Stop. Reflect. Redirect.

Seasons change—summer, autumn, winter and spring. (Here in Cape Town, we may experience all four in a single day!) Moving from one season into the next can be exhausting. A year can go by, and if we don’t keep our fingers on the pulse we can easily find ourselves asking how we got where we are and questioning if we even want to be there.

Seldom, we take a moment to come to a standstill and, as my friend Mandla said while meeting this week, “reflect and redirect.” We must take time to reflect on our experiences and redirect our paths according to the call God has on our lives. 

Life has its way of pressing in on us from all sides. Like Rocky Balboa said, “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows.”

I remember playing a game when I was a kid. We'd bend over just enough to touch our foreheads to the end of a hockey stick (my wife tells me Americans use baseball bats), spin around 20 to 30 times, and then scramble 20 feet to try kicking a ball into a goal. All who participated in the game rarely kicked the ball. And if they did, they never ever hit the goal.

Stay with me here...

It’s easy to get off track (confused and dizzy) when “good opportunities" come our way and to get caught up in the whirlpool of hot and cold living.

One minute, we're pursuing a lifelong dream and the next, we're off chasing a good opportunity that ultimately takes us further away from our desired destination. But when we're focused on our given purpose or calling, it’s easier to say auf wiedaschaung (German), poka (Russian), sala hantle (Sesotho), ha det bra (Norwegian) or goodbye to open paths that, to our natural eyes and the eyes of society alike, seem like the way to go. 

Fear once drove me to the pursuit of financial gain. One of many contributing factors was that I needed money to execute the dream and vision God had put on my heart. This is true; I did need money, but God taught me very quickly that if I was going to live His way I must trust in His provision (come on somebody). So, I stopped. I assessed the season I was in and the direction I was headed. I resigned from my job as a diamond diver, and by God's grace, my life took off in the direction that it should’ve been headed in from the start.

Thankfully, Christ redeems all paths walked by wandering sinners.

Over the past year I've embarked on a journey through the good, the bad and the bloody terrible of Tony Barwick. I was tired of surface level living and, as my good friend Daniel would say, "settling for the cheap stuff." So I made a determined decision to dig deeper. The outcome? I'm learning more and more about how life in Christ is unlimited and that my God’s provisions are endless (Matthew 6:33-34).

Here are three shortfalls that hindered me from stopping, reflecting and redirecting my path sooner: 

Pride: I knew it all. I was wise enough and didn’t need to seek counsel. I deserved security in every form. 

Selfishness: It’s all about me. When I was deep in the whirlpool, it was easier to make life about me, not about those I left in the wake of my mess.

Fear: Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of criticism. Fear has many faces and many ways it controls. Fear paralyzes. We all suffer with fear, but how we deal with it is what counts. “It’s nasty. It’s everywhere. And it’s killing your dreams. Not to mention God’s.” –Carey Nieuwhof (Read more of Nieuwhof's blog here.)

OK, I really need your attention now...

A life that's not reflected upon begins to look like that childhood game I used to play. You run around in circles 20 to 30 times... and you never end up reaching your goal. 

Stop. Reflect. Redirect.

Heart to God.
Spread the Stoke.

Tony

Mandla and me heading out for a casual paddle at Muizenberg in June 2013.