Pursuing Your Passions with a Sound Mind
- Stanton Lanier Sound Mind Investing
- 2011 6 Jun
In 1994, at the age of 30, I surrendered my career life to God and asked Him to show me what He wanted me to do. This came after getting an MBA and spending five years in consulting and sales. The time had come to trust God 100% instead of asking Him to join me in what I was doing.
In 1995, God called me to Ronald Blue and Co. to become a financial planner. It was the clearest sense of direction I had experienced in my life. So clear, in fact, that I thought the greatest blessing was that I had finally found my life calling. It was a joy and a privilege to wake up each day and give financial counsel to clients based on a biblical perspective.
Working with clients on financial and life stewardship caused me to ask myself the same questions I would ask them: How much is enough? What are your passions?
As I reflected, my heart was stirred to revive a lifelong passion: playing the piano and writing songs. "Baby steps" of faith led me to a place where God inspired me to compose instrumental melodies to help people slow down and experience His peace. The next year, I released my first CD and gave it away to friends, clients and co-workers. More and more people began to enjoy and share my music. Two more albums followed.
In the summer of 2004, I left Ronald Blue and Co. — the place to which I had felt such a strong call nine years earlier — to become a full-time pianist and composer. As it turned out, the greatest blessing of my call to that firm was not that it was a life calling. Instead, the greatest blessing was that through my work in giving financial counsel that I had learned God would speak to me and I could hear His voice if my heart was surrendered to Him.
The improbability of my career shifting from money to music is a miracle and a mystery that has stretched our faith, but God has been faithful.
The principles taught in the Sound Mind Investing newsletter were vital in giving my wife and me the financial ability to follow God's call. We both worked before having children, lived well within our means, and paid off all of our debts except our home mortgage. We made extra principal payments over time and were able to convert from a 30-year to a 15-year mortgage with the same payment. We maximized and diversified our retirement savings using SMI recommendations for money market and mutual funds. God also challenged us to give more during these years.
Below are four additional steps and Scriptures that have had a powerful impact on our faith journey. I hope they inspire and encourage you to pursue your passions with a sound mind.
1. Invest. In 1999 I had a stirring in my heart that I was supposed to invest in a keyboard and computer to record some songs I had written in high school. God's voice just would not go away on this, so I gathered information for six months, waited upon the Lord, and took action steps to obey and invest. Following this, God revealed a new idea to create solo piano pieces from Scripture to "bring peace to the soul." "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).
2. Invigorate. What is it that invigorates you (i.e. refreshes, revitalizes, stimulates, enlivens, energizes, rejuvenates, animates, strengthens, livens you up)? Make sure to integrate whatever "it" is into your life, even if this means just a few minutes each day or a few hours each week. Make the most of life right now where you are. "I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free" (Psalm 119:32).
3. Invite. After you have prayerfully asked God to speak, waited upon Him, listened for His voice, obeyed what He says, and clarified the vision He has revealed to you, you are ready to invite others to pray for you and even contribute to your cause. Ask God to help you seek to please Him. "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24).
4. Imitate. Imitate the faith of others who are surrendered to God and seeking His will in their lives. Spend time with them and learn from them. Imitate Jesus' desire to please the Father. So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?' Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:6-7).
The latest work by Stanton Lanier (Pianist of Peace™) is "A Thousand Years," an acclaimed CD released in 2011. Visit StantonLanier.com to learn more.
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