This Post is Overdue

May 24, 2018 v5 p9

I haven’t been posting as regularly as I have in past, and at first I wasn’t sure why.  I think I may have figured out the reason.

Over the course of my blogging I’ve written about a wide range of topics.  I started doing this to write about sports.  Journalism is what I was planning to study when I went off to college.  He had different ideas in mind for me, and I’m thankful for that.  I wrote mainly about University of Michigan football to start, my favorite sport.  That was pretty much because it was the middle of the season when I started.  After that I wrote some about other sports, but didn’t get quite the same response.  Every once in a while I would venture off to a different topic.  Some of them that I have written about include parenting, family life, and leadership.  It was some of my posts on leadership that other people started to pick up with more regularity.  I could see that I needed to branch out to more than sports on a regular basis.

One area I decided to start sharing in was my faith.  It wasn’t too long after I started this hobby that my wife and I returned to the Catholic Church.  When I look back on the statistics, it’s those posts about my faith journey that have received the most clicks/views/reads.  It really isn’t even close for the rest of the categories I write about.  I realized that this may be where my voice needs to be heard.  I still enjoy writing about University of Michigan football, but when I post things about that I don’t expect much response.  That part of my audience has actually become pretty small.  Most of the discussions about those posts come on my personal social media sites.  I’m not supposed to be a sports journalist.  I’m OK with that.

My faith has become the number one part of my life.  I can’t get enough.  I want learn more.  There are some times when I wish I could go back to myself in middle school and convince myself that I was already headed down the wrong path.  I do my best to live my faith out in my everyday life.  I hope the people around me see it.  I want nothing more than to be able to help them experience what I have experienced.  I realize that a lot of people don’t think they need God in their life.  That’s totally understandable.  That’s also why He gives free will.  The ability to choose to follow Him, or to follow our own wants.

I have asked people for a response to my posts, but often don’t get one.  I don’t know if that’s because people think I’m way off base, or if they aren’t willing to admit that what I’m saying has some worth.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve come to realize that most likely it’s neither of those cases.  When it comes to faith for most people it’s a pretty personal topic.  If they aren’t comfortable sharing their own faith, within their own lives, then why would they share it in mine?  I know I’ve been guilty of that myself.  I have been able to share on this platform, but when it comes to sharing it with other people in a face-to-face setting, I tend to clam up.  In the men’s prayer group I’ve started going to at my church I have no problem at all speaking out, it’s in those situations outside of that where I struggle.

So that’s what I’ve come up with.  I really want to share my faith.  I have a platform where I really don’t struggle to speak, I just need to utilize it better.  I’ve been putting off some changes to this blog out of fear, but I need to put my trust in Him that it will show if I’m making the right changes.  Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for more from me.

St. Francis is often accredited with saying, “Go out and preach the Gospel, if necessary use words,” but nobody can confirm that.  I’ll just stick with Mark 16:15, And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”

 

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This Post is Manly

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a man.  I’m not speaking of the scientific definition that is defined by your reproductive system either.

If you go by the definition of a man that you see on social media it looks a lot different to almost everyone.  The most common definition, the one you find according to everyone posts, doesn’t match up with my definition.  That shouldn’t come to much of a surprise to me, as I’ve never really looked at things the same as everyone else has.  That has become pretty evident, especially lately as I’ve turned more to my faith.  As I’ve learned more about my faith, I’ve learned more about myself.  That has led me to where I currently am in my faith formation and my personal growth.

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That most common definition of what it means to be a man can be seen all over the place.  You see if in the entertainment world by how Hollywood glorifies sexual prowess as being manly.  You see it in the athletic world by how athletes brag about how successful they are because of how much money they have or what accolades they have received.  You see it in the business world when people brag about those same two things.  You see if in the everyday man by how boastful they are about their sexual conquests, or how much alcohol they can drink, or how many people they offended by their opinion, or by how much of a lift they have on their truck.  In reality these are all measures of how insecure a man is with himself.

