50 Life-changers… #1

Smith #1nearly twenty years ago, i was going through a dark time in my life.  i was unhappy.  i felt like a failure.  i was lonely.  there were a lot of factors, but the uncomfortable reality that i was facing everyday was a spiritual and emotional emptiness.

it was a black hole.

and even though i couldn’t see my way out,  i dug in…got some counseling…went back to some really basic bible reading…and instead of running away from my confusion, i ran into it.  during this time, i started reading a book that not only turned my life right-side up, but also changed the way i have counseled people ever since.

it’s a book called lifemapping , by john trent and, among many other things, it helped me understand the connection between the significant life events of my past…and my present struggles and achievements.  the book isn’t the most popular ever written.  most people, even counselors, have never even heard of it.

but for me, it was money.

part of the genius of the book is the work you have to put in while reading it.  you actually build a map of your life.  each of the chapters is devoted to a different path on the journey and the reader is challenged to think seriously and critically about what has happened on all of those paths.

i can remember as if it were yesterday.  i went down to a local art supply store and bought myself a big piece of brown paper bag material, about three feet by three feet…and i taped it to the wall in our bedroom.  wanda and i have never been real big on interior design, so it probably matched the decor about as well as anything else did.

i divided it into the right number of columns and put in the proper headings…and i dove into the book.

slowly, but surely, things began to get unwrapped.  pieces of my life that i thought had little or no significance started to take on massive meaning.  for the first time, i had perspective to my life that had always escaped me before.  i saw reasons behind the way i was acting and feeling.

my personality…my strengths…my weaknesses…my fears…my public personna..and my hidden self were all connected.  like connecting the stars with straight lines to form unique constellations, i was connecting the dots of my life.  everything was linked.  everything…big and small…was interrelated.

and all of it had shaped me.

this life-mapping experience took about three months to complete.  some times it was invigorating.  sometimes it was just emotionally painful.  but it changed me.  it empowered me.  it enabled me to see that god had really been at work in my life in ways i had never noticed.  it was a life-changer.

over the holiday break, i decided it was time to do this again.  for me.  maybe for you.  who knows?  once a week for the next 49 weeks, i’m going to write about a different life-changing event on my journey and how it has played a role in shaping me.  

some will be crazy good.  others…not so much.  but each one has played a role in shaping the dude you see right now.  and i’m still blown away at how god has woven them all together.

maybe you can make your own journal of life-changers along with me?

if you’re a tight-wad, it’s cheaper than going to a counselor…

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