If you have followed this blog for any length of time in the past, you know that CP4US has experienced seasons of bountiful content as well as seasons of scarcity. This past season of scarcity has surely trumped them all. I believe it’s actually been about nine months since the last post. In light of this fact, I would like to say a few words to explain why this has been the case and then apply what I hope will be some helpful counsel from my own story to your life and ministry .
As many of you know, just over a year ago, my family had the privilege to adopt a little boy from Ghana, West Africa, named Joshua. Though there have been many wonderful moments, it is also fair to say that this is been one of the most difficult years of our lives.
By most standards, Josh and our family have both adjusted well. However, we have also encountered numerous challenges on various fronts. For the sake of both space and the appropriateness of disclosure in a forum like this, I will refrain from going into too much detail. Let me simply reiterate that it has been one of the most challenging years of our lives and trust that you can fill in the gaps accordingly.
Because this was true, over the past year, something had to give.
Blogging was what I chose.
I want to tell you why this was the case because I think my story could actually serve some of you. Perhaps many of you.
When I think about the things God has called me to – and the priority that each element must take – I organize my responsibilities in the following order:
- Writer/coach/content developer
Though something may change later, these are the current “roles and responsibilities” that describe me in this season of my life. When I keep these priorities in this order, my life “works.” I believe that God is glorified, my wife, family and church are well served, and I maintain a sense of gospel joy. When I get them out of order, everyone and everything around me suffers. Like most of you, I have seen many seasons of both balance and imbalance in these areas. Sadly, I have also seen a few other things as well.
I have seen some of my heroes and mentors crash and burn. I have seen some men become high-output leaders and writers but become strangers to their wives and children. I have seen some men rise from obscurity to prominence only to fall into shame.
Simply put – I don’t want to become one of those guys.
- I don’t want my sons to grow up and say “He helped a lot of church planters and grew our church but he was never there for me as a dad. I don’t want to be like him.”
- I don’t want my daughters to say (through their behavior) “He wrote some helpful sermons and resources, but my boyfriend and a life of rebellion offered me affirmation and encouragement my dad never did.”
- I don’t want my wife to say, “He was always helping someone else but he never had time to help me.”
In an attempt to prevent these things from happening, in this season, I just couldn’t do it all. Something had to give and it did.
And I don’t regret it.
Now, let me be clear. I am not writing this post in hopes of sneaking in a pixellated “humble brag” or generate a bunch of tweets about what a great guy I am. I’m also not writing this in judgment of any other brother who is doing all of these things with excellence all at once. Those men are out there. I know some of them and am regularly encouraged by their ministries. What I am simply hoping to accomplish here is that through the telling of my own story, you would examine your own.
Perhaps these questions could help:
- Are you crystal clear about what the Lord has called you to do? Is it written down anywhere? If not, why not?
- Are your priorities “in order?” If not, what is out of place or balance?
- If things are out of order and balance, why is this the case? What particular idols are you serving in the process (misplaced identity, pride, comfort, etc.)?
- How would your wife answer these questions about you? (Really.)
- How would your children answer these questions about you? (Really.)
- How are you bringing the Bible and Gospel to bear in these areas to pursue Gospel growth?
Brothers, I KNOW that I am not the only man who has been (or is) in this situation.
I am also thankful to say that, by God’s grace, I think we have turned some important corners in our home and we are reaching a status of renewed stability and homeostasis. In light of that progress, I hope it leads to more regular blogging.
I also hope this blog post has helped you ask some difficult questions and work toward some helpful conclusions. Toward that end, I would also encourage you to make this a point of conversation with your wife and leadership team on a regular basis as well. It’s not a “set it and forget it” kind of pursuit.
Finally, if I can be a help to you personally, I would love to do so. I talk to pastors and planters all the time about these kinds of issues. In fact, as part of my coaching ministry, in addition to a lot of practical mentoring, these are the kinds of thing we discuss in a coaching relationship. I currently have 5 openings for new coaching relationships this fall and would love to talk to you about filling one of them if I can help.
If you are interested in coaching or finding out more about it click HERE
or direct message me on Twitter @dustinneeley.
In the meantime, know that I love you, am praying for you and wish you the absolute best for both your lives and ministries.