Illustration Through Autobiography

I lived a pointless and meandering life for over a decade. I blindly stumbled into excellent opportunities that minimally sustained me without significantly benefiting me (and in several instances I experienced severe harm).

It began before I left high school. Although it is generally good advice to apply to multiple programs, I applied to only one college (one I was lucky to get into). Beginning with my first day of class I managed to do only one thing well- sleep through almost all my classes the first two years.

While at UNC-Wilmington I had an excellent opportunity to work as a fireman (in exchange for which I obtained a free room at the local fire station). Of course I squandered this too with a half-buttocks attempt at learning the requisite skills due to my focus being in all the wrong places (mostly on the attractive women at the beach).

It was during this period that I came to the Lord and was baptized in the inter-coastal waterway.  I thought my life would change, I told myself I was going to change, but I didn’t commit and all my good intentions feel by the wayside.

During the end of my sophomore year I left my intern position with the fire department behind (at the same time ( also quit going to church) and moved right across the street from campus. There I cleaned up my act a little academically and managed to drastically improve my G.P.A. and stay awake through my class. But truth be told I only went from doing nothing to something- but something wasn’t all that much.

When it came time to graduate I applied for only one law school. Not only was I lucky enough to get accepted, but I was accepted with a $17,000/year scholarship. When I arrived there I promise myself things would be different. But only a few weeks into the program I was the same person I had been in undergrad. I spent the remaining three years alternating between paying little attention (doodling in my law books) and studying like mad a week before finals. While this method allowed me to graduate in the top 25% of my class it also led to a severe digestive illness that caused me to lose thirty pounds in about forty days.

You see where this is going? Due to my own thoughtless-ness I squandered every opportunity that came my way, and missed countless opportunities that might have existed had I applied myself. I could tell you more stories, but I think you get the gist of this story.

Looking back I can only wonder what might have been had I thought through some of these major crossroads in my life- much less the everyday decisions. While I am powerless to change the past, I am now committed to ensuring that the same failures don’t sabotage my future success.

Introducing The Deliberate Life

The deliberate life is a journey. The journey begins when you decide that a life of pointless wandering has led you into a place you would rather not be; when you decide to live your life accountable to God; and when you begin living a life marked by conscious decisions- in opposition to thoughtless meandering.

The deliberate life is rooted in our recognition that alone we are insufficient- that nothing inside of us can accomplish the things in our lives that we only dream of. Moreover, the deliberate life is a recognition that our goals themselves are worldly and naturally out of line with God’s will for our lives. So the key is lining up our dreams with God’s will- arriving at a vivid and well-defined picture of our potential in Christ. Without this we will face inevitable frustration, flounder, and fail.

This plan doesn’t promise hidden knowledge or secrets; there are likewise no short cuts or cheats. Neither does it come in prepackaged meals or short bursts of enthusiasm. You won’t find it in self help books or even buried in your self. This plan originates with God. It requires work that is hard but fulfilling, ceaseless yet refreshing, and thoughtful yet easily understood by anyone.

The deliberate life- in its most basic definition- is:

A commitment to spiritual, mental, and bodily discipline that aligns one’s thoughts, desires, and actions with those of God.

The results of following such a lifestyle? A closer walk with God, a healthier body and mind, and a refreshed and joyful spirit.

This plan isn’t about becoming the next Stephen King. It isn’t about becoming the next Billy Graham. Nor is it about sculpting a killer six-pack. It is nothing more then letting God work in your life by exercising a thoughtful discipline over your actions- attempting to maintain a Christian walk consistent with your core beliefs. It is a commitment not to sabotage the good things God is doing in your life through poor decision making rooted in a lack of forethought.

I hope you stay tuned for the next parts in this series:

I- Could A.A. work for more than alcoholics?

II- A Life of Dignified Volition vs. A Life of Meandering Inattention.

III- How God’s Promises can Liberate you from Obesity and Mental Slavery.

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Comments
  1. Angel says:

    hi there my friend..Living a deliberate life..what could be more powerful than that?

