On Tuesday, March 22nd, I’ll turn 57. I do not know if 57 ought to “feel” a certain way, but do know it doesn’t feel “old.” In January while reading a story in which a man was described as being 53, I distinctly remember thinking – “Wow, that’s old,” – only then to think, “Shimer—you are older than that!”

That’s the strangest thing about age – the years march forward, but within, we are still young at heart. I remember Willa Hayes, who died at 101, used to say often, “Brian, I don’t feel that old. Inside I don’t feel any different than when I was 20!” And from Willa I learned that age is all about attitude. She was the one who, in her 90s, during an ice storm, had crawled out across her driveway from the house (for fear of falling!) to her barn to do her chores. She never would have just “not done those chores.”

I used to wonder about what she said, but as the years have marched on, I began to get it. Inside God is on a renewal program that just won’t quit, while the body is “dying because of sin,” as Paul wrote.

Saturday I attended a memorial service for this marvelous guy who died at the young age of 42 leaving his wife and 12 children behind. He was the most dynamic and youngest 42 you can imagine. At that memorial I began to reflect on the reason for life, our purpose.

The packed church alone spoke of the impact his life had had. In addition every speaker elucidated God’s work through the life of this man who had lived with abandon. Purpose was not what Matthew had sought to achieve, but purpose was what God had achieved through Matthew. God made Matthew Hiller great and used him to touch many lives for Christ with immense love.

As I sat there and looked back at my 57 years I realized that that is the same way God is achieving purpose through my life as well. I may have a dream, a vision, a calling, but God is the one who will achieve some purpose through me in that, not me by trying to bring it about. And it is God who has already worked through this life in many ways.

It was back in November that God said to me: “You are not to try to become what you believe I WANT you to be.” God brings purpose through my life – like the fruit of a tree. I’m not to try to make that happen. Then just the other day, God spoke to me as I prayed an oft-repeated prayer — “Lord make me the man you want me to be.” And all at once, I had this immediate response in my heart: “You already are.”

If I can internalize this, 57 will be a momentous year for me. In addition with the advent of this Camino Sabbatical, God has plans to remake me and live His purpose through me, in ways I cannot now anticipate. But of this I am convinced, God will do it.



About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
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1 Response to 57

  1. Dona Reeves says:

    So nice… so true…so you.


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