Our choices determine our future. They define what we love, what we will be known for and what we will do with our lives. – Jeff Shinabarger, Yes or No
There are 3 decisions that I have made this year that have impacted the direction and attention in my life.
The Decision To Offer Help
In January every year, I follow the masses into the world of “getting back into shape”. A couple years ago, I realized that doing that on my own was not working, so I decided to invite some friends along for accountability and some fun. I created a workout plan and shared it with my friends over email.
My writing seemed to resonate and finding others to follow along felt like the right next step. So, I walked into a local running shop and offered to help.
It was awkward.
I was out of my comfort zone. I had limited experience. But, to my surprise, the owner happened to be looking for someone to write their newsletter. I’ve been writing once a week for them ever since. The decision to walk into that store altered how I spend a couple evenings a week. It has set me on a path of creative service that I had never considered.
Now, I did not go into that store with a heart to help. I was selfishly motivated to to see if the emails I had been sending to my friends would connect with a broader audience. Once I started connecting with folks in that community my desire to help grew.
As I served them, the desire to serve myself dissipated.
The Decision to Pursue Passion
My daughter loves to dance. She’s in dance class at least 20 hours a week. She dances in the kitchen when she is not in the studio. She follows dancers on social media. She’s always up to date on the latest type of bun you can put in your hair. Dance consumes her and it’s a large part of what makes her unique.
This past year she auditioned and was given the opportunity to attend an out of state arts school…a boarding school. Many factors went in to evaluating this decision…boys, peer pressure, influence, money, safety, education..but ultimately, it came down to giving my daughter permission to pursue her passion in a unique environment at a time that could have the largest impact on either confirming or denying what she loves.
It’s been amazing for her so far. As a parent, I’ve had to grow too. I’ve learned how to give my daughter space and freedom to grow in ways that I don’t think I would have learned without having the physical distance between us.
The Decision to Connect in Community
My wife and I attend Buckhead Church. It’s a huge church in a network of churches throughout the Atlanta area. It’s easy to be anonymous in such a big church. In an effort develop relationships, we decided to get out of the rows on Sunday morning and get into a circle on Sunday evening.
The connection with other people aligned with a common purpose has been fulfilling. I believe we all have a desire to be known and I’ve found that being in a group opens you to a caring network of friends. My guard is down and I am there for them and they are there for me.
In summary, I see a pattern between these decisions.
The Pattern is People
Find something that matters, identify a need, offer to help and bring others together under a common purpose. Align those things and it makes it easy to say yes to an invitation.