Which one do you prefer, the Merry-Go-Round or the Roller-Coaster? Do you like things that are simple, predictable and safe? Or do you like to get the thrill of your lifetime taking dips, turns and screaming at the top of your lungs for it to stop?
If you go to the amusement park, you’ll see there is a line for the Roller Coaster but not one for the Merry-Go-Round. If there is a line, it’s filled with infants and grandparents. No one ever runs to get back in line for the Merry-Go-Round, but they do for the Roller Coaster.
At the beginning of the year for the Parks, the owners make a big deal about the new Roller Coaster. How scary it is, how fast, how your heart will bust out of your chest cause you’ll pull so many G’s.
You never hear a park manager talking about the new Merry-Go-Round and pretty new horses, the smoothness of the ride or the state of the art circle.
Basically people like to live life on the edge. People don’t want to be bored. That’s why the Roller Coasters are the big deal and the Merry-Go-Round is not.
Why is it then, that people want the Merry-Go-Round in their everyday life? They want a good safe predictable church, quite Bible Study groups, kids who are well behaved, safe secure 401k’s, universal HealthCare, jobs that never change, perfect marriages and retirements spent waiting to die in Florida at phase 23 of Boca, Del Boca Vista condo development.
I’ll tell you why. Because advertising, marketing and the church (Yes, the church) tell us it should be that way. We should have safe, secure, predictable lives. Think about it you are the perfect Christian if….
- Your kids attend Bible Study, go on mission trips, don’t swear or watch MTV.
- You don’t have sex before marriage, never fight and the husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church.
- You attend Crown financial and live well below your budget. Never having any financial issues, because you tithe, manage your money and live well below your means.
- Your business or work is smooth stable and has an impecible reputation.
I don’t know about you, but none of that matches my life. Basically, I violate all of those above and more. My life is full of ups, downs, twists, turns and anxiety. Hey, I’m human… okay?
My life looks like a warp speed Roller Coaster ride, pulling 4 g’s on the hard turns, making my stomach lurch, thinking I’m gonna vomit. Only to have the ride end, catch my breath and run to get back in line to do it again.
Why? Why do we do this to ourselves?
I’ll tell you why. God made us to experience adventure. He never intended us to live simple, boring, predictable lives. At least not those of us who Renegade Christian Entrepreneurs.
Life as a believer is to be a wild haired ride, with the wind whipping in your hair and bugs splattered on your teeth from grinning too much.
It’s the thrill of the twists and turns that makes life so darn enjoyable.
Most entrepreneurs I know get bored easily. They like to live on the edge, pushing the envelope of life. Many of my entrepreneur friends would have made great apostles. They would have loved the thrill of living on the edge, not knowing where they were going to sleep that night, eat that morning or if they’d be in prison by sundown.
Yeah, the Merry-Go-Round is safe, but it’s boring. I’d rather hear the click clack of the roller coaster and the screams of utter joy and terror.
What about you?
Those were the words uttered to me by my wife this morning as she was walking out the door. Her words of encouragement to me in a difficult morning.
You see, last night I got ‘fired’ from a volunteer organization. It appears that many of the parents didn’t like my ‘style’. They felt I was unapproachable, difficult, opinionated and not receptive.
All of that is true, I recognize it and don’t deny it one iota.
I am that way in business as well. With clients, staff members and even with Bob. I have been known to tell them the truth. Some like it, other don’t.
Take my business partnership with Bob. I’ve been known to spout off. I am sure I’ve pissed him off many times, with my crap. But to Bob’s credit he lets me be me. He let’s me spout off, get pissed off and be me. He doesn’t try to fix me. He gently guides me or coaches me in particular spots.
Bob exhibits a community of grace with me. As a friend, a business partner and a buddy. (So does my wife Sarah as well… for the record.)
