I notice many people living their lives in silos. Heck, I used to be one of them. There was work Marc, Dad Marc, husband Marc, church Marc, football coach Marc and school board director Marc. Each had a different persona. They weren’t aligned with a unified purpose and spirit.
Now I have a common thread woven into the fabric of my life that connects everything. All those disjointed Marcs have become one, the real Marc.
It feels great. It’s liberating, as though I was released from prison and free to be genuine. Free to be vulnerable. Free to love and be loved. Free to do work that really matters.
I want everyone to experience this freedom and am driven to help people who care, provided I have their permission. If you’re curious about the common thread, then please allow me to share what I’ve discovered.
The first step was being honest with myself that I wasn’t happy. I was too busy doing what I thought I was supposed to do, i.e. what society tempted me to do. I had to slow down my life by trimming “branches of the vine” that we’re not bearing fruit. I centered myself by forming good daily habits that calmed and cleared my mind and built a relationship with God’s Holy Spirit.
The second step was letting go of the guilt, the shame, the pain and the need for revenge. I became a student of what forgiveness really is and a master practitioner of it. I became Fordriven® to find life. Fordriven is when we’re able forgive others, allow ourselves to be forgiven and drive forward with our lives without looking in the rear view mirror.
The third step was allowing myself to learn from steps 1 and 2 in a trial-and-error fashion, whereby mistakes are learning moments to continually improve my habits and optimize my Fordriven-ability. In fact, this closed-loop cycle continues in perpetuity because we’re really never done forging our characters because perfection will elude us until our Homecoming with God.
After repeating steps 1, 2 and 3 over and over, something emerged that I applied many different ways to many different situations. I was good at it, and I enjoyed doing it moment to moment, day after day, year after year. I did it at work, at home, at church and when I volunteered in my community. Time flew when I was doing it. It became my work that didn’t seem like work. It became the thread that sewed my broken life and heart into a whole. I called it my craft.
My craft is building bridges by using expressive writing and oration. I am able to mend relationships, help opposing groups find common ground, rally diverse stakeholders around a single mission and build strong, caring, productive teams. I apply my craft to my family, friends, colleagues at work, members of my church and peers with whom I volunteer and serve the local community.
My craft was revealed because I allowed God to reveal it to me. I was intentional about it. I had to humble my spirit so that His Spirit could intercede. God’s grace is meant to be our catalyst to living passionate lives that bear fruit of eternal value. We’re made to share God’s heart with the world. Our craft allows us to do that.
The truth is that your life will never feel meaningful until you allow God to use you. Commit to build your craft and do work that really matters. Put a stake in the ground and find the common thread in your now siloed life.