  2. cumby says:

    “half-buttocks attempt” 😆

    I went to college to stay out of the draft and avoid ending up in Vietnam. I got drafted anyway, even with a student deferment. How stupid is that? Sitting in the student union and reading the “Trilogy” by Tolkien, with occasional trips outside to toke on a joint, didn’t help me to keep my grades up.

    I drank, drugged and fought my way through two marriages by the age of 26. Women don’t like to bail their husbands out of jail repeatedly.

    I didn’t really wake up until 32 when I met Christ.

    The best thing that happened to allow me to live “a deliberate life” is when God spoke to me in 2000 and told me what I was created to do.

    I pray that everyone hears this from their Creator at a much younger age. It is the best and easiest way to obey God and fulfill His will for your life. How does one hear that from God? Just ask and wait. It took 6 months for my answer to come. For others it might be a shorter wait.

  3. That is a powerful testimony Cumby.

  4. SurfaceEarth says:

    How does law figure into living a deliberate life?

  5. Are you referring to God’s law or man made laws?

    Either way I am curious what potential conflicts you see. Thanks for commenting.

  6. SurfaceEarth says:

    We appreciate you sharing your posts. We are referring to “man’s laws”. But wondering your view on how man’s laws configure with that of the Universe, God or any other diety that you may follow to become a better person.

  7. Tina says:

    Thanks for sharing that deeply reflective, authentic, and real understanding of yourself and your journey. Deliberate/intentional life is so good!

    I am sure you know this, but I feel compelled to say it anyway: I am of the belief that nothing is wasted in God’s Kingdom…even those things we most regret. When we give Him our lives and endeavor to please Him, even those “lost years” become avenues for His glory…and ways to praise Him more significantly. The things that feel most lost to us, are never that way to Him…nothing is beyond His redeeming, tranforming touch.

  8. mcalmond says:

    Being intentional, deliberate and focused in Christ is all good. Simple isn’t always easy, yet He, the Lord Jesus Christ, is always faithful to meet us where we are and to bring us from there to where He desires for us to be as we look to him and seek his face. We serve an awesome and mighty God.

    We all have a testimony of the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ and how we do not deserve to be where we are in the Lord Jesus Christ, of seemingly wasted years,etc. Yet, in and through it all, we were blessed to come to be known by and to know He who is our now our very breath, our very life, our very reason for being and that is what is genuinely important. Thank you Lord Jesus for finding us and imparting your life into us, that we might truly live.

    Thanks for sharing some of your life’s journey with us all. It is a journey of value and worth, in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Blessings in the Lord Jesus Christ!

  9. timbob says:

    Greetings. Thanks for sharing your story. I used to get discouraged when everyone that i knew would tell how “once they got saved” it was somth sailing from then on. They seemed to never have any struggles and i would think to myself “man I really blew it” as I’ve wasted a lot of time in the past. It’s encouraging to know that others have had growing pains as well. This is a very challenging post and I thank you for provoking thought and discussion.
    Have a blessed day in Christ.

    timbob

  10. frieda says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. What got me through life (besides Christ) was when I attended the Landmark education Forum (www.landmarkeducation.com.)
    it gave a certain tools that has helped me to unlock my hidden potentials and live life fully.

  11. I guess I should add I was baptized when I was 19 (during my time with the fire department).

  12. Fang says:

    Great read. I sometimes feel the same way.

  13. Wilfong says:

    Thanks for the testimony. The behavior patterns you describe remind me of my own life a little TOO much, even down to your experiences in law school and losing weight.

    I like your thoughts and the deliberate life, but I’d like to add an important detail. God plopped us down on this earth to have a relationship with Him and with our neighbors (See Mt. 22:37-40). THAT is our purpose. When someone asks, “What’s it all about?”, that’s the answer! So if we need to search for anything once we’re Christians, it’s how we’re supposed to go about fulfilling the great commandment. Of course, if our first thought is loving God, then we will, as you suggest, align our thoughts with His desires, and I bet His desires don’t include you (or me) being lazy!

    So, may God bless your deliberate life!

