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It Is Never Too Late

It Is Never Too Late

I enjoy breaking myths — especially ones that tend to hold us back the most.

The one I want to address today is: You’re too late.

Sometimes this one also takes the forms of “You’ve missed your window” or “You’re too old.”

In this blog I feel  I don’t talk about faith as much as I should. Today, however,  I’m going to open that window — the window I don’t open nearly enough in my writing.

[shareable cite=”John Eldredge”]Eternal life has already started.[/shareable]

John Eldredge, author of Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authoritypoints out to us in his writings that, for people of the Christian faith, eternal life isn’t something that starts when we die. In fact, eternal life has already started.

Let that sink in for a moment.

You will never die.

Of course, the body you now have will not make the transition to eternal life. The bonus here though is that you get a new body, one that doesn’t get sick or wear down.

What does this mean for the life that you’re living now?

This is a total test run.

If life so far has not given you the opportunity to live out your greatest hopes and desires, I have great news for you – you’re going to have plenty of time!

In fact, you’re going to have forever.

[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]You are Never Too Old to Start![/shareable]

  • If you tried to start a business and failed
  • If you tried writing a book that never got published
  • If you designed a program that never caught on
  • If you wanted to have kids but couldn’t
  • If you wanted to buy a house but couldn’t
  • If you kept getting passed over for a promotion
  • If you didn’t have a good childhood
  • If you felt invisible
  • Unloved
  • Unqualified

I have great news!

  • You will have the business you’ve always wanted
  • You will publish the book and it will be widely read
  • The program you want to design will catch on to greater effect
  • You will get to feel the joy of having kids
  • You will live in a house you could never possibly imagine
  • You will no longer be ignored for your talents
  • You will be promoted and have amazing authority
  • You will feel the joy of a child who has a caring Father
  • You will be widely known
  • Loved
  • Well-qualified

Is it too late to start moving towards your dreams? Is it too late to start taking the steps you felt were long out of your reach?

Absolutely not!

Start today.

Get a head start. Develop your skills.

Deal with your demons.

You’ve seen the bumper sticker “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

Does it feel too good to be true?

“Too good to be true” is exactly what you get when you’re living in the Kingdom.

[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]Buckle your seat belt. It’s going to be a great ride![/shareable]

Are You Ready for a Larger Story?

Are You Ready for a Larger Story?

You were made for something more!  Down deep most of us know this.  We get a sense of it when we go to the movies or we feel our hearts tug as we read a good story.  It comes as a haunting voice that we can hear only when we slow down long enough to listen.

We want to be the hero.  We want to have adventure in our lives.

The good news is that there is plenty of adventure out here for those who seek it.

An epic story started thousands of years ago, and now you have a vital role to play.  We need you.

Your New Identity

For many of us pursuing our best selves means trading in our current jobs in favor of self-employment.

We leave behind the identities we formed during the 5 years we spent in engineering, the 10 years we spent in accounting, or the 20 years we spent in HR.

The “sensible” thing to do would be to continue what we learned at our employer.  If you worked in accounting, then become self-employed as an accountant.

But most of us don’t want to do the sensible thing.

When I talk to people who have left corporate America they are not continuing their old roles.  Often they shed the accountant or HR title for something like chef, app developer, or even guitarist.

People sometimes choose a path that you might think was for the younger crowd.  I’ve known plenty of people who want to go on the road — at age 40+!  Some as public speakers, some as workshop leaders.  Others want to start their own ministry.

Our hearts don’t always lead us to do what is sensible, but following the heart is often great medicine.

[Tweet “Following your heart is the best thing you can do.”]

We Need You

Please know that without you, our world slows to something less than perfect.

  • Apsiring chefs, we need the new dish that you will cook.
  • Authors, we long to hear another great story.
  • Dancers, we love to watch you.

When you hold in your gifts, when you play small, it does no one any good.

You inspire us to take our own first steps towards greatness.

Let your light shine!

We you realize that living from your gifts and calling enables and inspires others to do the same, it gives you even more encouragement to continue on your path.

 Your Adventure Awaits

Over the years I have come to realize that the thrill of being self-employed doesn’t come from being my own boss.  The thrill comes from stepping into uncharted waters.

I remember when my wife and I were first married, and she would say, “Let’s go hiking and have some adventures!”  Several hiking trips later I realized that “adventure” does not always mean “fun” or “safe”.

