Regret comes to those who focus on “influencing” the world while missing out on the blessings that come from devotion to family, close friends, and your community.
From age 19 to 33 my profession was war. Almost fourteen years of my life training for or in combat. Night after night flying in black helicopters to kill or capture the highest value targets in the region. In the early days we’d wake up the next day and find our actions made headlines for global news organizations – sometimes a local villager would be quoted, but never us.
I will not discuss the justness or war in general of my specific thoughts on current conflicts here and now (that may come later). It is impossible to know what world would be like if we hadn’t combated terrorism all those years. Let me just say, I am glad I served – there will never be a day I don’t think about that time in my life. Also, I am glad my friends are still serving, because there is evil that must be confronted albeit far from perfectly. I however, was called to leave that life behind. From an embassy overseas I watched my kids open their Christmas presents back home, and I knew in my soul I was missing something more important.
I had no idea how hard it would be leaving. No more exciting training trips, no more sexy missions, and not more rides on black helicopters. What replaced it was lakes of toddler spilled milk at breakfast time, financial uncertainty as my businesses floundered, and many failed opportunities to be tender to my wife tired from the war of homemaking. There was no Jason Bourne identity to flee to, no headlines about my exploits to inwardly gloat about, just diapers, bills, and so many little people with so many needs. It was then that I realized the significance and impossiblity of the war against my sin. Owning my failures, my pride, my unwillingness to truly serve (and so much more) were now my missions, and everything else would start to fall in place.
The significance of this fight for every person on planet earth is why I’m writing this. My businesses are very profitable, our family rhythms are much more established (despite my flaws) and I have joy in larger amounts than ever before. I want this for you! My hope is to quickly get to the practical. Specific advice about home, education, family, business, being a good citizen – free from abundant but ultimately empty views these topics. There’s lots of theory out there, but very few people truly talking about how they really failed but got better in the trenches of life. I’m still in the trenches, but I’ve charted a path and I think you should join me.