CATCHING UP TO MY HEART
A story from Dan.
In the spring of 2015 my friend Matt and I were walking through Killing Lions by John and Sam Eldridge. He was seeing that I was resonating with a lot of the message of the book and suggested that I look into this weekend retreat that his friend Pete puts on every spring. He also said that if I volunteered to serve food and do some dishes that I could go for free.
Free is good. I can do free, I thought to myself… I don’t want to say I was a complete lost mess. But I kinda was. I was in my mid 20s, fully educated, fully employed at a job that I certainly didn’t need a degree to justify, still living with my parents, and at the start of a diet and exercise program that I would go and lose around 90 pounds. I was pretty insecure and used jokes and self-depreciating humor in a way to get people to like me. I wasn’t unlikable, but I wasn’t exactly a magnetic person.
I can’t speak on how the content of the weekend changed everything, but what I can speak on was that the weekend introduced me to some new language to express myself and how I was feeling deep inside. The weekend introduced me to a group of men that I could be the real me around. I didn’t need to deliver my finely crafted victim story of how a guy could graduate from the University of Michigan, and find himself working at a plastics factory with underachieving peers. I could just be me.
A guy on the upswing.
And it’s been 3 years since then, and it’s safe to say that so much has changed.
A year ago, at the MI True Pursuits 2017 weekend, I was at a crossroads. I was still working at the factory, but my web design business had grown from a hobby with the need for tax records, to a nearly uncontrollable side job. I was the owner of house that I purchased in 2015, and had 3 people renting rooms from me, I had learned a lot about who I was, and in general was probably a little better to be around. I was healthier, but I had a big decision to make.
A few weeks earlier I had taken a voluntary layoff from the factory. The plant had a number of lines that had to go down for 6 weeks, and they needed to cut the workforce for that period of time. I had a backlog of web design work to catch up on, and I could see that this would be a perfect time to have a dress rehearsal for full-time self-employment. When the weekend hit, I was in week 4 of the proposed 6-week layoff, and I was hoping I’d hear from God some sort of message about what direction I should go.
I have known for a while that God put some entrepreneurial energy in me on purpose. I’ve been given the names Maverick and Provider, but these are stories for another time. Everything was pointing at the fact that I was close to making ‘The Jump’ as I frequently would call it. The Jump into the business world, into so much uncertainty… into self-employment.
The side business wasn’t quite making as much as the full-time job, but it was getting closer each month. On Saturday evening, Matt Emhoff, Dan Bumford and I (guys that I feel privileged to call my friends) were the last men at the fire, and I was telling them of my current situation.
What should I do?
Should I take ‘The Jump’?
Matt Emhoff listened quietly and replied with a bit of an earth shocker.
“I think your heart has already made its decision, and it’s just waiting for your head to catch up”
He wasn’t wrong.
As the night concluded and I woke up the next day, I knew that over the next couple days, that I would have to go into the factory and give a two weeks notice, or at least a warning that I wasn’t going to return from the layoff. I was excited, but admittedly pretty nervous.
It wasn’t much of a surprise that on my way home from the weekend, I checked my voicemail and had a call from the Factory. A call back saying that I was to be back on the line that next day. And I knew what had to be done. I had a week of client meetings ahead that I was no longer willing to flake out on them for a manufacturing job. That next morning, with a ridiculous amount of trepidation, I went in to give a resignation, effective immediately. It was time to give it a shot. Time to make the jump.
Over the next two weeks, I had 3 new full-build website proposals come back that they were ready to start development, and also finally had heard back on a contract with a giant Christian organization– they were ready to start sending us work.
I jumped and God was ready to go with.
Would this have happened without the Guys at TP and the message they share? It’s honestly hard to say. The quality of relationships that have been forged around a bonfire at these weekends are the kinds of relationships that can propel you into the life that God has for you. I know that I have received immense value from the words of affirmation, marathon conversations about strengths and the encouragement to spend the time to create a habit of solitude.
These men have become some of my closest friends, while also creating the space for me to hear God’s heart for me and my journey ahead. I’m excited to see acceleration happen in my life in each year that we return to the True Pursuit Weekend, and I’m excited to see what God has for me next.