Be prepared my fellow traveler — if you seek self-employment, you will have plenty of adventures.  I can’t guarantee they will be fun, and most of them are far from safe.

[Tweet “There is plenty of adventure out here for those who seek it.”]

[reminder]What is the larger story that you feel called into? Continue the conversation on facebook, twitter, or linkedin.[/reminder]

1 Reason Failed Plans Can Be Your Biggest Rescue

1 Reason Failed Plans Can Be Your Biggest Rescue

It is snowing.

A lot.

In this part of the country that much snow means trouble.

All we can do at this point is weather the storm.

Which means a lot of sitting.

And waiting.

There are plenty of other things I could be doing today. Productive things. Work-related things.

While my only choice is to dial down my angst, part of me secretly loves times like these. Times where my plans get interrupted; times when all I can’t go 90 miles an hour.

When I stop moving for too long, I really start to take stock of my life.

This been such a rescue for me in the past. These sitting and waiting times have saved me from continuing down a road I shouldn’t have been on. A wrong turn that I was trying to solve by going faster.

I imagine you’ve had times like this too. Times when you were…

  • traveling for work, and get stuck in a massive delay at the airport.
  • waiting for a tow truck to pull you out of a ditch.
  • stuck in the waiting room of the quick-change oil change place that has had your car for over an hour.

These are great opportunities for reflection, and sometimes I suspect that God arranges moments like these to slow us down, to get us out of our usual frenzied pace.

Then, and perhaps only then, do we ask ourselves the most dangerous question we will ever ask ourselves:

What am I doing here?

The reason this question is so dangerous is because the answer has the potential to up end our lives.  Daring to ask that question could lead us to all sorts of other wild places such as the desires of our heart, and how we could have abandoned them so long ago.

If we ask that dangerous question we could also start to think about our calling, and if there even is such a thing as having a purpose, and if so, how we can find it.

And then we begin to realize that yes, there is such a thing as a calling. We begin to see people living from their purpose, and we begin to want that in our own lives as well.  We forgive ourselves for taking the wrong turns, we forgive ourselves for our former misplaced priorities. We begin to see our way out of the fog.

The next time you find that life has hit your pause button, and you are not going to catch the flight, or get your car back, or do anything that was on your list for that day, take a few minutes… no…take an hour to sit with this question: “What am I doing here?”

If you stay with it, I promise you, answering that question will lead you on more adventures that you can possibly imagine.

[feature_box style=”12″ only_advanced=”There are no title options for the choosen style” alignment=”center”]

When I let my wife proofread this article, she said I needed to follow it up with some practical how-to behind my suggestion. So, here it is…

Here is one exercise I put together that will allow you to start working toward your future right now.  I hope you enjoy it.[/feature_box]

Click to Start Exercise

1 Reason it Takes so Long to Get What You Want

1 Reason it Takes so Long to Get What You Want

I like to read a chapter or so just before going to sleep.  Usually I read a book with spiritual content, and listen to hear if God has something to say to me.

Lately I have been wrestling with the snail’s pace that certain areas of my life seem to be moving.  I have a tremendous desire to just get on with it, to press forward so I can see some results.

I go back to God quite often to check in, to see if I’m still on the right path.  I often do this checking by reading the works of others to see if something resonates with me.

A paragraph that I read last night is one that I have probably read a dozen times, but this time it jumped out to me.  It was so profound that the book itself might as well have spoken audibly.

And so the first command comes first. God tells us to love him with all our hearts and all our souls, all our minds and all our strength. It’s not a burden but a rescue, a trail out of the jungles of desire. When we don’t look for God as our true life, our desire for him spills over into our other desires, giving them an ultimacy and urgency they were never intended to bear. We become desperate, grasping and arranging and worrying over all kinds of things, and once we get them, they end up ruling us. It’s the difference between wants and needs. All we truly need is God. Prone to wander from him, we finally need all sorts of other things. Our desire becomes insatiable because we’ve taken our longing for the Infinite and placed upon finite things. God saves us from the whole mimetic mess by turning our hearts back to him.

– John Eldredge, Desire, (2007) pg 176.

Of course!  How many times have I heard the verse “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4, ESV)?  Probably well over a hundred.

