Diaper Derby

I never laid eyes on you before.
Never had dreams come true before.
But there’s always a time for a new beginning.
Our multiplied sorrow now is through.
And all of the waiting’s over, too.
And it’s been worth it all, for this new beginning.

And who is like the Lord, who turns my mourning into dancing,
And holds all things together, in His hands?
He whispered, “Let there be…” and He began the world all over.
But this time He laid its future in my hands.
(Unfinished song I started 30 years ago today, when my baby girls were born)

Your life is an adventure in starting over.

You may prefer maintenance mode.  You may want to pretend that you’re in perpetual motion.  You may claim to be too old, too successful, too far along, or too [insert excuse here], but the fact is, your entire life is a collage of cycles and rhythms.

And that involves starting over.

Michael Jordan started over.  Three times.  Tiger Woods just started over, too.  And both of them did so in their domains of genius.

President Bush (43) started over.  He’s an artist and gentleman Texas rancher now.  His election opponents, Al Gore and John Kerry, have done their share of the same.

You’ve started over a fair share of times yourself.  Which may explain why the last thing you want to hear about is another “adventure” in starting over.

Maintenance Mode:  The Silent Killer

Every single day we give a part of our lives to maintenance.  I’m not just talking about brushing your teeth or changing the oil in your car.  I mean delivering on promises.  Checking off the next to-do box.  Grinding out the next task, for no other reason (that we can remember) than it’s the next task.

Maintenance is important.  Without maintenance houses fall down. Children are neglected.  Managers are left unhappy and you are left unemployed.  Your health goes by the wayside.

But living in maintenance mode is another story.  Let me ask you a few questions.  Trust your first instinct as you answer them in your head:

  • What are you going to do at work today or tomorrow?
  • If you go to church this Sunday, what’s going to happen?
  • If you’re in charge of breakfast, what did everybody in your house eat this morning? What about tomorrow?
  • What are you going to do with your spouse, kids or friends the next time you go one-on-one with them?

If any of your first-blush answers sounded something like “same old same old,” or “same thing we did last time,” you’re in maintenance mode.  It’s not that what you’re doing isn’t important… it’s that you’ve lost touch with why you do it.

Maintenance mode is a killer.  It breeds boredom, carelessness, and brain sludge.  People who live constantly in maintenance mode take on the emotional and mental qualities of a human vegetable. And if you find yourself or your extended relationships living in the land of same-old same-old, it’s time to start over.

Crisis – the Screaming Innovator

Today as I write this is a very special day. Thirty years ago today my wife gave birth to twin girls and I became a father for the first time.  It was a joyful day.  It was also in the purest sense of the word a crisis – the perfect collision of opportunity and danger, weighing in at 6’13” and 7’2”.

Talk about starting over!  My life was back at Ground Zero whether I wanted it to be or not.  And while there were plenty of maintenance moments, the circumstances forced us to innovate.  To conceive of new goals, forge new relationships, initiate new actions, and harness new inspiration.  That’s what you do when you start over.

Crisis – any sudden change that demands a response – confronts us with a need to start over.  The crisis may take on the form of a loss, such as the loss of a life partner, a job, or a friendship.  It may take on the form of a new blessing – a huge raise, a new career, a new relationship.  It may simply take on the form of a major change, such as moving (yep, just did that), or adjusting to new realities related to health or finances.

Regardless, crisis doesn’t politely tap you on the shoulder and ask how you may feel about the possibility of beginning to perhaps consider starting to think about a potential new beginning sometime in the distant future.  It grabs you by the back of the neck, throws you into the arena, rings the bell and screams, “Showtime!”

Re-Launching Your Life, Starting Today

You’ve done it before.  Do it again.  What does it mean to start over?  Whether it’s simply getting a handle on your day today, or completely reinventing what it means for you to be you, the same process applies.  You cast vision, gather relationships, initiate action, and harness inspiration.

1.  Cast new vision.  Don’t get lost on the word “new.”  Your “new” vision may be a restatement of the one you currently live by.  But you may also have to ask some difficult questions.

  • Is your vision leading you where you truly want to go?
  • Is it so far down the road that you have a hard time connecting it to something you can actually do today?
  • Does it still capture your heart? Your passion?
  • Can you still explain why this vision is important to you?  IS it still important to you?

2.  Gather new relationships.  If everything you call vision can be accomplished as a solo act, you don’t have much of a vision.  How do you need to reconnect with old friends, develop a new relationship (personal or professional), give or receive help, or invest in your future with an act of kindness today?  Starting over will nearly always involve a new relationship or some freshness in an old one.

3.  Initiate new action.  Do something. Change direction.  Start something.  Initiate!  But make the action purposeful.  Connect your highest-energy actions with your deepest values and passions.  Get out of emergency mode.  That’s just Maintenance and Crisis having a fistfight in your brain.  Nobody ever creatively put out brush fires.  Clear out some mental clutter and silence some of the demands being placed on you in the immediate so that your actions can be clear, purposeful, and rewarding.

4.  Harness new inspiration.  You have a lot of resistance to overcome, starting with your own tired self.  Time to awaken your heart.  Give yourself permission to dream again.  To see past the days of grinding it out.  To possess the beauty and glory of your future by feeling it in your heart today.  For that, you need inspiration, and here you’re as unique as your fingerprint.  Different people are inspired in different ways, and you need to know what motivates you to expend the energy necessary to start over.  Music and passionate speaking does that for me; I’ve more moved by sound.  You may be more moved by reading or something on Pinterest – in other words by sight.  Whatever works, harness the power of that inspiration and let’s get started again.

The Master of Starting Over

People of faith recognize that none of this is a human invention.  The same God who set the universe in motion has continually given us the mandate and opportunity to begin again.  He is the one who formed us for re-creation (He calls it a Sabbath).  He is the one who spoke of being “born again.”   He’s the one who called out to a dead man to walk out of his tomb (talk about starting over!).  And He’s the master of your new beginnings, too.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando July 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Andy, I had to smile, broadly, as I read this. The last two blogs I’ve posted touch on the same topics – change and the willingness to move forward with passion. (Cue up the Twilight Zone theme music.) All I can say is, great minds think alike, 🙂 and God has a purpose for us all if we allow Him to lead.
Blessings to you and Robin, and a very happy birthday to your girls!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..A Time for Every Purpose . . .

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