(We continue this week with the conclusion of Rod’s article. If you missed last week’s, click here.)
This is when God, in His kindness, is able to show us that there is a better way to live.
Brokenness is the starting point to realizing there must be a better way to live the Christian life. Brokenness is a complete surrender of everything we hold so dear. Brokenness say “Yes, Lord, I will do whatever you want, wherever you want, when you want with all of my resources.. And, oh by the way, I also give up the need to control outcomes, look good, gain achievement and receive recognition. I only want You because there is nowhere else to turn. I want the real You. I want an intimate, sweet and authentic experience of your presence in my soul. Lord, change me!”
When I retired as a technology executive three years ago, I felt God’s call to do something different. I was burned out, deeply in need of renewal, and filled with anxiety. I thought all of this would go away once I retired and served God full time, in a yet to be determined role. I was sure all of my anxiety and dissatisfaction would melt into a pool of joy and satisfaction. However, I slipped into using my old mental framework that had served me well for so many years in the marketplace, which was to work harder. I became Chairman of the Elder Board at my church plus the Interim Executive Pastor. I also was head of Men’s Ministries and Life Groups plus lead two Life Groups. In reality, I was just as stressed out and joyless as I had ever been while in my first half career. I finally realized that doing more for God wasn’t satisfying, and it was killing me.
So I stepped out of almost all leadership and out of desperation, cried out to God for Him to change me from the inside out. I couldn’t change myself. I couldn’t work my way out of this. If anything good was going to come out of my life, He would have to do it. He would have to heal me for I was tapped out.
Slowly He began to show me that seeking Him, resting in Him, waiting on Him, desiring nothing on this earth as much as Him, and enjoying His love is the way to a better life. He empowered me to experience His love when I was dead inside. I discovered that His love is the antidote to the conditional love we have experienced in our homes and workplaces. Instead of fighting for love and acceptance, I asked God to fill my soul with His love – and He did. While reading Psalms one day it dawned on me that the path to joy and satisfaction is to spend extended time in His presence, not 15 hurried minutes before jumping into my day, but lots of time.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
When we truly begin to experience his love in our hearts, we are able to let go of the broken system of achievement and leave the results up to Him. Why? We are already accepted, significant and loved. There is no more work to do to earn His love. Once we finally internalize this truth, we are free to serve from a place of love and joy. Life is all upside after that. Jesus isn’t simply in my life, He is my life. Now my role is to seek Him and let His power and love flow through me. I don’t have to work for it!
It is hard work, however, to stay on this new path. The old system of works and legalistic thinking sneaks back in and pulls hard. My work now is to stay connected to Him, to choose to believe the truth of His love and resist the old, legalistic habit of working for love. Renewing my view of God daily through scripture resets my mind.
At the Halftime Institute, we help our clients discover their calling from God and move to a life of greater joy and significance. How does this really work? We point people to Jesus and encourage an understanding that He lives through us and that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We help our clients slow down, relax and listen so they can find the will of God for their second half.. In fact, it’s His job to make our calling clear to us. Do you believe God has the ability to put into your heart His guidance for the work He has planned for you? Of course He can. However, I believe it starts with brokenness, an acknowledgment that I can’t work for God and that, instead, He has to work through me. It moves on to surrender – a willingness to do whatever He says – and it moves forward from there with an intentionality to spend time alone with Him. This extended time in silence, waiting and talking with Him, resting in Him, letting Him love you, letting Him heal you, will lead to His clear direction. What starts for many Halftimer’s as a Head journey becomes a deep, satisfying Heart journey into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Out of that life will freely flow service that will store up treasures in heaven.