It sounds so good doesn’t it?  Like one of those promises you see on a desktop calendar.  The problem is that I just never found it true for me.  Sure, I think God is great and all, but I don’t see Him giving me “the desires of my heart.”

I had to come to grips with one brutal fact: I had entered God into a popularity contest.  Yes, God is great in my life, but when it comes to the matters of the heart, can I really say that God is first in my life?

Deep down I really just want to rely on myself and my drive to get through all the tough spots.  I don’t really want to throw myself at anyone’s feet to ask for help.

But this is precisely the crux of the issue.  It really is about our recognizing that we are dependent upon Him.

What never hit me until I read this paragraph last night was that once we decide that God really is all we need in life, once He has the place as the true head of our lives, only then is it safe for God to give us the desires of our heart.

If He gave us our desires without His having the proper place in our lives, then our career or our children or our hobbies could begin to own us.

1 way to ‘Seize the Day’ all year long

1 way to ‘Seize the Day’ all year long

In the late 80’s Robin Williams starred in a brilliant movie titled, Dead Poets Society.

The movie was almost solely responsible for reviving the phrase Carpe Diem (Seize the Day). In a brilliant scene early in the movie, Williams, portraying teacher John Keating, takes his class into the hallway for a brief lesson on the importance of life.

He leads them to the trophy case where each boy from this elite preparatory school stares blankly at fading black and white photos from athletes in their glory days, trophies from long-ago victories sit tarnished behind glass. Keating implores the boys…

They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

seize the day

That scene itself is enough to make a person drop everything and go climb a mountain. It is the best of feel-good moments. And here, my friends, is where we need to have our heads clear on one very important thing.

It is just one moment.

You may have started down a new path full of excitement, ready to make things happen. Then, some months or years into it, you find that everything has just gone…sideways. Maybe it is your health. Your aging parents. Your adult children. A situation at work.

We will need more than just one moment to sustain us.

A more sustainable way to seize the day

As we stand in our own hallway, looking at an empty trophy case were our dreams should be, a pithy one-liner from a desktop calendar just won’t make everything better.  The best movie in the world will only last us a few hours.

In my 20’s, my orientation was all about filling my trophy case with a good job and an important title. Sure, I was able to put my share of achievements in the case, but as I moved through my 30’s, God upended all that. It was my personal Great Purge.

In my early 40’s I regained my composure.

[callout]”Seize the day” is now replaced with “living well”.[/callout]

I’m realizing now that my motivation isn’t coming from what I think I can become, or from a fear of not reaching my potential.

My motivation now comes from the contributions I can make, using the gifts I have been given, for the people God sends me.

It is not so much an all-out push to seize the day as it is an intentional seeking of living well inside my design. I am completely free to be who I am which frees me from acting like someone I’m not. No more striving.

The Great Purge, as miserable as it was, gave me far more resolution than I could have ever gained through a book or some “developmental assignment” at work.

What better thing can you do for your career, your sanity and for your family than to live from the design you were given, walking step by step with the One who designed you?

Finding Your Voice – The Introduction

Finding Your Voice – The Introduction

The Key to Your Life – In Three Chapters

There those few lucky ones among us who are born knowing what they want to do in life.  For the rest of us, we get to work out this puzzle like doing longhand division — it takes time.

  • Chapter 1 – Discover Who You Are
  • Chapter 2 – Discover the range of work that calls to you
  • Chapter 3 – Pick something in the range and go for it

But First, An Introduction

All good books have an introduction.  For the faith-based among us this introduction is your getting connected to your Creator.  Ask Him why you are here.  Ask Him why He created you.  Don’t stop asking until you have an answer.  Some people stick with this question for only a few hours until they get an answer.  For others it may take years before they get an answer.  Keep pressing.  This is the best time you could possibly spend.

You can hear an answer in a number of ways.  See if any of the following pertain to you:

  • A particular magazine, book, or TV show “speaks” to you.
  • Your friends say that you are good at a particular skill or particular range of skills.
  • You get a great sensation in your “heart” when thinking about a certain job or career.
  • You feel that you identify with the main characters in a movie.

For more on a faith-based approach to learning who you are, see It’s Your Call by Gary Barkalow.  This is perhaps the single best book I have ever read on the topic of calling.  You will also want to take a look at Wild At Heart by John Eldredge, in particular, chapters 1 through 3.

In upcoming articles I will unpack key milestones in chapters 1, 2 and 3.