I don’t think I’ve ever fully earned the label of “control freak“ (though, at times, my wife would argue that point). Certainly, I have spent much of my life thinking I either had control of or needed to exert control over the circumstances in my life to orchestrate the grand outcome of the great “Drew plan.” More often than not, this has generated tension, stress, and frustration in my life and those closest to me. Don’t get me wrong; it’s good to plan and envision a better tomorrow and make the most of the opportunities and talents entrusted to us - just not at the expense of health, quality of life, relationships, etc.
This past year has been interesting for me and has created a unique level of reflection, unlike any previous year. So many things have occurred that were outside my control (especially the brain surgery thing – it still seems surreal). As I creep up on the 60-year mark, I look back at many things in my life and realize how the passage of time has smoothed out the rough edges. Edges that, at the moment, seemed insurmountable and created unbearable drama, sleepless nights, and prolonged anxiety. Looking back -- Getting married and beginning a new life with someone else; Having kids and raising a family; Leaving corporate America and bootstrapping an entrepreneurial venture; Leading and shepherding an organization and people; Effectively stewarding the resources I’ve entrusted (they ALL belong to God). Career transition; Raising children who will become effective at adulting and following Jesus—instilling a legacy mindset with family. All these things require great intentionality, but even the best-laid plans fall short of expectations. And that’s where letting go of the idea that I have control can be a really good thing!
As I look back at my life and the surprises it tosses, the time has a way of “healing“ for lack of a better word. Wounds heal. Waves that wash ashore wipe away evidence of footprints and castles in the sand. The countless mistakes made tend to be forgotten. And then I think, why did I spend so much time worrying about many trite and insignificant things?
Dorie Clark authored a book called The Long Game that recently caught my attention. Full confession, I have yet to read the entire book, just an executive summary - but I love the premise and context. If our mindset were to shift to the long game, we would live healthier, more purposeful, more stress-free, and more fulfilling lives because our focus would be on the long game and not the choppy, stressful, worries-of-the-moment, short-term thinking. Our decisions and actions would be made against life’s backdrop of the longer-term and big picture. Recently, my daughter celebrated her 24th birthday. She was sharing her frustration with not having found “Mr. Right“ yet and her impatience with the journey. Rather than strike up a lecture on being patient and trusting God with your relationships (you ultimately know how that approach goes with your kids), my wife and I shared several personal stories of close friends who allowed similar sentiments of impatience to win the day and made short-term marriage decisions that ultimately led to very bad, life-altering outcomes. Though it did not soothe all of her disappointment, it did affirm “the long game," and the importance of patience truly is a virtue.
One of my life's most gratifying professional seasons has been the last ten years. The team at Acumen recently celebrated its 10-year milestone, which ignited a forthcoming season of reflection and gratitude. I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for the amazing friendships and relationships that have blossomed over the last decade. I have had the privilege of serving alongside so many great entrepreneurs and leaders, and how little control I had over how that would ultimately manifest itself.
Yes, time heals and smooths choppy waves - And yet, it is our most precious resource. The real question that haunts me more and more is, what am I doing with the time I have left? Am I stewarding my time aligned with Jesus and His ultimate long game… Eternity? Our lives on this little blue marble are but “a wisp of time.” Earth is literally my temporary home. I have most recently realized that I have not intentionally invested more time personally in preparing for eternity, much less helping others in my sphere of influence prepare for eternity with Jesus… it’s only forever! More on that later, but in the interim, a great resource, should you wish to pursue it, is Driven By Eternity by John Bevere.