blessings in my life has been having people who are further down the path and more experienced in my areas of interests and passions.
Greg Pampell, a dear friend and influencer in my life for the past five years, has lived a life worth taking note of. Far from perfect, he's lived a sacrificial life of faith covered by the grace of God. I've been able to take feathers out of his cap and arrows out of his quiver in order to walk as a stronger person today. I offer many thanks to this man, who chose to make himself available and invest whenever he could.
Randy and Betsy Garmon have become pillars of wisdom and understanding for Julie and me in our walk as a married couple. They've helped us process many of our struggles. Both creatives and successful in their areas of expertise (check out Randy's work here), the Garmons are life coaches and parents to five talented and uniquely individual children.
Betsy is an artist, teacher and speaker in the Atlanta creative community. You can peruse her writings and artwork here. She's taught me how to process my feelings through art and journaling. This has been a most valuable gift for my intense and often clouded heart and mind. Being able to healthily process my emotions has brought a significant amount of maturity and well being into my life and relationships. It's freed me up to be the engaging and intentional Tony Barwick that I was always called to be.
Julie and I also took two Ecourses written by Meredith Bullock, a creative and business entrepreneur in Nashville, TN. Julie stumbled across Meredith's website before we moved to Cape Town and was inspired by her story and work. Months later, after emailing back and forth with her, we decided to register for two of her courses—Build Your Brand and Unlock Your Creativity. I'll share a few gems with you next week.
3) Journey to the Centre of the World
Journey, not to the centre of the earth, but to the centre of your world. What's the core of who you are? What's your personality composition, and what precisely are you made up of?
After the World Race, Julie worked her way through a book (Storyline) written by Donald Miller, best-selling author and founding director of an organization that helps people live better stories. I saw the subtle changes in her life over a period of a couple months and eventually decided I should give the workbook a bash for myself. It was one of my better moves for personal well-being.
Julie and I believe in the concept of an arrow: sometimes you have to go back in order to go forward.
Storyline facilitated the process of me digging into the depths of my past and helped me see that God has redeemed every negative turn my life has taken. With a redeemed past in mind, I've been able to focus on my ambitions and the life I'm called to live.
I’m not saying you must also work through Storyline, but I am encouraging you to journey inward in order to have an outward impact.
Know who you are, and more importantly, know whose you are. God has given you dreams and aspirations to live out with purpose. A life in Christ is a continuous call to action. What is yours today? Give it some thought.
Next Thursday, we'll dig deeper into the dichotomy of clarity and direction.
Heart to God.
Spread the Stoke.