– March 24, 2020 –
I was planning to be a panelist at KIROS Bellevue in March, before we cancelled the meeting due to the virus. Below is what I was planning to say about how KIROS has shaped my life. But I have added a brief comment about how KIROS has shaped my work in the current climate, and my desire to connect my work and faith at a deeper level today. I pray this might be helpful to you.
Chairman, KIROS Board
WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY
I’ve actually had 3 careers in my lifetime and until I walked into KIROS 8 years ago, there was zero connection between my work and my faith. I thought I did my best, worked hard and tried to achieve. There was always this wondering if “this was all it entailed” and “isn’t there anything more fulfilling?” I had a rough patch between career #2 and #3, and it was God taking me to my knees and bringing me to KIROS unexpectedly. The first meeting I was hooked! While I didn’t know the extent to which it would change my life, it was God who grabbed me and said this is the community I needed to learn from, to integrate my work and faith. There is no question, God directed me there.
Here are few of the things I’ve learned over those 8 years. My boss is now God, I give my days up to him and unabashedly ask for his help in hard times, give glory to him in the good times and even am thankful to him when I’m experiencing a tough stretch as I know he’s always there and will help.
(Psalms 40:1-2, I waited patiently for the Lord’s help; then he listened to me and heard my cry. He pulled me out of a dangerous pit, out of the deadly quicksand. He set me safely on a rock and made me secure).
(James 1:12, Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.”)
It’s really about saying, “I can’t do this myself”. Eight years ago, I started my own financial services practice where 85% of the people entering the career wash out. I’m still going strong and have become an independent financial advisor ONLY because I got on my knees at year 3 and asked for God to help. I gave up my practice to him and said, “This is yours, how do you want me to go about running it?” From there the business became something I could actually do. My continued prayer is to ask God to put people in front of me who could use my help and hopefully make a connection with Him. Each and every day I pray to him like he’s in my office, he’s my CEO. And that was not an easy concept for me to grasp and put into action.
The most difficult part of putting these things into action is quite honestly two road blocks. The first is just being soooo busy now, it’s hard to stop, look around, quiet my mind and focus on being present with our Lord. Almost every day I start with a prayer, and some days its noon or later before I have another word with him. The second is just changing habits. When all I’ve ever done in my life was rely on myself to get things done, manage my stress level myself (that doesn’t work so well now) and not involve God in any part of my work, that was difficult at first, but now it’s getting much easier. The other thing about the industry I’m in (and in many cases, not so different than many industries), is that it is full of people who are driven by money and accomplishment. Until I became independent, the pressure from the corporation was always there and it wasn’t about taking care of the clients, but more what could you sell them. Having Christian values is hard in this business because the right thing to do for the client is the right thing to do…whether it nets me revenue or not. That generally is in conflict with the corporate “motivations”.
God is completely alive in my work each day and it’s because I involve him as much as I can. I don’t think I’m any smarter than the next person, but having survived the gauntlet of building a successful financial services company when 85% of the people wash out is not because I did anything special, it’s because it’s his business, and I completely understand that. Yes, there are times I forget that, as I am human and quite imperfect. But the successes are all because of Him.
As you continue to work, it gets tougher and tougher to find motivation and meaning. My biggest hope for anyone that is part of the KIROS community or the business community at large is that they involve God and give each day up to Him. That in itself has made huge change in the way I approach work and view my part in this world. He is using my special talents, and I hope you let Him use your special talents. I’d also say to continue to learn HOW to do this and employ Christian principals to your work, meet for coffee with someone who’s done this and learn from them. Everyone is at a different part of their journey and I learn something every time I meet with someone and discuss these things.
In Him we give ALL the glory!!
WHAT THIS MEANS TO ME IN THIS PRESENT TIME
When I prepared these remarks, I was talking about business as usual. That is not where we are today. Rising unemployment, fear of the pandemic, a crashing stock market have all added to the environment in which we work (and sometimes can’t work). How does this look now?
Most obviously, you likely can’t go out to coffee with someone. So, use the wonders of our electronic connections to reach out to someone. Share encouragement and challenges. Some are isolated and afraid and may not reach out to you. Do physical distancing, not social distancing!
For my business, I face financial fear from clients every day. It would be easy to hide, and I know some who do this. But as Christians we must face truth. I have been spending lots of time on the phone, talking with clients, being as honest as I know, looking this thing straight in the face and seeking to help. Yes, some react negatively. Yes, it is exhausting. But it is part of what God has called me to do.
It might be helpful to think about Mordecai’s words to Esther:
“And who knows whether you have not come to [your position] for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
If you have time, it would be a good exercise to read the entire story of Esther—an important read “for such a time as this.”
KIROS Prayer Requests
Because of our commitment to the integration of work and faith at KIROS, we are especially sensitive to the current issues and want to stand with you in prayer. Please submit your business and workplace related prayer requests here, and our prayer team will commit to praying for you each week.
God is still on the throne. He is with us through this time. Be of good courage.
PS. If you would like to become a part of the prayer team, let us know. You will receive the prayer list each weekend, and we ask that you join with us (not physically) to pray for each request.