This is a business and personal development blog, but if you have read here for a while now, you have learned some things about me (Mark Sturgell) and now my partner, Becky Morris. One thing you will know is our faith in Christ and how we try (and try…) to live by faith; this is the foundation of our values-driven business. If you don’t share our faith, that’s fine. Please keep reading anyway. I believe it is my place to invite, not judge, so consider this a friendly invitation to just keep reading because you appreciate what we share at The Intersection of Purpose and Now.
I am going to dig into the effects of our faith more than usual today. You see, I was struck by the lyrics of the popular Matt Redman song, “You Never Let Go“, this morning at First Christian Church. Here are the lyrics from the song’s chorus:
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go Lord,
You never let go of me
Last year was a very good year for me and my business. This year, not so good. We have had our personal trials and in business as well. So many business decision-makers – our prospective clients – have stopped making decisions, excusing themselves with the victim mantra of “wait and see what happens” with the economy, etc. I have had to become much more proactive and innovative with my business since so many others have become nonactive and stagnate (after all, reducing costs grows nothing). It took a couple of months to adjust strategy, and we are turning things around.
I have experienced great anxiety in these months. My family has had to watch our expenses far beyond anything my wife or I have experienced in our lifetimes. We have had to free up some long-term investments to pay for short-term expenses on our goals. We have built up some debt that we certainly don’t like. Thank God, she has a secure, well-paying job. We have gotten by and business is improving.
But throughout these months of admitted fear, near-depression and fitfull nights of sleep, I have been comforted and strengthened by prayer: my own prayers, the prayer and support of my partner, Becky Morris, and the prayers of my Christian community with whom I have openly shared my situation and weaknesses.
Prayer has helped me spend less energy on making plans for God, and more energy seeking God, as author Mark Batterson writes In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Batterson writes:
“Faith doesn’t reduce uncertainty. Faith embraces uncertainty…”
Despite my fears and tenuous emotions, I have also held onto a firm hope. In the past 30 days, that hope has grown even stronger, not that our financial situation is “back to normal”, but because I have been strengthened by hope in God. In fact, I have a certain “kick in my step”, a joy that would be hard for some to understand. When others hope for a quick turnaround, I have found myself celebrating the fact that I need hope, now more than ever. I need God.
I believe the stronger and truer your source of hope, the less you can distinguish your need for hope from your desire for celebration. That’s the reason the Matt Redmon song struck me so this morning. As I sang along and took the words to heart, I recognized that one could sing this song as a prayer for hope or a song of celebration. The longer we sang, the more I realized there was no separation between hope and joy for me. As a result, there can be no despair.
When times are tough, people hope for improved circumstances. When their circumstances improve, people celebrate. That is the typical approach. I experience something different and I know I am not alone.
When times are tough, I celebrate! I don’t hope for something to celebrate. I celebrate because I have hope, hope borne of the possibilities of knowing God’s plans are greater than mine ever could be.
If you are struggling, if you are at a “low point”, if your hope has grown thin…then consider the source of your hope. The source of my hope is reason to celebrate. As we do so often here at The Intersection of Purpose and Now, I invite you to join me. I hope you do.