Here are my thoughts as I look back on my personal journey this year. Some themes and values have risen to the top. It was a good year.
This year several of my long-term ideas became realities. I saw a book and a movie completed that were a combined 15 years in the making. Good things take time...lots and lots of time. I think about the things I am working on now differently. So much of life is putting one foot ahead of the other...and then when you get pushed back a few hundred steps, starting over again.
I am a passionate fella, but I have felt like I have been operating on a half-tank of passion for the last five or six years. 2010 was the year that I sensed a return of some of the passion that was lost through the trials of my early experiences. I feel more ready for what is next than I have in a long time, especially as it relates to ministry.
This ties into "passion" for me. I am a learner and always have been, but there are seasons when I learn more as life comes at me...and other seasons when I seek to learn more aggressively. The switch was flipped back to a more aggressive learning posture sometime this year. I think this will progress more in 2011. I'm looking into some graduate school options beginning in the fall of 2011.
Improv started as a hobby for me. Then it became a career. Now it is a lifestyle. It has connected mysteriously to my spiritual gifts and personality. I am not speaking about doing comedy gigs in this context - it is much deeper than that. I am learning that I teach and lead best as an improvisor. I have known this for years, but I tend to not say it because it can come off like an excuse for being disorganized or unprepared. This isn't the case. I think for me it means that I must focus more on organizing my life and preparing for situations before they arise. The statement in I Peter 3 has come to mean more to me this year..."always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." My goal as a teacher would be to be able to teach from a Kingdom-context about anything at any moment - to always be prepared. This has come to mean that it is more important for me to prepare myself for a message than to prepare a message for an audience.
I have had some tough years, but this was not one of them. I cannot help but think that this life stage for our family will be looked back on with much joy in the years to come. My kids are growing up, but still kids. As Debbie and I approach our sixteenth anniversary this week I am confronted with the beautiful reality that if I date my life back to my earliest memories - half of it has been as her husband. I'd say that I am a lucky guy, but that seems rather trite and understated. I am humbled to have been given the life I have. I don't deserve it. It is all grace.