In The Bible we are told that the man’s job is serve.  To serve God.  To serve his wife.  To serve his family.  None of the things in the previous paragraph show leadership.  The only thing they show is that most men really don’t think about anything else besides themselves.  That all started in Genesis with the story of the forbidden fruit.  I’ve heard a lot of men, probably myself included, make the joke about the fall of the human race is all the fault of Eve.  It was she who took the forbidden fruit from the serpent and ate it, and then gave it to Adam because she didn’t die.  And while that is true, guess who was standing right next to her when she took the fruit?  Adam.  And he said absolutely nothing to try and stop her.  When God spoke to him right after what did he say?  He passed the blame on to Eve.  Does any of that sound like he was fulfilling the duties to serve?  No.  It sounds to me like he was only thinking about himself.

As I’ve grown my faith I’ve made the decision that I can no longer be self-serving.  I have to be third.  I must put God above everything else, followed by my wife and children.  Once I have done what I can to serve those two areas, only then can I begin to worry about what I might need.  I knew a few years ago, before I started my faith journey, that I had to do whatever I needed to make sure my wife was fulfilled, and part of doing that was making sure my children had everything I could possibly give them.  I lived by the theory of “happy wife, happy life.”  I was really doing the right thing, I just didn’t have the right philosophy about it.  I have found that the more I put Him first in my service that I usually end up serving my wife and kids too.  There are things I do for Him that don’t always correlate back to my family, but there are a lot of things that do.

So you may be wondering where I’m trying to go with all of this.  I’ve been trying to figure that out myself over the past couple of months.  Earlier this month I attended a men’s conference in Grand Rapids and it started to lead me down the path I feel I need to take this whole topic.  In this society where it is the norm and almost unacceptable to have the viewpoint I have, I feel we need to make a change.  That has never been more evident than before, and it has to start with the men.  I’m not looking to argue with anyone on this, nor do I wish to get into any debates over it.  When arguments and debates happen then there must be a winner and a loser.  In a scenario where you have that you only end up with division, and that is only good for the devil.  The more we are divided among ourselves, the easier it is for him to work his ways.  If he is allowed to continue then we will not have any change and we will only continue down this path that we are already headed down.

So how do we combat this divisiveness?  We can only do that through unity.  I am looking for men who are ready and willing to make this change with me.  I don’t propose anything radical like starting a march on the capitol or some other similar type of protest.  I’m looking for a small group of men who are interested in forming some strong male friendships.  Men who are willing to make themselves third.  If a small group starts of strengthening itself then it will surely grow on its own.  I’m looking for a few MEN who would be willing to get together, probably once per month to start, to be honest with each other.  To be vulnerable to each other about where they are weak.  And most importantly to pray for one another for strength in those weak spots.  I make no effort to hide my Catholic faith, but I don’t want to limit this to just Catholics.  There’s no reason why any group of strong Christian men can be unified in the fight against Satan.  I promise to not try to convert you, because I can’t, only God can.

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Fr. Larry Richards

I’m still working on the logistics of this whole idea, but it’s something I’m feeling called to do.  If you’re interested in becoming the man that He created you to be, then please reach out.

This Post is Whispering

March 21, 2018 v5 p6

This year I set a goal to work on myself.  I needed to do this to help my family and me, here’s what I’ve figured out so far.

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That blank line is exactly what I’ve determined.  The only thing I know right now is that I need to continue on this journey.  The more I started to look inward at myself, the more I realized I was doing the right thing.  I need to figure out if I’m understanding things correctly.  In 1 Kings 19 we are told the story of Elijah hearing God.  Elijah is in a cave and there is an great wind, but no word from the Lord.  That is followed by an earthquake, but no word from the Lord.  After the earthquake there was a fire, but still no word from the Lord.  Finally after the fire, in a very soft whisper, the Lord speaks to Elijah.  This story wasn’t new to me when I started this journey back in January, so I knew that I needed to find a more quiet place.  Unfortunately I live in a word that is full of nothing but noise.

