The Centered Life

Posted on: May 23, 2022
Centered Life

The Centered Life - A blog on takeaways from reading Quarter Life Calling by Paul Sohn.

Even though I came from a home of parents who knew Jesus, shared Jesus, and took us to church, I still struggled personally to connect the dots of a Christ centered life in my teens and twenties. Life appeared to be in compartments competing for my time and focus. It left me struggling and seeking for a natural flow and understanding of my purpose.

Paul Sohn wrote about our hunger for meaning in his book Quarter Life Calling and I will share more from that book in this blog.  Paul writes, “We are a generation thirsty for meaning. We want to know that our lives matter, that life is not an accidental by-product of nature, a result of matter plus time plus chance. Rather, our lives were creatively designed and have built-in meaning, purpose, and hope.” 

As a pastor I see the tension between purpose and drifting for so many in this stage of life. The tension between making an impact and experiencing something impactful. The tension between investing in others and seeking for personal growth.

What is the difference between the the twenty something fully engaged in purpose and another who is still seeking? Dan B Allender said “Take seriously the story that God has given you to live. It’s time to read your own life, because your story is the one that could set us all ablaze.” 

In order to be engaged in purpose, you have to believe you can make an impact. A strong weapon the enemy uses on twenty and thirty somethings in the church, is that they can’t make a difference or don’t have a place. They aren’t enough, haven’t experienced enough, are gifted enough, strong enough, equipped enough, holy enough, the list goes on. This mindset of lack begins to have an impact on the quality of the people we begin to surround ourselves with as well. 

Paul Sohn writes in his final thoughts of quarter life calling, “…are you going to soar like an eagle or scratch like a chicken?” The fact is, God created me to “soar on wings like eagles” (Is. 40:31 NIV). Yet, for several years after college, I felt like I was living my life as a chicken scratching out a limited existence inside a chicken coop. I was surrounded by a bunch of chickens, so I started to act like one. I began to think, act, and dream like a chicken. I began to speak up less in meetings and found myself defaulting into complacency. After a countless amount of rejections from my innovative ideas, I became passive-aggressive. After a while, I found myself drinking the Kool-Aid. I forgot my true nature as an eagle and forgot to fly.”

In order to fly, you need to understand your purpose. Your calling. He goes on to instruct that we have multiple callings including primary and secondary callings. Your calling is not what you do, although what you do can play a part in it. First and foremost your calling is to be. I love this truth because at Bridge City Church we have core values that are not consumeristic in structure, but instead are designed to challenge you to step into the rhythm of a Christ centered life. 

One of those core values is To Be. To Be who God has called us to be, according to His will and purpose. Why are you bored? Because you are likely not actively engaged in being a follower of Christ. Why are you struggling? Because you may be trying to call the shots instead of allowing Him to lead you. Why are you angry? Because you have likely bought into a lifestyle of lies that are in contradiction to His Word. You become off centered in life when you are struggling to simply be a child of God saved by grace.

If you are active in being a follower, you are active in your primary calling and have established a center for all aspects of your life. If you are active in your primary calling it will become natural for you to be effective in engaging your secondary calling.

Your secondary calling consists of the things you do. We all share the calling to be a follower of Jesus Christ, but God has given each of us distinct things to do. Read Ephesians 2:10. It’s important that you believe the areas God has called you to influence will be forever changed by your impact. So many don’t move because they believe the lie that they aren’t needed.

Your secondary calling consists of your family, your church, your community, and your vocation. Do you believe your family, your church, your community, and your job need you? I assure you they do. Your presence, your gifts, your input, and your investment are valuable to all four of these areas within your secondary calling. 

You also have to be ready for your secondary callings to change over time. They will not remain the same. Especially in your teens and twenties. These callings might even change multiple times in the same year. You might lose friends in your teens or start a new sport which changes your circle of influence. In your twenties you might get married, change a job, or have a child of your own. But if you recognize your primary calling doesn’t change, you will be equipped to transition as needed in your secondary callings. 

This can seem like a lot. Will you have enough time? What about when one calling seems to be in conflict for time with another? Work with church or school with family? You went from being single to married or married to having children. Life seems to shift and become out of balance quickly. So it becomes natural for us to react to this and spin our wheels trying to balance compartments of our life with little to no success. That’s why it’s important for us not to balance our lives but to center them. Especially within the rapidly changing and quickly evolving days of our teens and twenties. If we can learn to center our lives, we can be effective in continuing to invest in our purpose.

In Jack Fortin’s The Centered Life, he provides a refreshing alternative to the balanced life, which he calls the centered life:

The problem with this [“balanced life”] is that it keeps us self-absorbed, and the elements of our lives rarely stay in balance. Think of what happens, for example, when you have a sick child. Your goal then is not to maintain a balance, but to take immediate care of that child. The alternative to a balanced life is a faithful life. It is a life faithful, moment by moment, to the God in whom we live and move and have our being. It is a centered life. The perfect example of the faithful life is Jesus Christ. Jesus often worked long hours despite the objections of his disciples, and at other times he withdrew from people and tended to his own needs for rest, reflection, and prayer… A life centered in the triune God gives identity and a place to stand in a chaotic and compartmentalized world. The Creator God is present in all I do. Christ is the example and provides the means for how I am to live and love in God’s world. The Holy Spirit is the voice within me that guides the way I live. With God as the center of my life, I know whose I am and can begin to discover who I am.”

I can tell you right now that my largest regret from my teens and early twenties was that I was self absorbed. What did I want to do. Where did I want to go. What did I need. What did I have. What didn’t I have. It was all pretty shallow and uneventful to be honest. For me, that changed when I married Jordyn. When she challenged me to go to church. When she challenged me to serve at church. When she challenged me to invest in church. In the end it all worked out and God redeemed lost time as the Holy Spirit led me in some of the greatest adventures I never anticipated having. But I often wonder how many Ephesians 2:10’s I missed out on because I wasn’t living a centered life overflowing in purpose when it was readily available to me.

The church is in desperate need of teens and twenty somethings who understand the importance of centering their lives in place of compartmentalizing them. Of believing their story will set the lives of others around them ablaze for Jesus. You don’t need a program, an event, or an experience to begin centering your life in Jesus and His purpose for you. You only need to be. Be present. Be available. Be willing. He will handle the rest!

- Love Pastor Luke