A couple of years ago I really began to experience a certain clarity in my life. After a long season of personal doubt and some public rejection in ministry, it had begun to feel like I was being tossed around in a heavy storm-at-sea. I had lost direction and impetus, and I became driven by outside forces rather than what was imbedded in my soul.
What I had experienced was not only a sense of loss in purpose or direction, but a stripping of values due to what I allowed to happen to me for the sake of my ministry to people.
It was killing me from the inside out.
That is just about the gears began to shift in my mind as I began dealing in a cold and calculated way with myself. I had not dealt seriously with who I was and how I was uniquely equipped to really and truly live. I began to turn down the volume on the outside voices in my life, and began to listen much more carefully to my own soul.
I asked, “What in life am I ready to put some intellectual, philosophical, and ethical roots down on? What hills am I willing to do battle on? What will be the unalterable ideas that I will live my life around?”
They may not be what they were five years ago, and they might not be the same in another five, but that’s not the point. Having a what, who, and why in your life is incredibly crucial to a life with depth and weight.
So I developed a list of non-negotiables.
Here they are:
- I am faithful to my wife.
- I say what I want.
- I am dangerous to those who oppose truth, goodness, and reason.
- Compassion for my family trumps my need to be right.
- I replace doubt with acts of faith.
- I am a risk taker.
- I live in accordance with my faith.
- I do what I believe is in the best interest of my family, even if they disagree.
- I do not ask for permission.
- Fear does not keep me from taking risks.
- I do not indulge my addictions.
- I am a man of my word, period.
- I do not show anger to my mother.
- When name-calling begins, the discussion is over.
- I spend time with men I respect.
- I exercise regularly.
- I ask for help when I’m not being the man I want to be.
- I speak my mind in spite of my fear of confrontation.
- I honor my daily spiritual practice.
- I welcome feedback.
- I only apologize when it’s appropriate, not simply to please others.
- I do not hide out at work just to avoid issues at home.
- I choose which of my friendships to maintain.
- I do not sell out who I am to placate others.
- I do as I see fit.
- Hell will break away at my feet.
What are your life’s non-negotiables?