I have to be honest with my readers about my situation. None of these articles are being written from an ivory palace. There’s no abundance here. I am still struggling with the decisions I made years ago. Years of neglecting my family and finances are still causing us problems. My family gets stronger every day, but I caused a lot of problems for us during the bad times.
In the “inevitable sacrifices” article, I wrote about losing it all. I had invested my time and energy into things that didn’t benefit my family. My selfishness and ignorance set us back dramatically. Eventually leading to bankruptcy. We lost our home, a rental house and the business that I spent almost fifteen years developing. We had to start over with nothing.
Our marriage problems forced us to make some very difficult decisions, including moving away and giving up the best jobs we ever had. Starting over took every dime we could scrape together. We are still trying to get back on our feet after three years.
When I write these stories, it’s not easy. I expose my failure regularly, for your benefit. This isn’t me, telling you how much better I am than you are. It’s honest stories of lessons I had to learn the hard way. I am trying to save some families from going down the same dangerous roads we did. Some of it is still too hard to write about. You haven’t even heard the worst parts.
When a man loses his direction an purpose, every decision can be lethal. When he loses sight of what’s most important, it’s easy to become lost. Life becomes pointless. Chasing butterflies and rainbows can quickly steal the best years of your life. Selfish ambitions and desires can ruin you.
We aren’t getting any younger here. Our days need to matter. It’s no fun living with regrets.
I wasted twenty years of my life, years that I can’t get back. Doing things that didn’t matter. Trying to impress people who didn’t matter. Accumulating things that didn’t matter. Ignoring the people and things that do. Yeah. I have some serious regrets about the choices I made.
The comedy of our situation is that I still have hope. In defiance of it all, I have a completely irrational hope that things will continue to improve. Even though bills are late, debts are piling up again and we are still struggling, I have hope. I have seen too many miracles in my life to surrender. I have experienced too many amazing things over the last five years to believe that we will fail. Even when I consider my situation and get frustrated, it doesn’t last long.
I know how much of a miracle my life is.
I have a beautiful and amazing wife. We have four incredible kids. We live in a beautiful city near the beach. Everyone is healthy and happy. Sometimes I have to remind myself of all the good, even when I struggle with the bad. I can’t allow myself to dwell on the frustrations. I know that my life is better than I deserve.
As Christians, we know that we have an eternal hope. We believe in that day when we will have the tears wiped away and our bodies won’t feel pain anymore. We look forward to the promises of eternity, but we can’t let the daily problems cause us to live like we have no hope.
Getting our priorities in line helps. Focusing your energy on the things that matter most solves a lot of problems. Be more concerned with who you are than what you have. Make sure the ones who love you know that you love them.
This morning, I heard a pretty amazing statement. Great men are uncomplicated. Meaning that they aren’t bogged down with irrelevance. They know what matters and have their focus. No drama. Not complaining. Not whining. Not perpetually angry or distressed. Choosing to be happy and content. Choosing to have positive attitudes.
That’s who I want to be. I choose to hold onto my irrational hope.