Bill – where have you been? Good question.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Great is the art of the beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” Endings are a part of living. If we are going to move into the future, if we are going to grow, something always has to end. If we are going to become who we are meant to be, we must move on. Henry Cloud in his book Necessary Endings writes, “There are relationships that should go away, practices and phases that must be relinquished, and life stages that should come to an end to open up the space for the next one…some things need to die and some things need to be killed…Endings are not only a part of life, they are a requirement for living and thriving…we stay stuck in what should now be our past…endings bring hope.”
The author of Ecclesiastes writes this, “A right time for birth and another for death, A right time to plant and another to reap…a right time to destroy and another to construct…A right time to hold on and another to let go.”
When I stopped blogging it was a season for ending and letting go. I was within ten months of being able to step down from a 13 year stint as a VP of The Navigators. I had requested to be released from the role two years previously, but God made it clear that I needed to continue to serve in that role. I had the direction right, but the timing wrong.
I was becoming increasingly aware of a dichotomy between what I had learned to do and how I was now being shaped by God’s grace…between who I used to be and who I was becoming. The work load was high and increasingly no longer meshing with my motivations. I was and am incredibly thankful for how I had the privilege to serve – and for the privilege of serving with such godly leaders. Teammates who are friends. I had no regrets, but also knew it was time to enter a new phase of life.
Formally I stepped out of my role in August 2011…informally about eight months later. There were projects to finish, an awesome replacement to orient, commitments to keep, etc. In May of 2012 The Navigators gave us the gift of a six month sabbatical…the first one in forty years with the Navs. It was a tremendous gift. It gave us time to deeply rest physically and to deeply restore our souls. We ended with our souls full and journals bursting at the seams…ready for a new future.
Now it is a season for new beginnings. Our role in The Navs will be to continue to lead – but in a very different way. Instead of leading from a “role,” we have the incredible privilege of leading by teaching and mentoring leaders in discovering how the gospel changes everything in their lives and ministry. A key focus will be to help the next generation of leaders to become deeply anchored in the Scriptures…especially the New Testament…not just as a text to be studied, but as the doorway to an unconditional love and unconditional relationship. We will have opportunity to do this both with Nav leaders and leaders in the Body of Christ. And with you. We are living a dream…living out our life’s message and using our core giftings.
Part of new beginnings is beginning to blog again! There is a time for everything. Stay tuned.