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I’ve been able to narrow down a few of the whispers I’m hearing.  It’s lead me to where I am now, trying to figure out which one is the right path.  The first one would be that I’m supposed to continue on the current path I’m on.  I would stay in my current job, doing what I’ve been doing for the past two plus years.  That includes trying to lead my department through a growth spurt at our company.  The biggest obstacle I face is none of my coworkers have been through this type of growth, and honestly, neither have I.  What I do have a is great understanding of what my department is going to look like when the dust settles.  I’ve worked in a leadership position in that type of environment in the past, and at a successful level.  I can see where some areas need to be adjusted, but I’m having a hard time convincing those around me.  Some of that is due to that lack of knowledge of what we’re heading towards, and some of that is due to coworkers who aren’t receptive to change.  So do I continue with what is safe and keep being frustrated?

There hasn’t been a whisper to that yet.

Another whisper I’ve been hearing is that it may be time to move on.  This would involve starting over completely, being the low-man on the totem pole.  I’m ready to move into a leadership position in my field, but I don’t have the schooling to support my work experience.  With the job market as flooded as it currently is, I don’t really stand a chance of getting my resume past the recruiters and into the hiring mangers hands.  I have looked into returning to school and getting my degree, but for me to go through all of the undergraduate general education courses doesn’t make sense.  Taking on some debt to improve my education is only worth it if I can focus on my degree.  For me to have to take the basic 100 level courses doesn’t make sense.  I went through the process to apply but couldn’t get a straight answer about those classes until I submitted an application.  As soon as I did that I was told, “you’ll need to speak with the specific program you’re interested in.”  A lot of the time throughout that process I wondered if it would even be worth it.  It’s been three weeks since I applied and I haven’t heard back, and I have called.  I’m not feeling like that’s the route to take, basically it’s coming loud and clear.

There hasn’t been a whisper to that yet.

The last whisper I’m hearing is to walk away and give myself to my faith.  But in what capacity?  My church is looking for an Adult Faith Formation coordinator.  I checked into the time requirements of this position and it requires some regular business hour office time.  I would love nothing more than to take this on and help my fellow parishioners in their faith journey.  Unfortunately my M-F job doesn’t allow for me to take that on.  I have offered my time to help on other ways with that ministry though.  I haven’t seen any paying positions come across my eyes to lead me to believe that I’m supposed to take that direction.  This is the place that I feel the most fulfillment though.  When I participate in volunteer opportunities through the Knights of Columbus there is no greater feeling.  It’s something that doesn’t happen when I do volunteer activities for Scouts or in my community.  I still do those, but mainly because my child is involved and nobody else will step up.

There hasn’t been a whisper to that yet.

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worldlandformsdotcom

So I’ve begun to spend more time in prayer, it’s the only think I know I can do that will help.  When Lent started I added some prayers.  I spent a Saturday afternoon at a Men’s conference with some of the other men from my church.  That has lead to me breaking down and attending the 6 A.M. Saturday morning men’s prayer group.  From there I have begun adding hourly prayers throughout the day.  Those just started over the last few days.  All they have done is make me realize that I need to find a way to get the noise out of my life so I can hear whisper.  Strengthening my prayer life so far seems to be what the whisper is telling me right now.

It’s hard to be patient in this me first, instant gratification world.  But it’s what I must do in order to be the best husband, father, and man that I can.

This Post is Slippery

January 24, 2018 v5 p3

There has been a lot of tragic and disturbing items in the news lately.  While those are difficult to deal with sometimes, the reaction to them may be even more tragic and disturbing.

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In November of 2011 a Grand Jury indictment was brought down on former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.  In August of 2016 The Indianapolis Star released a report into allegations of sexual complaints, which lead to the recent news of Dr. Larry Nassar abusing over 150 girls.  Unless you’ve been living in a cave without internet (if you are, how are you reading this?) then you’re most likely familiar with these stories.  I really don’t want to go into the details of what both of these horrible men did.  All that would do is bring more attention to the sick men who perpetrated these crimes.  That isn’t what I want to focus on with this post.  In order to help illustrate what the point I’m trying to make I need to mention these stories.  What led these men to do such horrible acts?  I don’t know.  I don’t want to try and speculate about it either.

