by | Jan 11, 2024 | Faith, Health, Leadership, Ministry Leader, Pastor, Surrender

It’s a tradition to take the first blog of the year to reflect on the biggest lessons learned in the previous year. These are indelible takeaways I aspire to carry forward into 2024.

Indelible Lesson 1:  Refuse to put God in a box

Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” One of the biggest lessons for me in 2023 was: Don’t limit God. Don’t say no for Him.

Now it’s important to remember I have limitations. But God does not. My limitations do not limit Him, nor what He intends to accomplish through me. In fact, my limitations are invitations for Him to do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine. 2023 has been an Ephesians 3:20 kind of year for us. Can I encourage you today to stop telling God what He can’t do in you and through you? Refuse to put Him in a box.

Indelible Lesson 2:  To move forward, you must let go of something

2023 has been a year of multiple surrenders for me.

  • Personal surrender – Letting go of some grudges I didn’t know were buried deep in my soul. And . . . letting go of deep grief over significant losses experienced in 2022. Jesus made it clear I needed to let go of the season of lament I was experiencing.
  • Professional surrender – Over the past two years God has blessed us with growth I never thought possible. Riding shotgun with that growth has been the need to let go of many things I’ve had my fingers on since the inception of Converge Coaching. Items large and small. Items strategic and tactical. If I don’t let go, and focus on fewer things, our team cannot move forward.

What are those things for you? What have you been clinging to in your private life that keeps tripping you up? In your professional life that keeps you from your most important responsibilities? To move forward, you must let go of something.

Indelible Lesson 3: Finding convergence requires steps of faith, sacrifice, and consistency

Terry Walling: “Convergence involves the coming together of “who” God has shaped an individual to be and a sense of “for this I was born. It’s the time when all of whom a Christ-follower is meets what God has assigned him or her to do.”

  • Steps of Faith (Risk) – More people play it safe in life than take calculated risks. And so . . . many people never find that amazingly fulfilling place in life where they know they’re doing precisely what God has put them on planet earth to do. But those who do take appropriate risks live a great life!

Converge Coaching has been a faith operation from its inception. And as each year goes by, God asks us to take more steps of faith. When I was in the business world this mantra was popular: “Low risk . . . low reward. High risk . . . high reward.” Now I’m not encouraging stupid risks today. But I am encouraging you to take God-inspired risks . . . and His variety of risks will often scare you!

  • Sacrifice – We won’t get to live and work in the intersection of our passion, pain, and proficiency without giving something up. We happily took a 50% pay cut to follow God’s lead when we launched the company in 2013. But to survive, we sold our house, sold a car, and rearranged our lifestyle. Again, we were happy to do it. If you’re serious about finding convergence, it’s going to require some level of sacrifice.
  • Consistency – Most pastors who experience fruitful ministry have been at their post for at least seven years. They’ve put in the work, whether they felt like it or not, whether they saw immediate impact or not. They stuck with it because they understand they have a calling. They understand getting to the end zone is not a broad jump . . . It’s choosing the right behaviors hour by hour, day by day, week by week, and staying at it, even when we don’t see immediate fruit from our labor. A huge part of success and fruitfulness is simply showing up consistently and giving your best effort.

Indelible Lesson 4: Don’t toy with your health

In October of 2023 I had my second bout with Covid. Along with physical symptoms, this episode also carried with it mental/emotional strain. Here is what led up to it: Extra travel, high-energy-demand events, several stretches of multiple long days in a row. And along with it . . .  the not-so-surprising neglect of friendship, fun, and emotional tank-filling activity.

I was taking my day off regularly, but it wasn’t delivering the usual refreshment. Sleep was erratic. I was experiencing all the warning signs that something was wrong . . . but I thought to myself, if I just push through this season, I can rest later. I forgot that I cannot ignore my limitations for very long without paying a price. And so not only did Covid knock on my door. Anxiety/depression also paid an unwelcome visit.

It’s as though God allowed me to taste those two twin evils again as a reminder that they’re still real and are forces needing to be reckoned with preventively. I relearned in 2023 that I cannot play with my mental and emotional well-being. The road back to health is a harder road than staying healthy in the first place. Playing Russian Roulette with my health is not an option for me. It is a matter of obedience. I must be diligent with:

  • My calendar – daily hard edges; weekly day off; etc.
  • My friendships
  • Exercise
  • Reintroducing fun into my life.

The indelible four lessons from 2023?

  1. Refuse to put God in a box.
  2. To move forward, you must let go of something.
  3. Finding convergence requires steps of faith, sacrifice, and consistency.
  4. Don’t toy with your health.

It is my hope these four indelible lessons will help you today. Encourage you today. Challenge you today. Here’s to a healthy, joyful, and productive 2024!

Rooting and praying for you,