I was writing our annual Christmas letter (to be published here later this week) and trying to take an honest look at 2010.  It’s been an incredible year.  And, without question, it has been the most demanding year I’ve ever had.  We were expanding our emphasis on serving the community, launching new campuses and church planting in Liberia, but I think that was the small part of it.

I started to add up how much I’ve been gone from home and church because I think it not being physically present is single-biggest factor to take things from busy to chaotic, to challenge relational connections,  and to add stress exponentially.  The short answer is…”too much”.  The really short answer is…83.

In 2010, I spent 83 nights somewhere other than my own bed.  All of it was good stuff. There was family time… vacation, holidays, and more.  There was Suncrest stuff…a trip to Africa, meetings in Dallas, Boston, Orlando.  There were other opportunities I’ve been graciously given to teach or learn…in New Hampshire, India, and Crawfordsville.

As good as all of it was, I’m not doing that again.  (At least not until the kids are out of the house and Jenny can travel with me!)  I can’t eliminate all of it and some great family stuff is already blocked out for 2011.  Still, I’m pretty sure everyone’s life around me will be better if I step back dramatically for a year and then set a reasonable schedule moving forward.  I told a friend jokingly this morning that my goal is not to get on an airplane in 2011!  Wonder if I could pull that off?

I want this to be more than just a reflection about me, though.  I’ve thought about my travel and how I got to this point.  Can I be really candid about the answers?  I share them here hoping they could help you do a little year-end assessment too.  I think these answers apply far beyond my travel schedule.

How did I get to this point?

1.  My ego. There is still a little sizzle about how cool it is to travel a lot.  And when I’m honest, it can quickly internally twist to how cool/important I must be because of all of this.  I felt it even as I typed out all those cities and countries above.  It is not accurate…and sickening to write, but will never be overcome if it isn’t faced.

2.  Fear of missed opportunities. I remember the first time I gt asked to travel to the Philippines to teach/speak.  It was a terrible time to leave and very short notice (I was a late-substitute for the guy they really wanted to go!).  But I thought, I can’t pass this up.  I may never get the chance to do something like this again.  While there is some truth in that, I find myself justifying trips with this logic rather than choosing the best thing for my time.

3.  Others Expectations. All of us are tugged in different directions.  And I like to make people happy.  Meet their expectations.  Respond to their need.  Rescue their situation.  So I say “yes”…alot.  Then, I notice how meeting someone’s expectations costs me with the people I care the most about.  I’m starting to get this one right, but know it will be a constant battle.  I canceled 2 trips this year after they were on my calendar already…when I realized I have to prioritize what will make me the best husband, father, and pastor…not just respond to other people’s desires.

That’s it.  I hope it gives you something to think about.  Happier posts for the rest of 2010…I promise. 🙂

~ by Greg Lee on December 22, 2010.

4 Responses to “83”

  1. I read your post Greg, with an overwhelming amount of gratitude. I believe all of us at Suncrest have missed you greatly this past year, but also supported and loved your concern and love for those outside of your family and your church family. We know you have touched lives in an amazing way, and that your desire to help plant churches is a desire that God has placed on your heart. I am glad you were obedient, as it sets a Godly example for your church family to follow. I pray that you will not look back on the past year with any regrets because we all learned a great deal about getting “out of ourselves” and being aware that there is a world of opportunities to do God’s work, even if it means making sacrifices. With that said, I am just as grateful for the decision you have made to “take a rest” from the demands that the past year has put on your life and the lives of those who love you. Thank you for the example you have been to me. Yes, I, along with many others have missed you, but gained so much from your absence also. I am so proud to have you for my Pastor. I believe God has an amazing year and many blessings planned for you and your family. God bless you, Ruth Ann

  2. The other night Billy Graham was being interviewed. He was asked what he would do differently in his life if he could. His answer was very much in line with your decision. He said he would travel less and study and pray more. Just thought it was interesting. May God bless you and your family this Christmas. We love you right back!

  3. As always, praying for you and your family. Love you all!

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