The top goal I have set for myself this year is to strengthen my relationship with God.  I have come to realize that by doing that I will be able to take all of the lessons I’ve learned in my past to be a success in everything that I do.  In Philippians 4:13 we are reminded “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”  This has never become more evident to me than it has in past couple of weeks.  I’ve been praying for His guidance for some time now and I wasn’t really sure that I was hearing what he had to say.  When I realized that I wasn’t doing what Priest I gave my last confession to told me to do, I decided I should at least start there.  After I started the first thing I was told to do it made me realize that it was God who told me what to do through the Priest.  I knew this was how confession worked, but for whatever reason I wasn’t putting it into practice.  Immediately my prayers began to come to life again, they had gotten stale for a couple of weeks.  I didn’t change anything about them, but they certainly changed.  So I continued to do more of what I was told during confession, and more has been revealed to me.

I have always had a problem doing what I knew I should be.  Not really in a sense of my faith, because if you’ve been here for a while you know that really wasn’t a part of my life for a long time.  I would always procrastinate on doing things I knew I should.  I would push timelines to the very last minute, and then stress myself out as I was forced to finally sit down and take care of what needed to be done.  Once everything was completed on time and in a glowing manner I would always look back and say to myself that I just need to pressure of the deadline to do my best work.  That was never true.  I never did anything any different in those last minute rushes than I would have if had started a project weeks in advance.  I was always more interested in what I wanted to do rather than doing what I had committed to.  It’s also not like I didn’t want to commit to these tasks when I made the commitment, but as time went on I would always find something else instead, and it wasn’t always something productive or better.  A lot of the time I wasted was spent on the couch on weekends napping.  I can excuse away those naps in a 1000 different ways, but they were never better than working on what I committed to.

My wife gave me a book this past Christmas which is proving to be one of the best I’ve ever read.  It’s really been eye opening to how I’ve been living my life up until now.  I thought I established a pretty deep relationship with Jesus over the past three years since I returned to my faith, but in reality I’m just scratching the surface.  The section I’ve been reading through over the last few days is all about idolatry.  When most people hear that word they think about the worship of idols.  Idols come in many forms, and for the most part they aren’t small statues that you put on a pedestal and burn a candle in front of.  Anything you put in front of your love of Him becomes and idol.  When you choose to spend money on stuff instead of donating it to a charity, you’re making the money and idol.  I don’t mean you have to give all of your excess money to charity, but if you have some it’s, His preference that you give some.  It’s things like this that are leading us down a slippery slope.

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So you’re probably trying to figure out how this ties to the two sexual assault cases I mentioned at the beginning.  These are both pretty extreme examples, but this is where the slippery slope leads to.  The more you worship your idols, the more you take yourself away from Him.  Those idols then begin to take control of your life.  When idols begin to take over your life you no longer have the free-will that He has given you. In 2 Peter 2:19 we are told, “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”  You become a slave to that idol and begin to make more decisions the appease that addiction.  Eventually you begin to tell yourself that what you are doing is right.  It then becomes easier for you to add in more or different idols to your life.  If we don’t start changing our ways then there can only be one result, and it won’t be pretty.  If you look back through history to other examples of when people have allowed these idols to take control it never ends well for those people.  If you’d like a biblical reference, just refer to the story of King Saul.  He was told to completely destroy the Amalekites, leaving nothing behind.  Instead he kept the best of the cattle, sheep, and lambs.  He took Amalekite King, Agag, hostage.  He did all of this so he could give his soldiers the best animals for sacrifice, making them remember what Saul did for them instead of God, making himself and idol.  Because of this disobedience Samuel was instructed to annoint a new king.

I have really focused on removing the idols from my life that have lead me down that slippery slope in the past.  I’ve gotten a pretty good foothold, and am ready for the long treck back to the top.

This Post is Resolved

January 3, 2018 v4 p1

This is the time of year when everyone makes New Year’s Resolutions, but I don’t.  I used to make them, and like most other people, I failed at them.

