Uneasy Foundations

I guess in some ways it was easy for me to get serious about finding out who I was, and then going after it – nothing else I was doing was working anyway.  Business was just getting me further into debt and the faltering ecomony made it more difficult than usual to just step into a career.  In many ways I was very blessed to get pushed out of the nest.

In the months following my discussion with my two friends, Maile and I began to see all the ways that our current life was falling apart.  For the first time we did some serious exploring around the structure of our life – lo and behold the foundation was rather sandy.  And shifting.  In fact, it didn’t take much of an inventory to realize the whole freakin thing was about to cave.

That’s what led to the decision, and the drive north, and my revelation about the naming of our fourth child Sam.  I had a few potential clients who wanted me to write books for them, and I thought to myself, maybe this is it.  Maybe this is the jumping off point.

And in the months that I have spent dedicating myself completely to what I believe is my identity, the reason I’m on this planet, I’ve got to tell you: I’ve never been happier, or less stressed, or more content.  It’s not the money (we’ve never made less) and it’s not the stuff (our two minivans have a combined 350,000 miles and our budget has been slashed).  It’s the days, the moments, the evenings.  It’s the commitment that Maile and I have made to stop wasting life, to focus on doing what we’ve been called to do.  There is an immense satisfaction in this.

At this point I have to throw out a disclaimer – the last thing I’m trying to advocate is that people throw their careers or businesses out the window and do whatever they want to do.  I’ve heard a lot of sales pitches, and seen a lot of heartbroken people who jumped without thinking, so I know that there isn’t one path for everybody.  There’s not one plan or sequence or decision that works across the board.

But I’ve also seen too many people out there living their whole lives like it’s one big timecard.  Just punching in and punching out.  If that’s you, I’m not saying you should stop anything (don’t stop working or taking care of your family or paying your mortgage).  But I would say this: START something.

Start doing something that excites you.  Start doing something that your passionate about.  If it’s writing, then write.  If it’s music, then play.  If it’s business, then start something small on the side.  If it’s helping hurting people, then start volunteering.  If you love your career then stop doing things halfway and commit.

I PROMISE you that the more time you spend doing what your passionate about, the more opportunities will come your way, and the more likely it is that someday you’ll be doing that for a living, and not just in your free time, or as a hobby.

I love this quote by Natalie Goldberg from Writing Down the Bones: “I used to think freedom meant doing whatever you want. It means knowing who you are, knowing what you’re supposed to be doing here on this earth, and then simply doing it.”


For the next part of this story, click HERE

For the very first part of this story, click HERE

6 Replies to “Uneasy Foundations”

  1. You are describing my life in all these posts! Ive been trying to catch up because I haven’t read any in about a month, and wow, your story is exactly where Tanya (my wife) and I are at right now. Thanks for these great posts Shawn!

    1. Thanks for reading, Clint. I’ve tried to connect them all through links, but if you have trouble reading them in order let me know.

  2. “the more time you spend doing what your passionate about, the more opportunities will come your way” – thanks again for this encouragement and I’m going to write this down where I can see it often. And your use of the word “identity” is timely too – I’ve been thinking a lot about roles vs. identities and am I living into my identity as a child of God?

  3. It’s refreshing to hear how you are exchanging the American dream for a larger God-inspired dream.

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