I’m beginning a retreat today, but I made the trip a day early for a meeting and to spend some time reading. I love the statement by Steinbeck that you don’t take a journey, a journey takes you. I’ve verified that statement many times.
This journey is no exception.My expectation was to read and, perhaps, write. I took several books with me and had a pretty good plan. I’d settle down and finish one of the books I’ve been reading and start another one I wanted to read. I also brought a couple of books, “just in case.”
Since the drive to the retreat would take about seven hours, I decided to listen to an audiobook. I looked through my audible library and saw some books I had grabbed about a year when I was trying to use up some credits I had. I was suspending my audible account and I needed to use up the credits I had.
I saw a book called “Ambition Addiction: How to Go Slow, Give Thanks, and Discover Joy Within” that I didn’t remember getting, but looked interesting. I wasn’t all that interested in the ambition part, but “going slow”, “giving thanks” and discovering “joy within” really caught my eye.
As I started listening to the book, I felt that I identified a little bit too much with the topic of ambition. While ambition really isn’t an addiction, I began to understand why the author referred to ambition as an addiction.
Now I don’t consider myself all that ambitious. I want to be good at what I do, and I do believe in continual improvement, but ambition, I feel, is different. As I listened, I was drawn in by the description of those whose addiction takes them captive. While I didn’t identify with all the signs, I did identify with enough of them to cause me concern.
I was able to listen to the whole audio book before I arrived at my destination. I spent some time processing this new information and then finished reading one of the books I brought.
I then started reading a new book. The book “Rest” had been on my “To Read” list for a couple of months. Now, I thought, I’d be able to spend some time finally reading it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect given the succinct title. I assumed the author, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, would discuss taking some kind of Sabbath type of rest. I wondered how he would fill 320 pages talking about rest.
I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that the book covers more than rest. I don’t know if it was the author’s intention or not, but my main takeaway, so far, is how creatives must work differently including intentional deliberate rest into the schedules. He also points out that rest isn’t about sitting around and vegging out. Rest is active.
I’m still making my way through the book, but one thing began to become clear. The two books, “Ambition Addiction” and “Rest,” were the two books I needed to read before heading into a retreat. I needed to hear what both of these authors have to say.
I would not describe myself as ambitious, but as I listened to the book, I realized I’m more ambitious than what I think. A suble ambition drives me. My ambition hasn’t destroy my family or friends. I don’t posses a “winner takes all” ambition. Nevertheless, I suffer from some of the symptons Benjamin’s Shalva enumerates.
A Different Kind of Ambition
My ambition is continued in a deep sense of calling and desire to be faithful to that calling. That’s good, right?
I remember reading a statement from Bill Hybels when he discussed the broken marriages left in the wake of Willow Creek’s beginnings. He said they sacrificed what God didn’t call them to sacrifice.
Wow. When I first read that line it cut me to the heart.
There’s a danger in following God’s call, we may sacrifice things at God’s altar that he never wanted sacrificed. We can be so fixated on our mission, that we follow the mission rather than God.
So, while my marriage, family, and friends are in tact, I cannot say that my ambition to be faithful to my calling hasn’t negatively effected my life.
So, here I am.
Why am I sharing this?
A New Direction?
I’m sharing this because this blog reflects my life. FuzzyThinking isn’t just what I call this blog, it really is how I feel about my life. I don’t have everything figured out. Sometimes I feel I see things or have answers, but on greater reflection, my answers are fuzzy.
Steinbeck was right. The journey takes me and I’m not sure where I am going.
At this point in the journey, I feel I will be writing more. Of course, that is fuzzy as well. There’s just a good of a chance that this will be my last post, but I doubt it.
Once I return from retreat, I plan on, once again, looking at my schedule. I’ll probably experiment some with doing different tasks at different times. You may see references to my experiments on this site. You may not.
One thing I can say for certain though; I don’t plan on spending as much time “editing” the posts on here. You may see grammatical or other kinds of errors. I hope that’s okay. I hope that I can be okay with such errors as well.
In the past, I hesitated and resisted posting because I wanted my posts to be good and the spelling and grammar to be correct.
Today, as I sit here in the breakfast area of the Hampton, I just want to be helpful. So, my plan is to post.
Some of the posts may be raw, both emotionally and grammatically. I’ve been hesitant in the past to share the deepest part of me in fears that someone will read it and take exception with what I wrote.
Now, I plan on not worrying about how my posts are received. I will humbly offer them as “fuzzythinking,” hoping someone finds value and help through them.
I’ve not arrived. I’ve not figured everything out. I’m on a journey and I share that journey with you. If you read this blog, we will both see where the journey goes.