What I experienced last night was a community of legalism. A group of parents, upset with me, went behind my back and talked to the leader to have me removed. An ‘us or him’ ultimatum. It was an easy decision for me. I stepped down. Not because they were right, because, I don’t want that kind of grief in my life. I have reached a point at the age of 43, that I no longer want to be around or associated with groups of people who won’t love me in the process I’m in.
That sounds a bit humanistic. “Love me as I am.” But the reality of this grace, communities of grace, allows people to flush out the process they are experiencing. People like my wife, Bob, my buddy Gunnar, Victor and others, allow me to be in that process.
They see me as I am and not as they want me to be. And they love me anyway.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a bit of a hot head. Opinionated, who tells people what I think and I don’t care if they like it or not. I know it’s not socially acceptable and that it needs to change. But instead of looking at all my short comings, or how far short I am of being the ‘Christian’ I’m supposed to be. Jesus puts his arm around me and shows me how far I’ve come with him at my side. He doesn’t point out everything I still have to do. He accepts me as he made me. Loves me in the process and allows me to come to him when I’m good and ready to work on the stuff.
Because everyone has something to work on.
For the first 40 years of my life, the bulk of my relationships were only an inch deep. Sure I had lots of ‘friends’ but they were a mile long and only an inch deep.
My friendship, all of them, were based on one specific motive in my life and that was to get money. I figured, if I had a bunch of money, then everything else would take care of it’s self.
My friendships, my marriage and my business dealings were all based on this belief.
If you had a business that could benefit me financially, then you became a good friend. I was willing to look past a lot of things to get the financial security I so desired.
My motive was money/financial security. My value in relationships was based on money and my actions reflected that motive.
It took me on planes across America on weekends to speak at events. I created products and business offerings all based on how much money I’d potentially make. Giving it up as soon as the profits stopped.
Of course, I was generous with my money. Afterall, that’s what a good Christian does. I gave freely at my church (well over 10%). There were missionaries I supported, intercessors, you name it. My total view of ‘money solves all things’.
Well guess what happened. When the money went away so did my ‘friendships’. In business, in life and oh in case you were wondering, in the church.
Especially in the church.
As soon as I no longer had money to give freely, those relationships disappeared. No longer invited to play golf with the key members of the church staff. No more lunches. I remember when I needed some legal help financially. I called a so called ‘friend’ in the church and guess what he said.
“Geez, I feel for you that you are going through that, I’ll pray for you, but I don’t know anyone that can help you.”
I didn’t hear from that guy for another 18 months. A staff member and pastor no less.
My marriage was based on money. I figured if I just gave Sarah money each month. Enough to support the family and for her to get what she wanted, everything was going to be okay. Afterall, I was a Christian Husband. Providing for my family, my wife and making sure she was taken care of in the right manner.
Basically, I was an empty suit.
Now, life is much different. My goal is to have just a few relationships, but to go 20 miles deep. And here’s the funny thing. None of those relationships are found in traditional church, bible study or a life group.
I mean, if I have to go to a life group and ask you how things are going, then you aren’t much of a friend. A true friend would check in or text, or needle you throughout the week. (It’s what guys do ladies, it’s how we show ‘love’.)
Now my motive is deep relationships. With my wife, my kids, my friends. I value getting to know people in a deeper way. Not to fix em or study scripture together, but to just hang out. Walk through life together and if they want to share, great, if we talk football great.
It changes the way I look at my week. Now I take time to have longer lunches with friends. My business decisions are based on relationships, not money. I give of myself more freely with my time.
I’ll leave you with this example. A few weeks ago, I got an email from another successful online marketer. I’ve known of him for some time. We have a mutual friend.
He emailed me as he wanted to talk to me about a particular business model that I have a ton of experience in running and marketing.
He was willing to pay for my time. I thought about charging him $800 for two hours of my time.
Instead, I gave of my time freely. We got on the phone and just talked. No agenda, no nothing. Just two business owners talking about stuff.
At the end, a relationship was formed. I don’t know how deep it will go. But you never know. That is worth more than $400 bucks an hour.