I’d finally “arrived.”
I was in the position I wanted at work, tasked with leading a large group of people toward a common vision. I was receiving a lot of praise for my efforts. My wife, Anna, and I were seven years into marriage, and it was going pretty well.Through some sort of miracle, we had just moved into our dream house. And after three years of trying to conceive a child we were staring at our own three-month- old daughter, Moriah. Life was playing out just as I had hoped.
Until it wasn’t.
Asking the Bigger Questions
It was an opportunity at work that brought me face-to-face with my reality. I was asked to be the keynote speaker at a multi-day event that included many of my peers as well as the teams they led. I was really excited for the opportunity, and I was ready! I would be at the platform a few times each day during the event, and looked forward to the chance to influence others.
Two days into the conference, I realized I was craving feed- back from people as soon as I walked off the stage. As each session ended, my desire for affirmation increased. I was desperate to hear. People did say nice things and affirmed my contribution, but it wasn’t enough—not even close! By the time the event concluded, I was reeling. I felt alone, iso- lated, confused, and downright angry that not more people had commented on my “performance.”
Yeah, that’s it. That’s what it was. It was a performance. I had stood in front of people on that stage, performing. Hoping. Sub- consciously begging my peers to tell me I was great. But what I soon came to realize was that I was not only performing on the stage for a few days during that event, but I was performing every single day. My entire life had become a stage.
I wish I could tell you I realized my propensity to perform in that moment of clarity, quickly remedied the problem, and moved on. But that isn’t how the story played out. In fact, things got worse as I returned home. Anger, depression, fear, loss of sleep, and unexplained medical issues set in. So, I started asking questions—big questions about faith, God, the impact of past experiences, and the importance of relationships.
At the end of this rather painful season of my life, two recurring themes emerged from my reflection: the terrifying presence of Fear and Control, and the notable absence of Peace.