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The history of New Year’s Resolutions can be traced back to ancient Babylonia over 4000 years ago.  They also used to celebrate the new year in Mid-March at the time that they planted that year’s crops.  This all centered around a massive religious celebration where they would crown a new king or pledge their loyalty to the current one.  They would also make promises to their gods in hopes for them to be given riches, power, or good health.  Those certainly sound like resolutions to me.  Throughout history there are other examples of people making resolutions around the beginning of the new year.  In more recent times resolutions have become more of a secular ideal.  People make resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, exercise more, and other things like that.  They are most often geared toward improving themselves.  While this is a practice that isn’t overly bad, it is one that is overly failed at.   Ultimately humans are creatures of habit and for them to change those habits is very difficult.

The main reason most people fail at the annual attempt to change something about themselves is that they set their expectations too high.  I’ve learned a lot about this through the reading I’ve been doing at work the past few years.  One example of this is people who want to start exercising more.  They set out at the beginning of the year with the goal to lose 20 pounds for example.  They go out and buy all of the latest workout gear, find a gym that they like and sign an annual contract.  Then on January 2nd (be honest) they head to that gym and start working out.  At the end of the first week they step on the scale and don’t see it move a whole lot, which dampens their spirit.  This routine continues for a few weeks and eventually the majority of people give up.  If you go to the gym regularly you’re probably familiar with what I like to call resolutioners, people who start at the gym in January but are generally gone by Valentine’s Day (and that’s being generous).  I think this is why that major gym chain that promotes not judging you is so successful.  They don’t have any contracts so people can easily cancel that monthly fee coming out of their bank account.  I would guess that people who join a gym that are forced to pay for the whole year if they sign a contract have a lower percentage of people who drop out.

The other problem people have with keeping their resolutions is don’t understand they must replace the habit they are trying to break with a new habit.  One of my bad habits is that I smoke cigarettes.  I have never smoke a lot, I think at the height of habit I going through about 12-15 per day.  That doesn’t sound like a little amount, but when you consider that some people smoke upwards of three packs per day.  That’s roughly 4 per hour if you’re awake for 16 hours per day, so they’re basically chain-smoking.   I get that nicotine is an addictive chemical, but I don’t feel like I’m addicted to it.  I can go most days at work without craving a cigarette.  On the weekends I don’t start to get jittery or angry if I go too long without one.  The problem I have with smoking is the habit.  When I get in the car to start driving to or from work, the first thing I usually do is smoke a cigarette.  If I don’t have any cigarettes to go out and smoke I generally don’t take a break, this was especially more evident when I quit for a time while I was working at an automotive manufacturer.  When everyone’s scheduled break times would come up I would generally just keep going.  My current job doesn’t have scheduled breaks so I can take a breather whenever I feel it’s needed.  The hardest part I have with quitting smoking is replacing that habit.  In the car, after a meal, before bed, or while I’m having a beer, these are all times I habit smoke.  If I don’t replace that habit with something else then it becomes increasingly easier to fall back into those old habits.

So what am I trying to get at with all of this?  I haven’t set a New Year’s Resolution in years.  Over that time though I’ve set and accomplished a lot of goals.  They sound like the same thing and pretty much are.  The difference is I don’t tie them down to only starting in January.  Goals can be set and worked on at any time of the year.  Because of that you are much more likely to accomplish those goals that you set out to complete.  Goals are usually also tied to something much more significant like your career.  I’m not sure why it seems more important to set goals for your job than it does for your health.  Honestly, if you aren’t healthy then you can’t do you job, which may be a foreign concept to some.  What needs to take importance is what you want to accomplish.  No goal is too small if it’s important enough to you.  And the best thing about small goals is that they are usually pretty attainable and can be completed quickly.  Once you complete one then you start on another and before you know it, you’ve plowed your way through 4-6 of your small goals.  Those all have a compounding effect, like a snow ball rolling down the hill in a cartoon.  The more you complete, bigger that snowball gets.  It move faster and faster, and eventually is moving on its own and nobody can stop it.

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I’ve set some pretty amazing goals for myself this year, both personally and professionally.  I think those goals are going to be my focus for this year’s blog posts so stay tuned.

