I've been praying about whether or not that letter belongs online, and have discerned that for the time being it does not. There are some whom I need to send it to, and I will... but in the meantime I'm going to share only a slice of it below.
What you'll see are some questions I'm asking of myself, as I intended myself to be a recipient of the letter as well as all my friends all around the world who proclaim a "changed life" due to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Perhaps I should start by admitting that I'm feeling a bit worn down. I've been plugging away at some pretty important things lately while trying to keep my main priorities my main priorities: God, Katie, kids, and everyone/everything else. There’s also a new baby in our house... and where there have been extra pockets of time beyond the extra hours I already put into work, I'm also writing two books I've been contracted for as well as many freelance projects that I'm hoping will help pay some medical bills we don't want to overwhelm us.
Again, I share all of that for context. I’m a hard-working person, just like I assume you are.
In the midst of all of that, I keep stepping up to bat as best as I know how in the attempt to make a real difference in life with and for Jesus Christ.
- As an individual, I am asking, "God, what are my blind spots? What is my next step with you? Do you want me to stretch in a new way or simply enjoy You today? Do I really need to do what you've asked... because it's tough - not that I don't want to, but it's tough."
- As a husband, I am pondering, "What am I to do with the last significant conversations I've had with Katie? How do I serve her more when some days I'd rather be selfish? Am I treasuring the gift she is or taking advantage of the idea that she'll 'always be around'?"
- As a dad, I am wondering, "Do each of my kids have an individual relationship with me that that we both feel good about? How can I say 'YES!' more often when they want to do something with me (without neglecting my other responsibilities)? Am I aware of what they're going through positively and negatively... and am I a part of guiding them or am I neglecting them in some way?"
- As a pastor, I am saying, "Tony, pretend this is the last sermon you will ever preach this week... how are you going to be responsible with that opportunity? And are you living in the big picture and the details of your church community with a healthy balance? You can't do it all and solve everyone's problem - you're not God. Are you, though, attempting to advance down the field with the ball God has handed you or letting it fumble on purpose? And have you started relying on your abilities instead of the Lord?"
- As a friend/neighbor/relative, I am considering, "When I say I am someone's friend, do they know it in how I live? What are my neighbors going through that I can be a support to? How is my extended family these days and is there any role I play in their lives? Who will I share Jesus with next?"
All of this is simply being asked to put Christ-first in my life and help others to do the same.