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Posted by Todd Halunen on

Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”

Mark 6:31

Over the years I have read what people have written in the Lenten devotionals. It’s always so enlightening to me reading all the wisdom that is shared and the stories of both love and heartache. But I’ve often wondered if I would have something to share that would be worth reading. I don’t know the Bible well, I don’t participate in small group studies. Frankly there are days I don’t live a very Godly life. My area of expertise, my work, is not necessarily all that interesting. What I’ve decided is I can share with you this: never to confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only part of the first. But the truth is I often have. Somewhere along the way I made my work more important than my life, my real life, the life God intended for me and has put into my heart and into my soul. At work we never talk about the soul, that sense of identity no one else has, but we talk a lot about tasks, and deadlines, and plans. John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans.” It’s so true. We live in a society that encourages us to dwell on what it means to have a great career and a multipage resume, but leaves us hanging when it comes to how to cultivate an inner life, a soulful life. Anna Quindlen said it so well when she wrote, “It’s easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit.” How profound. But a large bank account or a wall full of honor awards is little comfort when the test results come back and the news is not so good.

So my devotional is a challenge to you, at age 10 or at age 90, to seek out the life God intended you to live. Many of you may be exactly where you are supposed to be, but maybe don’t know it. God may have you on a path that is different than the path you have in your head. But I can promise you this, if you look, it is in your heart.

I have committed to developing my eulogy virtues that nurture my soul and not my resume virtues, the ones that list my work-related skills and awards. Eulogy virtues are what get mentioned at your funeral, the ones that exist at the core of your being – whether you were kind, loved your neighbor as yourself, had good moral character, gave without receiving, loved without it being returned, forgave but was not forgiven, and that you lived a real life, a passionate life. It’s obviously permissible and necessary to have a professional life; the challenge is how to cultivate real relationships outside of work. Can you prioritize whether you really need to send that email or can it wait until tomorrow so you can go home to dinner, or can you say no to a promotion because it moves you further from your real life goal rather than closer to it.

I want to leave you with some parting thoughts while you are contemplating how to live your real life: Learn to stop and smell the roses. Be OK with good enough or better yet with just enough. Learn to love what is and go inside yourself to find the gift of happiness God placed in you. You don’t need a degree or have your professor or boss help you find that; it is within you. When driving and you see a sunset, stop, and just look at the view. Breathe… ...just breathe. Seek out real relationships. Be a friend, a good friend. Send money without signing the card to someone you know who lost their job, expressing how much you care for them and how much God cares for them. Seek out your soul, the soul that only you own. Nurture it and by doing so you are honoring God. Be courageous and be fearless about asking God to help you find it and don’t be anxious about anything because if what you ask for is truly noble and right, God will grant it in your life, your real life.

Prayer: Dear God, forgive me when I don’t acknowledge the opportunities You present to me in being the father, husband, son, brother, friend, work partner, and neighbor You intend me to be. Thank You for letting me be enough some days and remind me to be OK with it. Thank You for your Son’s ultimate sacrifice so I can live a life of faith and honor You by finding the courage to continue seeking out the life You designed me to live. In Your name I pray, Amen.