Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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The Key to a Successful Second Half

Each Friday morning, a few friends and I meet at our local Original Pancake House, where we greet our friends who serve so well there.  We have discussed Bob Buford’s book Half Time: Moving from Success to Significance; the second time I’ve gone through the book in less than a year. A leader in our organization recommended it for some of us when we were getting ready to transition out of the workplace as a result of changes in our organization.
Buford states that our second half (whether it begins while you are still working in your vocation, or when you retire), is about regaining control of your life. The key to a successful second half is not a change of jobs; it is a change of heart, a change in the way you view the world and order your life. I’ve noticed that some who have recently retired have no clear plan for their lives. After all, for perhaps 30+ years, they have had a vocational purpose. They knew where they would be each Monday through Friday, and knew what was expected of them. Now, they have new-found freedom in how to spend their time, but are unsure of what to actually do with that time. It can be a confusing and frustrating time.
Buford writes that leadership expert Peter Drucker once told him that retirees have not proved to be the fertile source of volunteer effort we once thought they would be. Rather than serving, some have tended to cut their engines off and lose their edge. Buford encourages us not to allow the second half of our lives to be characterized by decline, boredom, and increasing ineffectiveness for the kingdom.
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What is My Calling?

A few friends and I are reading and discussing Bob Buford’s book Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance over breakfast Friday mornings. The book club is a continuation from our last few years at work. Each of us left our organization that was going through significant changes at the end of March, 2018. This time has been a period of evaluating our callings and purpose after having spent in excess of 30 years in the workplace, and we are all in a different stage of evaluation and searching for significance.
One friend stated this morning that he wasn’t sure what his calling was. I’ve known this individual for about fifteen years. I suggested that one of his callings was leadership, as I have seen him be a leader in a number of different settings. I say “one of his callings” because both writer Jeff Goins in his popular book The Art of Work and Pastor Bob Smart in his book Calling to Christ, refer to our “portfolio of callings”. As an example, this friend would also have a calling as a husband, father, grandfather, artist, friend, etc.
Os Guinness in his excellent book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life, introduces us to two types of callings. As Christians, our primary calling is that everyone, everywhere, and in everything should think, speak, live and act entirely for God. Our secondary callings can be our jobs or vocations. However, these, and other things are always the secondary, never the primary, calling.  We don’t get our identity through our secondary callings, but through our primary calling. Bob Smart writes that calling formation is for a season, and usually takes from age 18 to 35, but is always renewing with changes in our particular, or secondary, callings.
In Halftime, Bob Buford asks “What is your purpose? What makes you tick? What do you do so well that you would enjoy doing it without pay? What is your passion, the spark that needs only a little breeze to ignite into a raging fire?” Another way of putting this is “What are you doing now that you love so much – that gives you so much satisfaction – that you would do it without pay?”
Another suggestion is to look back at how the Lord has used you for His glory. Leadership was not a calling that I chose. As long as I can remember I’ve been shy and often lacked confidence. I test as an introvert on the Myers-Briggs Indicator (MBTI) assessment. My leadership journey actually started as a part-time minimum wage cleaner for a contract cleaning company that still cleans the buildings for the organization I worked at for nearly 38 years. As a shy guy not pursuing leadership, I gradually moved from a cleaner, to a floor supervisor, building supervisor and eventually an area manager with 60 direct reports as I was finishing college, and would be recognized as the organization’s Area Manager of the Year. Although leadership (professionally and in the church) was not the direction that I thought I would go while in college, it was the calling and vocation that God has placed me in and equipped me for.
So, what about you? How would you answer Bob Buford’s question “What are you doing now that you love so much – that gives you so much satisfaction – that you would do it without pay? The answer to that question could go a long way in helping you to determine one of your callings.