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?
…I wasn’t sure what he exactly meant by rest, but somehow I immediately sensed 2 things – I was going to be taking off time from the business, and I was going to be taking time away from being a deacon at my church.
Upon returning home from a one night stay in the hospital, and receiving an all-clear on my heart, I began my rest. I don’t think I ever slept as much in my adult life. I’d wake up in the morning, eat, read, and nap. In the afternoon, I’d take a walk, eat, and nap. At night, I’d watch TV, eat, and go to bed. This went on for 2-3 weeks. It’s like my body just did nothing but crave rest, and my wife, family, and staff supported me. Thank you for this gift, everyone.
During this time, I made decisions to start being healthy again. I began walking several miles a day, began drinking a lot more water, and started eating right (stopped all those carbs, excessive sweets, and multiple glasses of wine). Since then, I’ve lost 25 pounds and my walking has turned to running. I now run about 10-15 miles per week. I feel great, in fact, my health is better now than in any time in the last 10 years.
But, September 28 was not the “bottom”. The business ran while I was gone for 6 weeks, but the bleeding that began in June of 2009, didn’t stop and things finally hit bottom in January of 2010, ironically, on the 28th. On that day, Matt, I, and our CFO decided we could no longer bleed cash, and I made the call to lay off my entire staff. I thought September 28 was a bad day, how about shattering the hopes and dreams of a half-dozen people that I cared deeply about?
I sat there in shock. How the hell did we get to this point? Was I a failure? Did I do something wrong? Was it my staff? Was it our clients? Was it me? Would we make it? What would everyone think? What’s going to happen next?
Listen, to a proud man like me, being stripped of my identity as a provider, a successful entrepreneur, a leader in our church, a nationally recognized author and speaker, and former profitable business owner was like losing my life. But like a good Papa, a trip was in line for me to spend 5 days with my earthly dad in Florida. It was the worst time to go, but also the best time to go. It turns out those 5 days were critical in my recovery. I learned more about my dad, my family, and myself than I could have ever done at home. I wrote about my experience back in the spring.
In March, when finances for our family got to a critical stage, Father blew us away. Talk about answered prayer (but not giving us what we asked for) Father orchestrated an opportunity for my wife at her work. She was offered a significant promotion and a hefty raise – an amount that almost exactly covered our monthly expenses. What this meant for us though, was that she’d now have to leave at 5:30am and get home at 5:00pm 5 days a week. It meant that I would now become Mr. Mom, and be responsible for getting the girls ready for school, making breakfast, packing lunches, getting kids on and off the bus, helping with homework, coordinating play dates, taxiing kids to activities, and being one of the only men in our neighborhood that does this. Talk about an identity crisis!
But here’s the best part. I had been praying for a few years for Father to help me be a better dad – to help me get more time with my girls. Ha!! More answered prayer, but don’t you love the sense of humor Father has? I have all the time in the world to be with my girls now For me, I work from 8:30 to 3:00 and that’s it. I’ve got to be totally disciplined to be productive, and I get to spend more time with my kids than ever. AND I’M LOVING IT!!
As I describe this, it’s such a high-level summary. It doesn’t have the peaks and valleys I lived from day to day. There are months, and months, and months of process on this. Too much to write about, but let’s just say all these things have been used to take my old identity, burn it up, remake it, and birth a new person.
Something else has happened even greater – I discovered my Father. No, not my dad, my Father. Daddy, Papa, Father God. I discovered that I had 2 fathers – and earthly dad, and a heavenly Daddy. I learned I was a son of Most High God, and a King, a Priest, and a Prophet. I got to know who God is as a person, not just a inpersonal force. I wrote about that here
Do you know how amazing it is to discover Father as Daddy? To be loved without condition and given the rights of sonship in his Kingdom? I haven’t even begun to peel this back and I’m already overwhelmed. I have been shedding all this religious garbage I have been collecting for years, and gotten to the core of Father’s heart – to be in me, and to share life together.
Today is September 28, 2010, and I will not be in my office, I will be on assignment in Baltimore, MD. Instead of lying in a hospital bed, this year, I am spending time with Matt and a new client which is one of the most successful information marketing companies in the world. A client we could have only dreamed working with.
Here’s the best part. ?Neither Matt or I had anything to do with this, but I knew it was coming because of a supernatural moment.
I’ll explain what I mean in my next installment. You aren’t going to believe this story. I still can’t believe it, and I’m sitting here in a Baltimore hotel living it!!
…To Be Continued….