During my sabbatical, I had the privilege of taking a two-day Halftime Experience with Bob Buford, the founder of Halftime, Leadership Network and The Drucker Institute. Bob is a kind, gracious and intelligent man. At 72 years of age, he comes across a little slow and deliberate, yet he has a listening ear and a very inquisitive mind. He has lived his message of turning from success (money) to significance (God’s kingdom) in the second half of his life. His halftime message has universal relevance in our generation of longer life spans and endless options.
My desired outcomes for this event were: clarity, focus, and a better understanding of my next life steps towards my life mission. I found it to be a strong reinforcement of many of the things that God has already been speaking to me about. There was a lot of confirmation.
Here are a few lessons that were reinforced during the experience:
1. Our calling (or ‘destiny’) is an agreement between God and us for which we will be held accountable. Sometimes the place to start is not, “What do I want to do?” but rather “What needs to be done?”
2. We can’t say NO a lot until we have a burning YES. Our “NO mechanism” needs to start with, “Here are the things God has called me to do …” What will you STOP doing? What are you saying NO to in this next season of life and ministry?
3. Everything we need is already within us. It just needs drawing out. The answer is not out there. It’s in here. The Spirit of God within us has deposited everything inside of us that we need for life, ministry and godliness. We just need to take time to read our own hearts and drink from waters deep within.
4. Reflecting on our past (archaeology) is as important as shaping our future (construction). We need to know and fully understanding what we are working with. When were you at your best and most passionate? Think about your past accomplishments. How have your strengths contributed to your first half success? How will they play out in your second half? What are you good at and what are you excited about? What makes you mad and what breaks your heart? Gifts + Passions = Mission. No one can do this work for us. We must set aside time to do it.
5. Think of your life as a portfolio of a number of different ministries/activities. You don’t only have one thing. Sort out your allocation of time, focus and energy across your portfolio. You may need to re-frame what you are already doing. Maybe this means starting something new, just for one day each month. Consider the idea of “parallel careers.” Winston Churchill wrote a book on the history of the English-speaking world while he was Prime Minister of Britain.
6. Life is lived in seasons and stages. We all have the burden of adaptation (navigating the liminal space between seasons) and we need to get used to it, as we’ll be doing it 5-6 times in a lifetime, maybe more. We become a different person, in many ways. Bob has had six seasons already, each one unique and different from the other. Each new season has an ugly period, where it’s really hard. Eventually, things taper off and it’s time to move into a new and different season.
7. Clarity takes time. We need to wait for the cloud/mist to clear and for the muddy water to settle.
8. What obstacles to a life of significance are in your way right now? In any great adventure, there will be adversity! Obstacles we are unprepared for tend to re-rail us. Internal obstacles include: ego, impatience, doubt, fear, burnout, confusion, lack of surrender, discouragement, poor time use, limited capacity (finances and skills), inability to extract from current activities, and identity issues. External obstacles include: the tyranny of the urgent, busyness, distractions (noise), temptations, criticism (resistance from people), peer pressure, spiritual warfare (the enemy), or lack of financial resources.
9. Don’t go it alone. You need a team of advisers and spiritually mature people who can help you on your life journey.