“We choose our occupation and profession without a moment’s thought as to God’s will in the matter. We spend our money and our time with no thought but for our own personal pleasure, and the thought of God, if it enters our mind at all, is pushed aside as a disagreeable and unwelcome thing and we will have none of it.”
—James Madison Stifler, The Christ of Christianity—A Study of Luke and Acts
On my 39th birthday, my good friend and mentor, Jeff, took me out for a burger and suggested I have a beer too. After watching me run around like a crazed man, struggling financially and in other areas of my life, he asked one simple question that changed my life: “Have you ever asked God what He thought you should do?”
Hmm, what a novel concept! I was a new dad, and having come out of 2008 severely bruised by the financial downturn and still running my own young financial planning firm, I was pressing hard to provide for my family, working sixty-five hours per week. All the while, my most important relationships were suffering. I was putting God; my wife, Nicole; and Luke, my young son on the back burner.
I was worried and scared and trying anything I could to make things happen, while living a life that was not congruent to my reality. I was not only living a “fake life,” I was living life my own way, never thinking that I should check in with the Creator of the universe to see what He thought I should do with the life He had given me.
Making Jesus the CEO of My Life
After that, I started making major changes in my life. Jeff suggested that I S.H.E.D. (“Seek Him Every Day”) and pray about possibly giving up everything burdening my life. Immediately after that “burger/beer lunch,” God put it on my heart for us to move from Los Angeles to the SF Bay Area, where Nicole could help her parents in their business.
It seemed as if I was “way off course” on many areas of my life as I slowed down more and more and prayed about all the activities I was doing.
When I landed in the Bay Area in the spring of 2012, just six months later, I looked back and saw my life had changed radically. I was stunned but felt a sense of peace knowing that for the first time in my life I was trying to be in line with what God wanted. I had made Jesus my Lord, the CEO of my life, my King.
I started working forty hours per week in order to spend more time with Luke and for Nicole to have personal time to spend with God.
When I look at these three major components of my life—calendar, cash, and calling—I can’t imagine what my life would look like now if I was not following King Jesus. I am so thankful for God’s grace and mercy and how excited I am most mornings to spend time with God to know Him better and learn His ways.
Here are the specific changes I made in 2012 in these three categories:
- Started working 40 hours per week and spending more time with Luke, which gave Nicole more time to spend with God
- Created relationships with my neighbors, who also had young kids, who did not have a relationship with Jesus
- Started volunteering regularly at church
- Started spending much more time with God in the mornings, praying, fasting, and journaling more than ever before
- Resigned off of a board at a hospital and on a committee at a local nonprofit
- Stopped working out 5 times per week.
- Stopped leading a Bible study at a golf club.
- Started tithing off of the gross income
- Stopped going into more debt
- Started to take very seriously my relationship with Jesus and God and learned how the Holy Spirit can be my power in this crazy world
- I learned to know God more and make Him my main priority in my life
As you can see, my transformation first started with my calendar. Hence I place that first in order of importance, from my perspective. Getting my schedule right, in line with my priorities, helped me live out my mission (see this post which helped me to pass the “three-question test” by the end of 2012.
What do you think God is calling you to give up in order for you to step into what He has for you?
Start today praying to Him to reveal what He wants your life to look life. If you “S.H.E.D.” what might not be from Him and step into what is from Him, you will be happy you did.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll share with you more how God changed His calendar, His cash, and His calling that He has entrusted to me.