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Life and Ambition – A Reflection

February 16, 2020

For almost 21 years I served within an institution that rewarded ambition. If you completed the requisite Professional Military Education, and dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s” you will be rewarded for this work by promotion to the next higher rank.

I can tell you that it didn’t always work out that way. At some point in my career, I realized that ambition and promotion were hollow. At some point I realized that there was more to life than self-centered ambition. There was a calling deep within me to let go. To let ego go and to embrace the humble and life changing calling of God.

I am still processing a lot of what happened in my ministry in the military and after I retired. One thing that I can see is the call of God to continue to serve. That will be a central point of concentration in my Doctor of Ministry degree. The degree isn’t about me or about adding some letters after my name. It is about trying to understand and to process my life, my professional experience, and what God is calling me to do with all of it.

As regular readers of my blog know, Thomas Merton has been a significant part of that process. I couldn’t find the source of this quote from Merton but it truly resonates with me and the journey I am on. When ambition ends, happiness begins.

As I consider the ministry God has called me to, I also consider why I continue to serve. It really isn’t about me… it is about following God’s call… it is about something far greater than me. My prayer is that I will remember that and keep the focus on God’s call.

  1. A friend recently recalled how she heard a speaker early in her ministry say, “Love begins when competition ends.” Ego always gets in the way of love, but so hard to remember that.

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