This Post is a Killer

December 21, 2017 v4 p61

We all have something in ourselves that holds us back, if you don’t think so then you’re probably not ready to accept it.  Pinpointing what it is that holds you back isn’t quite as easy as you think.

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A few weeks ago, I met up with a friend for lunch because he had a book for me.  This didn’t really seem out of the ordinary because I know how much he likes to read, and I know that one of his favorite things to do is gift books.  I didn’t quite know how to accept this gift because nobody had ever don’t this type of thing for me before.  I found out that the way this friend is able to gift books like this is because he is often on pre-release lists and gets extra copies.  The fact that he didn’t pay for this gift in no way makes it any less meaningful.  I was extremely touched to know that he had thought that I would be able to get some benefit from reading this book after he had read it, twice.  This particular book is titled “Kill the Spider” and is written by Carlos Whittaker.  It’s a story from the author’s own life and goes into detail about his journey through some therapy.  To be honest, we could probably all use a little therapy.

The premise of this book is that we all need to kill what it is inside of us that holds us back.  One analogy used is that people often state they are going to clear the cobwebs.  There is a slight problem with that.  What happens when you clean the cobwebs in your house?  In a week or so there are new ones.  Why?  Because the spider that is making the cobwebs is still there, making new cobwebs.  So you can’t just address the problem, you have to figure out what the cause is and change that.  This book really hit home.  It came to me at exactly the right time.  I was in a pretty tough spot in my professional career, not really feeling like I was getting the things done that I needed to in order to continue on the path I had set for myself over the past few years.  I was having some doubts myself and my ability to grown into the leader that my company needs me to be.  Coming to this realization was a big step in the right direction.

I thought it would be easy to identify what my spider was that caused all of my self-doubt.  I tried to pinpoint it on my dad.  Growing up he wasn’t the greatest father figure in the terms of leadership.  He always did what was right, or at least tried to.  His heart was in the right place.  He was never one to be too big into sharing his emotions though.  This kind of made me feel like we could have had a closer relationship, one on a different level than we always had.  I tried to pinpoint it on my older brother too.  Growing up I always looked up to him, as most younger siblings do, but the more I look back at that relationship I realize that he wasn’t interested in taking on the role of being the big brother example for me.  So I can’t nail my spider of self-doubt down to just one of those two, there has to be more to it.  Then the holidays really started to get into full swing.  My schedule got busy and this discovery process kind of worked its way to the back burner.  I think just realizing there was an issue to figure out kind of cleared up some cobwebs, but as I mentioned earlier, that doesn’t get rid of the spider.

I’ve been praying for guidance on a daily basis for over a year now.  It kind of seemed to me that maybe I wasn’t getting that guidance I needed from those prayers, so I started to focus my prayer a little more on that.  I added a little extra to my prayer over the past week or so to try and ask for more clarity in what it is I’m being called to do.  I feel like I’ve been heading in the right direction personally and professionally but I think it really became obvious to me earlier this week.  The other day when I woke up I got pretty frustrated with something at home first thing in the morning.  By first thing I mean before I had even started to make my morning coffee.  Well, as most people do, I let that five minutes of bad attitude turn into a whole day of bad attitude.  It really ruined my whole day.  It wasn’t until almost the end of my work day when I realized what I had done.  That made me remember that there was no way I was going to get anywhere with this company by letting that insignificant of a thing end up ruining my whole day.  At the end of the day when my wife and I were going through our examen prayers I asked for His forgiveness for my discretion.  I had to.  If He didn’t know I recognized my own faults and I needed forgiveness, how can I expect anyone else to give me any?

So while I still haven’t figured out what my spider is, I now have a renewed sense of how to kill it.  The past two days have really been different.  I feel myself moving through my day with more confidence.  The end of the year is coming and we have some holidays when work won’t get performed so it kind of escalates everything.  We’ve had some pretty high profile shipments I’ve been having to deal with over the past two weeks, and our customers kind of freaked out yesterday.  My buyer was feeling the pressure from them, but I was able to handle all of her concerns without issue.  It’s moments like that when I remind myself of how high of a level I can perform at that help me take swings at that spider, even if I’m kind of doing it blindfolded right now.  Maybe I won’t need to take that blindfold off until I’ve killed it though.  I have come to realize that with Him aiding me in my fight, there is nothing that I can’t overcome.  I just have to trust in Him.

