Monday, April 10, 2017

RECALCULATING: Navigating Purposefully Along Life's Cluttered Highway

RECALCULATING!
Navigating Purposefully Along
Life's Cluttered Highway
_____________________________

I remember the old GPS units 
the modern-day Mother Mary-
type dashboard ornaments that
became the rage prior to smart
phone technology. Every time I
made a wrong turn, a calm, yet
confident voice announced 
Recalculating. Recalculating.
I occasionally still need to hear
that voice when I get off track.
_____________________________

It should have been glorious — that day back in 2010 when the UPS guy knocked on my door with a package from my publisher, containing the first dozen copies of my debut memoir. In short order, I cut open the box with a handy kitchen knife and immediately removed one of the pristine promos. As I flipped through what I recognized suddenly as 240 pages worth of poorly-written, F-bomb-drenched drivel, I became sick to my stomach. In pursuit of professional success, I had worked my entire life establishing myself within the entertainment biz. But when I finally got my big break, the product I offered the world was complete crap. Clearly, I needed to reassess my priorities. I needed to get my life on track. Then, I heard that voice Recalculating. Recalculating.

My 2010 debut memoir straight-up sucked!
Recalculating. Recalculating.
Fast-forward — 2017. To say that I'm a different guy now than I was in 2010 would be an understatement. And I'm thrilled to have just released the expanded new 5th Anniversary Edition of my second book — the faith-focused autobiography, C'MON! During the exhaustive (and reflective) four-month editing process, it dawned on me how several years have also passed since my third book, the Christian-themed release, Shout it Out Loud arrived in 2014. Hmm — even my last missionary excursion is now more than two years in the rear-view. I remain active with Youth Ministry and Life Groups, but the time I spend dedicated to those endeavors seems to also be getting squeezed out by life's ever-escalating busyness. There's that voice again Recalculating. Recalculating.

Connecting with my friends in Nicaragua.
(2014)
Yes, I often feel like I'm struggling to stay on course. But at 54, I don't have time to be veering off   oblivious to the cleverly disguised distractions along life's cluttered highway. Recalculating. Recalculating.

What I really desire is to be focusing more fully on others — leaning in and loving on people. But why is a personal connection to others so important, even at such a seemingly late stage in my life? Well, in recent years, I've been inspired by a truly selfless role model. Jesus Christ responded to ALL things consistently — offering love, kindness and compassion, 24/7. Even as he was being beaten, mocked, spit on and nailed to a cross, Jesus stayed on course, speaking forgiveness over his transgressors. That's a mighty bold and truly selfless road map — one that I want to follow.

TOTALLY ON TRACK!
I was blessed to witness and cheer on the
baptism of my two besties in April 2017.
Life is short, and at the end of the day, "we can't take it with us" — not our money, not our careers, not our political positions — nothing. As a result, I'd rather spend my remaining time investing into the lives of others. Can I ever live up to Jesus' perfect example? No way, dude. As I've mentioned, I still get caught up in my own stupid stuff every day. But at least I've got a great "GPS" on the ol' dashboard to help keep me "recalculating." 

-Christopher Long
(April 2017)

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