How God has Shaped Me Over the Past 4 Years

In honor of my 4 year anniversary at work, I am writing a 4-part blog series reflecting on the past 4 years. You can view all of the blog entries here on my website. My first blog entry was “Why I Stepped Down As Senior Pastor” and has gotten a great response. Here’s part 2: “How God Has Shaped Me Over the Past 4 Years.”

A few days ago my wife goes “Do you realize it’s been 4 years? You’ve really grown and developed over that time.” Even though my wife compliments me all the time, this statement felt like it held a lot of weight to it. It meant a lot to me that my wife acknowledge how God has molded me over these past 4 years. So following my theme of “4”, here are 4 ways God has changed my life.

Prioritizing Family Time
So the core of who I am is a “workaholic.” One of the things I value is doing a good job at something, so much I can find myself completely ingrained into a project. When I look at various individuals in my family, I too have seen unhealthy patterns of work habits (sorry family members, it’s in our DNA). What I’ve come to realize is that the most valuable thing I could give to my family is time.

Before I made my career and life change 4 years ago, I did not seem to find time for my wife. My time was so focused on my job and ministry, I did not provide her the time and affection she needed. One of the first choices we made was to focus on growing our marriage. To do that, we started a small group at our new church, focused on giving couples an outlet to deal with their marriages. There was a great need to have a small group for people to discuss marriage issues as a couple. As much as we were providing a ministry to couples, the fact was that this group was more needed for us. We realized that the only way we could mend our relationship was to be intentional for our marriage. We did this for about 2 1/2 years and was greatly challenged by this process.

Another thing we implemented in our marriage was having regular date nights. We started with doing it whenever we could, then moved it to about once a month, and now we’re at once a week (though, we occasionally take a week off here and there to cut down on spending). We go out on Tuesdays, so I always find myself wishing my work day in the afternoon would go faster so we can go out.

Having Healthy Sleep Pattern
This may sound elementary, but I’ve discovered that my body performs well if I get adequate amounts of sleep. I think sometimes we use so many stimulants (i.e. coffee, caffeine) to get us through the day, when in reality we just need to sleep. When I was a Senior Pastor and working at Starbucks I would wake up at 4am and go to bed at 11pm just about 7 days a week! I would drink a latte before my shift, during my 15 minute break, during my meal break, and after my shift. So if we’re counting espresso shots, I was drinking 4-12 per day! When I left the church and Starbucks, I gave up coffee “cold turkey” (largely due to the fact that I could not afford Starbucks anymore). So immediately after our life change, I stopped setting an alarm to wake myself up. For about a year plus, I woke up whenever my body told me to. I didn’t have to be at work at a particular time and our kids were young enough were they didn’t have to go to school. If you can go for an extended time without using an alarm clock, I highly suggest it!

Living A Balanced Life
Balance is so critical to our lives. Over the past 4 years, I really learned the value of balance. In the 4 years at my current job, I can count on 1 hand how many times I worked from home. Once I walk out my office doors, work stays at my desk (even mentally). I try to leave work at 4:30pm-5:00pm everyday so I can be home for dinner. My wife and I attend every school or church function my kids are at together. I make time to hang out with friends. I walk my dog 3 times a day. I go on Daddy Dates with my 2 girls. I watch a set of TV shows with my wife weekly. I read books. I even wrote a book. The point is, balance is everything for a peaceful life..

Memorizing Scripture
I always thought that I would never be able to memorize Bible passages. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I began to intentionally memorize scripture. I wrote a detailed blog about different tools that are helpful awhile back. To date, I have memorized 115 verses, include the entire book of 2 Timothy. Prior to a few years ago, I had only a handful of verses memorized, even being a Christian for my entire life! This has helped me tremendously as the Holy Spirit as used the verses I memorized to prompt me to use them – whether for my own life or when I teach.

Thanks for reading, look for part 3: “How God Has Used Me Over the Past 4 Years” in the next few days!

Part 1: Why I Stepped Down as Senior Pastor
Part 2: How God has Shaped Me Over the Past 4 Years
Part 3: How God Has Used Me Over the Past 4 Years
Part 4: What Will the Next 4 Years Look Like for Me?


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