Read an Excerpt
When first considering the title Mastering Life, I felt that it was overstated -- pretentious even. Would it be possible to deliver on such a grand theme? Indeed, could a book written by any author carry out such an ambitious goal? That, of course, is the point. Such a book does not exist and will not exist. Even the Bible does not make such a claim. What it does present to those who embrace it with an open heart, is a record of the Creator of the universe breaking into human history. This record, accurately recorded, included flawed and imperfect humanity wrestling with what this message might mean.
Today, as its pages are opened, our thoughts are transported into possibilities that would have moments earlier seemed distant and unattainable. Then, as each one presses toward these possibilities with a tenacious faith, the experience of God touches our hearts at a deeply personal level. It is this encounter that transforms daily experiences -- enduing them with far-reaching implications and practical life-changing realities.
These implications and life-changing realities need to be clearly identified as each person walks the walk of faith. It is in the doing that the mastering of life takes place. In it we discover that, even when alternating between days of dreary sameness, moments of terrifying violence, and those blessed times of gentleness and safety, the experience of life is always true. And this primary reality is at the heart of all that is. Life is, and always has been, an education. When we fail to recognize the hand of the Master, and the teaching of the Spirit, we miss the essential life-transforming nature of each moment's lesson. But for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, all of life comes alive with meaning. Life is the miracle -- all the miracle any of us needs to be fully formed by the Spirit into sons and daughters of God.
As such, we are uniquely made in God's image. Coming into agreement with His intention for our lives -- we cannot fail! That's right. God has placed us on this earth to succeed. The twists, turns, ups, and downs of this ride we call life are all essential. God has factored each into His overall intention for our lives. As you read this book, it is my hope that you will come to know and trust the true Master of Life as the One who created and put into place this journey for your benefit. I believe we cannot help but become what God wants us to become. Abundant life is not a distant hope but a present reality.
As a rising tide lifts all the ships in the harbor, so also an increased level of personal competency, that is, mastering the skill of living, will benefit every other area of life. The skill is in mastering life for ourselves -- not fearing the sudden twists and turns. Again, failure is not an option. Our every perceived failure has been accounted for. God has already woven every trauma, tragedy, disappointment, and discouragement into the fabric of each life.
So how do we begin? Mastering Life presents a natural and spontaneous view of Christian growth. It also gives a specific procedure for encouraging that growth -- in agreement with our primary counselor, God's Holy Spirit. As you continue to read, you will discover that God has given each of us an imagination as our fundamental resource. You will learn how to use it to create a new picture of life by unlocking a vision without the everyday problems, deliberately creating a new vision of your future, and getting on track toward living that vision today. You will learn how to trust in God's intention and purpose during experiences that would once have caused great distress. Although this initially seems to be a mystery, Christ is being formed in you. You are developing the mind of Christ, the ability to see options and possibilities in the midst of the storm. But it takes the proper use of your God-given imagination.
Then you will be happy to learn that you are the expert on your life, and you can learn how to intentionally come into agreement with the Master. This acceptance of personal responsibility will put you into the very heart of the transforming design of the Holy Spirit. You can create a vision of your future where you are taking greater action to solve your own problems. The goal will be to initiate a pattern for future success -- rather than focusing on past failures. Vague goals are hard to visualize and even harder to accomplish. Specific goals will provide for you a sense of how you will know when you are on track.
Yet, from time to time you will get stuck. You will learn that your problems need not represent symptoms of deeper dysfunctions. Rather, they more often represent the confines of your present perceptions. You will learn about the honest limitations of your brain's neural pathways and the incredible truth that you are created to have access into God's thought patterns -- the mind of Christ. Then, after you have been told again and again by the world that change is difficult -- or even impossible -- you will come to realize that change is actually inevitable. You can learn to seize the opportunity to change in a way that leads toward new solutions rather than toward a continuation of old or present problems. As you see this, you will discover that nothing is quite so ordinary and obvious as it first appears. Indeed, God is found in the obvious and the ordinary. You are being rewritten by His love.