Recently, I had a conversation with the founder of Hope for the Silent Voices, Eric Lyons. The not-for-profit organization brings attention and resources to the severely neglected, disadvantaged, abused, and discarded children and teenagers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The world changer calls himself a voice for the vulnerable to spread hope.
David: What’s your advice to live our best life?
Eric: Find some discipline. Find some structure. Don’t wait for that life to unfold for you because goals, dreams, and ambitions don’t just happen because you wake up and you open your eyes, and all of a sudden, the buffet of all your hopes and dreams is there spread out on the table.
Don’t get me wrong. It can happen that way, for sure. God’s in the business of miracles, but I believe the more accurate, more consistent occurrence is that we take an actionable, intentional step towards that goal, dream, or ambition every day.
And we figure out and spend time each day trying to determine how we are gifted through prayer, counsel, and reviewing the landscape of our past. What we love to do.
Yes. You can journal. Journal the things that you love doing. Journal about the things you believe are unique to you, and that’s the basis of a great list to review. That may be how you have been gifted or intentionally blessed to impact the world around you.
Take a small step every day. The night before, be intentional. What action do you need to take the next day to discover what this will be about?
As you take those baby steps, you fall sometimes.
You get up. And that is okay. It’s life.
But you keep stepping.
The only real bad mistakes are if you stop stepping.
If you have paralysis by over-analysis, you don’t make a step in any direction. God will meet you there. He promises never to leave you nor abandon you.
David: I’ve found that we find true meaning and joy in life when we respond to God’s calling, and I think your life highlights start so well because — it doesn’t mean it’s easy, that it’s always clear. It doesn’t mean that you are always blessed, whatever.
This is the message of Paul the Apostle, who said, “Rejoice always.” And that’s so much more profound. This season of life is, for certain people, very challenging.
You and I have found ways to make meaning or unlock meaning in this season of life. So hence my question. How has your singleness enabled you to follow God into this adventure you’re living with God?
Eric: What comes to mind is something I know you’re familiar with: living in the GAIN, not the GAP.
Life is a journey. It’s not a destination. And fantastic relationships sound amazing, and they would be.
I don’t see singleness any longer as a void. To borrow from you, I see that as a season living in the game, meaning I have every day the opportunity to go out and crush our mission to be a voice for the vulnerable, regardless of whether I’m single or married.
Many people get so worried and focused on that destination and all that life is passing by. Scripting out my days and having a good idea of where I want to impact daily helps keep me mentally, cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually directed toward that destination spot.
And if I don’t have that guidance, I don’t have that action plan. Then I’m prone to be human and spend much time listening to the devil on the shoulder instead of the angel. And it’s a choice. We can dwell on what’s missing or look at the beauty of what exists and continue to focus on that. And I can focus on the development of myself, and that person is becoming who I need to be for that ultimate relationship whenever it shows up.
David: What is the number one advice you would give to a single out there who wants to unlock meaning in his or her season of life? What is that thing?
Eric: Discover what you love to do or are passionate about that influences and positively impacts the world around you. People should not have to dig too deep to develop a little idea of what that might be.
God has given us all skill sets, passions, abilities, and marching orders that are out there to be discovered. They seem elusive to people, but they’re elusive because they step with one foot, but the back foot still is attached to the ball and chain. That’s not stepping into your life for the discovery of what you’re here to do, what you’re passionate about and purposeful about.
Eric: I believe that God wants us to step out in faith, not just pray in faith. He wants us to step out in faith because that’s where we meet him and learn to trust in his providence.
Make a genuinely concerted effort. Even if it goes against the grain of self-discovery, try things. What is something you’re passionate about that is uniquely implanted and parted into you?
People get so focused on what they believe is their destination point when the journey of discovery along life, oftentimes for me, has led me in a different direction than the destination I thought I was headed to.
I had a chronic ability to penalize and incriminate myself whenever I did something wrong, thought something wrong, or felt that I was not in alignment with God’s best.
God is not just sitting on his throne with his arms folded, waiting to dole out punishment. He loves, first and foremost. And that was such an impediment to me for so long, unburdening myself of the carnage of the life I had lived for so long before discovering this path.
And I hope people will hear that and not get lost in self-criticism. I think we go so sideways, wanting to consider ourselves scum of the earth or stupid or whatever that impediment is, whatever that voice is on that shoulder, that’s not the God, the Father that I believe exists.
David: It’s about getting started, taking a small step every day, and being consistent. And that’s how we see those significant results. That’s how we’re going to move mountains. That’s how we will change cities and people’s lives like you are doing, Eric.