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Oct 29 / Bill

Final reflections on hidden addictions

On Hidden Addictions

October 29, 2011

A last, but not final word on hidden addictions

Many things have happened since the previous musings on this nasty topic, and I want to finish off my reflections for now. Since the posting of April, a number of friends have added to the discussion. And a Google search today hit me with 8,440,000 places I could go to drive me crazy.

This pause also challenged me to gaze deeply into my own inner landscape to discern my own past and present hidden addictions. It is encouraging to see that the Spirit of God has given victory over some of the past. But others linger, and here are two.

I think I have an inordinate draw to world news—like I can’t get enough of it. My desire to stay on top of global events, to “read the times” has sucked me into too many international news sites. So I am fasting in this area.

Overdosed on news; so little to nourish the soul if any

Technology, even new stuff, has not really been a problem to me, but the iPhone presents some new challenges. So I purpose NOT to carry it into the bedroom. We have a land-line phone for that.

iPhone and I, friends and adversaries

And the list of others, some more acceptable to the public and others hidden. You know what they are, for others and for you.

I fear that too many of my friends and colleagues are deeply bound by the hidden addiction of travel, even when they see the price their own family pays. This is distressing, and it reveals the power of the addiction. Take it from this elder: you WILL pay for this, some day, some how, and you will regret not having changed.

Why do even I think I am so vital to the Cause?

What can you do then?

I am convinced that every one of my world mission friends and colleagues would benefit from asking a trusted counselor-mentor to evaluate their travel schedule. Why is this that travel has such addictive power? Perhaps it’s because it gives us significance far from the mundane of our home, family and local life. Because it takes us out of the nitty-gritty stuff of parenting, fathering, husbanding. Because there is a kick to travel, especially the longer-term variety. Because travel, or being gone from home, for some of you has now become the “new normal” and being home the “ab-normal”. This simply reveals a pathology of the soul.

The world and I a click away

Years ago, when my elder daughter, Christine, was still in high school, I returned from one of my self-important trips, gave her a hug, but she simply asked, “When are you leaving again?” That comment stung me; I immediately went to my office, deeply disturbed; I took out the commitment calendar for the next year and began calling people, explaining that I would have to cancel my trips. I was honest with them and explained what was happening. It was gratifying that not a single church or mission leader criticized my decision; to the contrary, they affirmed it.

In that context, Yvonne and I began crafting a series of practical guidelines that would control acceptance of commitments that would take me away. Here they are, updated as of today.
Bill Taylor guidelines for travel and ministry commitments

Just let me travel SOMEWHERE important

1. Never accept an invitation until after two full days. Gove time for the invitation to germinate, to evaluate and listen to my peer mentors. If the invitation is related to TGC or the MC, I ask my Austin accountability team, Kyle and Brian to give wisdom.

2. Listen to Yvonne as my first-line accountability person who knows me deeply.

3. Listen to the Holy Spirit, gut-level, “rightness” of it. Be wary of some requests—test my motives and the temptation to accept an invitation. Let the invitation pass the “smell test”.

4. Consider responding with a “yes” but only if it:
4.1 Fits our commitment to the re-naming, calling and ministry platform TaylorGlobalConsult
4.2 Fits within the MC vision. It must clearly contribute to the advance of Christ’s kingdom.
4.3 Contributes to our financial support team and new financial streams

5. Determine the budget from the inviting organization for travel and honoraria.

6. Do not let my travel alone take me more than 20% of the nights per year and with a rare exception, no trip more than two weeks in length per year. If Yvonne travels with me, then the length of travel can be extended but only if she feels the trip has value-added to her.

7. Watch my health. I must decline invitations that exhaust me “getting there” or cause sickness once there. My medical doctor has a list of off-limit nations for me. Never make a back-to-back international trip without at least 10 days of down time in between. Recovery from jet lag now takes twice as long.

8. When I return from an extended trip, realize that I rightfully have “time off” at home to be totally present to Yvonne and home, as well as “down time” to recuperate from travel. Do not shy away from days of rest, recreation and recuperation.

9. Try to avoid all travel in April (family birthdays) and December. I commit to be home for our anniversary (June 30) and Yvonne’s birthday (October 26).

10. If people want my services as a consultant, ask them travel to Austin. If I travel, they pay expenses and per diem expenses or an honorarium.

May God have mercy on us and forgive us. May we have the courage to name the beast of the hidden addictions and break the cycle before it is too late. Get accountable and stay accountable. Some of you just won’t change because the addiction is a bondage! But some of you will change, thanks be to God.

Grappling with God

One Comment

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  1. Ron Regnier / Dec 3 2012

    Dear Bill,
    These remarks on hidden additions were highly appreciated. (your previous entry too)

    Your friend used a term like missionary machinery in motion and boy does that spin my grey matter wheels!! Ajith Fernando for nailed-it in To Serve is to Suffer stating the too often in the west we do not use an ethic of family, wereby we all slow down to accommodate. He coupled this remark with the idol in the west of productivity and efficiency (since 4 or 5 centuries).

    When I read him on this I immediately saw so much of what he was saying in much of my 25 yrs. of m-y experience, and sadly beyond words. Driveness is another word that has cropped up a lot over the years.

    Much more could be said but I will leave that as it may not serve us well.

    The blessings of Christ,


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