  14. Wilfong says:

    Um, feel free to edit my typos. 🙂

  15. “I bet His desires don’t include you (or me) being lazy”

    Amen to that.

    In addition, I would point out. The healthy and disciplined believer has the necessary energy for doing good works. He (or she) also has the discipline to spend time in God’s word.

    I love to do a bible study after my morning workout (not because God comes second) but because I think best after my workouts. I find it is the best part of the day when it comes to mental clarity.

  16. This is absolutely the best thing I have read from you so far. It is honest, sincere, and completely on target. I don’t know you well but I can definitely relate to your story and…I feel so proud of you.

    I guess that is how a sister is supposed to feel about a brother.

    Your sister in Christ,
    Sherri

  17. Wilfong says:

    Very good advice. I have wasted so many days because I was drained by poor eating habits, poor sleeping habits, and lack of exercise. How sad!

    “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and shiftless man goes hungry” (Prov. 19:15 NIV). But for the grace of God and all that. 🙂

  18. Thanks Everday and Wilfong. Your comment are much appreciated. I will try to post the next part in this series sometime next week.

  19. Great post, totaltransformation! Thanks for sharing something so personal from your life. It’s nice when people are able to read something like this and know that they are not alone just as timbob said. Also just as timbob said, it’s definitely NOT always smooth sailing once we’ve accepted Christ.

    Tina said, “I am of the belief that nothing is wasted in God’s Kingdom…even those things we most regret. When we give Him our lives and endeavor to please Him, even those “lost years” become avenues for His glory…and ways to praise Him more significantly. The things that feel most lost to us, are never that way to Him…nothing is beyond His redeeming, tranforming touch.” This is SOOOO right! My husband is a good testimony to this statement. I won’t go into his whole story but he used to be into drugs and alcohol but because of that experience he can reach teens that are going through that so much better than someone who’s never been there. (Not that those people can’t, mind you.) It was unfortunate that he went through what he did- before and during that time – but it helps him minister to others like him.

    by the way – “half-buttocks attempt” – that’s funny! 🙂

  20. faithwalk says:

    Thank you for sharing your testimony JK! We all have had some wasted years in one way or another, for me both before and after becoming a christian.

    May we all live very deliberate lives for Christ as we see the Day of His return approaching, even if it doesn’t happen in our life time!
    It is still the BEST life, but I do think that time is winding down and about to be no more.

    May the Lord Jesus help us all by His grace to keep moving forward, focused on the Kingdom!
    Blessings to you!

    Susan

  21. dadinaught6 says:

    Speaking of deliberate lives, I’ve had numerous wasted years as a “Christian.” I accepted Christ so young, I wasn’t sure what all it meant. Glad I did and grew a lot after that off and on.
    Never turned away from God, but there was a time when most people wouldn’t be able to determine that I was a Christian. My deliberate life was mine, not God’s.

  22. Donald B says:

    Great post. Love the points about living the deliberate life. We need focus if we are to continue following Christ daily. It’s not easy being a Christian (as many of those outside Christianity believe). To do it our own way would be much easier.

    Any way … I thought of this scripture as you spoke of your past and stuff. It has helped me greatly to overcome my past.

    Philippians 3:12 – 14
    Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

    I don’t think forgetting means that we can’t remember it any more … but that we don’t focus on it any more.

    Like in sports … the athlete that makes an error and doesn’t let it go is the athlete that continues to make errors. The one that can let it go and focus on what’s ahead is the athlete that will continue to be a positive addition to the team.

    Go with God,
    Donald B

  23. blessed1 says:

    What a great testimony. Thank you for sharing this! It’s always good to know what others have experienced in life’s walk and how they found Christ.

  24. sherpa says:

    I think about this topic a lot and its something that guides my life. Very nice post.

  25. J A says:

    The only reason I know you and I are not brain clones is that I was slightly less successful with the same study/learning habits (B.S. degree with no honors).

    Everything from the way you handled opportunity to the way you thought and think about it .. deja vu.

    I am at 204lbs, but I am right behind ya. I am always behind. =(

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