When January 1 of 2014 rolled around…the normal “Tony” way of doing things is to pray, get a vision, cast the future vision, carve it in the stone, and set off with your army of commitments. 2014 was no different. On January 1, I had this switch in my mind that I flipped…a cornerstone set in place to build something on. I made a decision and declared that this was the year that I would get serious with God. This was the year I would focus on friendships and build community! This would be the year for getting involved in ministries that would change Cincinnati… I had visions of being on God’s Seal Team 6.

And then…
Something happened that I could not have predicted happened…the life I had been living…continued to deconstruct. My community continued to reconfigure itself into smaller circles largely without me, my work continued to be sporadic, and the commitment to work towards deepening my faith was waining mid-year, and by the end of the year, I was in the same spot.

It’s hard to describe what transpired in my heart…I mean, here I was making a vow to push in, to push on, to dig deeper….and it was met with emptiness and disappointment. The winning season you expected did not end at the Super Bowl, it ended with going back the locker room with no one wanting to interview you.

Life takes turns we don’t get sometimes. You work and strive and sweat and struggle to produce results. As a Christian, you ask God into those things, ask Him to bless it, make it fruitful and multiply it…because that’s what you do when you’re a Christian.
But what happens when you ask God to bless a relationship and it goes the other direction? What happens when your problems at work get worse? What happens when “happily ever after” becomes “and then it ended”?

I was living this life, but it wasn’t the life of abundance. It was lonely, it was filled with emptiness, it lacked purpose and direction, I wasn’t challenged in ways that I was being stretched, I wasn’t growing…
….and worst of all, it haunted me because I knew it.
So this is where I write the perfect prayer…talk about finding God’s pixie dust and sprinkle it on and everything gets light and fluffy? Not really.

See, I’m in the middle of transition, where I can’t see over the hill yet, where darkness is still holding back the dawn. You look, you pray, you invite God in and it all falls apart. What’s this all about, you ask?

In asking God into our lives, in a sincere request to have Him in our lives, He often begins to do exactly what we’ve asked him to do. Here’s where it gets interesting…you ask Him to perfect the story you’re trying to write.
YOU’RE trying to write…did you catch that?
In our lives, there’s a thousand times we’ve climbed that hill, fought tooth and nail to get it…and it wasn’t the right hill, or, once you’ve gained the position and planted the flag, you spot the hill you should have fought for.
You dated that person, got through all those ugly fights, to find out they were never right for you in the first place.
You saved your money forever to buy that thing that you outgrew in 30 days…or it broke down a week later.
You dedicated your life to God… and the life you were living fell apart.

It’s not as if God doesn’t care, He does. He’s interested in you SO much, that He wants more for you that you even want for yourself. He doesn’t want you to settle for your best, he wants to settle on giving you HIS best.

As much as it pains me to say this…I’m at mid-life. The journey is half over and the time is becoming precious. I’ve asked him into my life to make sure that the time I have left is filled with an incredible journey of memories and adventures and hills that I will remember fighting for because they were the hills that He fought with me.
If you ask God into your life, to help you in the most critical times, take inventory that you are actually letting Him help you in the story He wants to write our for you, and for your benefit. If you’re asking Him to help you in your story, then know you’re story, your vision, may be too small, too narrow for you. The story that God has for you fits into His story that spans for the time of Adam to the end where every knee bows.

You see, your story may not include Him…but His story includes you.
Decide the part you want to play.