6 01 2020


A new year and a new decade came upon me while I was still enjoying the Christmas break. I wish I could have made that magical time last a little bit longer. It was one of the rare moments where Terri and I had all of our kids back home and all of the grandkids were in the house at one time. Because there is never enough of the real deal for me in Cape May County, I had pre-purchased a whole basket of artificial snow plush balls ahead of time for the indoor battle of the ages. Everyone was involved and it was just pure and plain fun to engage in an activity that didn’t involve video gadgets of any kind. There were many more memories to be made as we read books, played games, went on the rides together in Ocean City and experienced lots of laughter during these wonderful days. I wouldn’t have traded any of it for all the gold in Alaska. And that is what I am mostly grateful for when all was said and done. I didn’t miss any of it this time. I was fully present for this glorious gift. If I had to express my biggest regret and frustration over the last decade, it would be how much of life I have missed because of anxiety, depression and the daily battle with the emotional landmines that have decked my halls for way too long.

If I have any victory cry from the last ten years, it would clearly be, “I’m still here.” There were too many close calls along the way that I thought for sure would lead to my swan song. I thought I heard a Fat Lady singing somewhere but thankfully I was mistaken. I came close to throwing in the towel more than once, but I didn’t let it go. I wanted to cry, “Uncle,” but lost my voice just in the nick of time. Because I grasped on to genuine faith in a God bigger than any worldly weapon that attempted to blow my world to smithereens, I persevered. The Lord’s love didn’t fail when my own feeble attempts to gain ground got miserably sacked and my man-made wells got sucked dry. The fact that I’m still standing at all on January 1, 2020 is a miracle in and of itself. As the beloved Apostle Paul once reiterated, “I have been knocked down but not knocked out. I have been crammed in but never crushed. I have flailed and faltered more than once on this path to glory but never failed in not bouncing back up for more fighting on yet another day.” As Yogi Berra said as he was managing my beloved Mets, “It ain’t over until it is over.” There must be a reason that I have lived to play ball another day. So, my New Year’s prayer sounds an awful lot like, “Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play! If I’m still breathing, I’m still begging to be in the game!” But I need to make the necessary personal mental paradigm shift of not telling God what I am going to do but instead to start each day with my life literally being a blank sheet of paper and my only expectation being showing up for duty.

My word for 2020 is ‘Unwritten.” For way too long I have allowed my Type A personality and my over-the-top expectations to actually become a bigger negative than ever being a positive. I’m 60 years old and honestly but inaccurately, I still expect the production of a 30-year-old man from my input and output. When I come out of the chute and pull a hamstring in the 50-yard dash, it is not because I was not prepared, or didn’t generate enough passion, it was more because I was not properly equipped. I need to approach the challenge with the same providential pursuit but not looking to use the same old personnel that I once did. While I might still have the same knowledge of how to play the field, I don’t have the same athleticism and that Is not something to become anxiously depressed about, but better to become godly educated and spiritually suited for.

For the first time in my life, I am committing to paying attention to directions. I am surrendering my just run a hundred miles an hour and figure out things as I go to kicking the transmission into slow and steady. Now that statement alone would be anathema to me in the past but it may well become my mantra in the days to come. I have almost written myself off way too many times along the way of these last ten years. Today, I am asking Jesus not to take the wheel, but to take the pen and script His will into my way from this day forward. This not a negative by any means but more of an accentuate the positive move that must be made to keep me from digging a premature grave.

The brain is a powerful organ. The more I have read about it, the more I have become humbled over how fierce but yet fragile it really is. Maybe multitasking is not a spiritual fortitude to be championed. Perhaps to do one thing and to do it well all the while you are doing it may be more celebrated in heaven than we ever thought it might be. Making wholly eye contact in our daily conversations and staking regular holy heart connection in God’s revelation may be more fruitful than any 100-hour work week ever produced. Could it be running out of ink might have been God’s doing all along the way? Might it be that the best posture of worship that I may muster at this point of my journey is that I don’t bring any writing utensils to the altar at all?

This conclusion is my best introduction into this new year and decade. I’m still here God and I long to serve You with all that I have. I think much of my anxiety has been caused by trying to follow You with the things that I no longer possess. We can’t offer what we don’t own but will we lay down whatever that is left? As I begin 2020, I am saying a resounding, “Yes!” I can’t do much about the words that filled up my pages from 2010 until today, but I am responsible from this day forward so the rest of this story is up to God! Unwritten and unexpected but undeniably undaunted. Ready or not, here we go! What’s God’s word for you?



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