Engineered, but not Reversed

by - January 11, 2010

Our church does this yearly practice in early January called "Reverse Engineering". Individuals and families are asked to prayerfully assess nearly all aspects of their lives: priorities, habits and patterns, relationships, finances, daily schedules, vacations, emotional and physical health, spiritual development, family life, etc to make the most of the time and resources they have available. The idea is to look at where you see God directing your life - 1,2,5 and 40 years into the future - and begin to structure your life to healthily make the most efficient use of these resources so that you are best equipped to fulfill that calling.

Joe is a list maker and I am an insane dreamer, but at the onset of this new year, we found ourselves very reluctant to go any further than assessing the current status and making small practical decisions such as time organization and vacation planning. As we were driving back from Raleigh after an overwhelming trip to IKEA on a sale day, I found myself breezing through the questions, half jokingly responding, "My job is to be a mom... my calling is to be a mom... my ministry is raising Scooby ... My exercise is chasing Scooby ... Scooby Scooby Scooby mom mom mom... OKAY! DONE!" Joe was being frustratingly ambivalent in all his answers. I finally asked, "What's the deal? I haven't gotten one straight answer out of you!" Joe's response was that after the last year we had with serial cutbacks and layoffs at work and two miscarriages, he felt a total lack of confidence to project any length of time into the future.

In reality, we had been discussing some of the topics during the past week, so our attempts were not a total wash, but neither of us really felt empowered to dream big or make any definitive goals other that paying off car debts, writing and filing our will in case we die, being more intentional in vacation/staycation planning and spending time with each other, and in general to carry on doing what we have been doing in our jobs and to keep up the current ministry - Joe in a redemption course development and teaching the pre-marriage courses, and I in mothering Scooby and preparing for another child.

As I began reading scripture in preparation for Reverse Engineering, focusing on verses that discuss how the spirit of God moves his people and the dangers of making definitive statements about the future, I felt that this was maybe a year to say, "How about we step forward one day at a time?" There is much wisdom in smart financial planning and getting the household in order, which we have already done a lot of. However, if anything, God has shown us this past year that not our will, but His will be done. I believe 2010 is a year for us to express gratitude for both the paths covered and the current place we find ourselves, press our noses to the grindstone, our knees into the ground before His feet and lift our hands to say, "You are good, what next?" Maybe by next January we will be ready to begin dreaming again.

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3 comments

  1. i think we are in the same spot. there are certainly very, very important things to plan for & prepare for. but there are a lot of wild cards in our life right now. for a planner like me, it's easier to consider generally how those will impact us long-term than to make plans that are of no guarantee.

    oh & we're doing the will thing, too. sobering reality, no? if you don't have an attorney, check out some quotes. our firm does them & the attorney who does them is really nice. contact me if you want more info. good luck with it.

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  2. we definitely are! we might be interested in an attorney, please send an email with the contact info. i wish it were as easy as filling out a form and clicking submit.

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  3. same here. there are seasons for this type of thing, and that's all it is- a season. amen on the "filling out a form and clicking submit" thing...

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