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I’ve been unknowingly fighting this battle for years, and the past few have started to give me the right tools for the battle.  It was just this week that I discovered that I had the greatest ally with me in this war all along.

Showing the Path

November 22, 2017 v4 p56

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling disconnected from my prayers because I was letting my scheduled get in the way.  Last week I made sure to refocus my priorities and right on cue, things came to light.

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It was a little over a year ago when I started telling God that I was ready to do His will in my prayers.  It was a couple of days later that my manager at work let the warehouse know that he would be moving on within the company and that someone else would be taking his position as Supply Chain Manager.  He had told me this a few months earlier, before it was public knowledge to the rest of my co-workers.  He was able to do that because he could trust me not to let it out, and that he knew of my desire to move into management at my company.  By no means did I think that his moving on would mean I would even be considered for that position, but I know that he told me ahead of time so that I could be prepared to lead my department through the transition.  I do believe there was some connection between me telling God that I was ready to do his will and the timing of my manager’s announcement.  I’m not exactly clear on what that connection is, but I know it’s there.

I’ve continued to include my desire to do His will in my prayers.  There have been times when I thought that I knew exactly what that is.  Usually I end up realizing that I may not be right, or that if I am right, the time may not be.  It was about a month after my manager’s announcement that I let him know that I had an interest in the position that was opening up.  I made it clear that I didn’t expect to get the position, but that I really wanted the experience of seeing what going through the process within my company looked like.  That would be extremely valuable in my career.  At just about the same time I had reconnected with an old family friend, and it was actually by accident.  I realized that I must have clicked on the “send a request to all of your contacts” link on LinkedIn.  We were already connected on other social media platforms, but this one led me to reach out more to him.  It turns out that my friend is a C-level executive in Procurement/Supply Chain for a major world-wide manufacturer.  This was the mentor my manager had asked me to seek out a couple of years ago.

Through that mentoring relationship I had started on a course of professional development that was geared more towards my work and a little less on leadership principles.  This was an area I needed to grow.  I had 20+ years of supply chain knowledge, all gained through work experience.  I knew some of the terminology and the basic principles of supply chain leadership, but not a very deep understanding of how they operated or how to implement them at my company.  I did some self-guided studying on a couple of different process improvement initiatives and actually read through the course materials for a professional certification program that my mentor consulted on.  All of this gave me a completely different point of view on the entire supply chain process.  It also showed me that some of the ideas I had going on in the back of my mind were exactly what I could see needed to happen at my job.  The biggest questions I had now were; how do I begin to implement these changes, would the new manager come in and try to change the new things I was implementing, and how did I get over my lack of self-confidence to follow through with all of this.

As I was continuing to pray for guidance, I thought there were other areas I was being called to go towards at the same time as trying to get through this transition at work.  The more I thought I was doing the right, other things, the more I was getting frustrated at work.  Then we brought home the Chalice.  As a family we had a strong week of prayers, then I went camping and fell away slightly.  I was really eye-opening how much just one day of missed prayers would affect me.  As I refocused my prayers the following week I went to one of my go to sources for guidance.  One morning I had four different videos brought to my attention that all spoke to me about what I was going through.  I came to the realization that I was trying to get guidance in too many different areas.  It helped me realize that the one area I really wanted to focus on the most was the only one I needed to focus on right now.  Once I have that area figured out it should be easier to begin to focus on the others, one at a time.  That has allowed me to realize that my job is where He is calling me to excel.

In the past few days I have been able to think clearly about what needs to happen at work to get things in order.  It has allowed me to be calmer when faced with people at work who aren’t yet on-board with what needs to happen to move my department forward.  I have a clear vision of how things need to be handled.  I have regained some of my self-confidence in my vision.  When the warehouse was going through the management transition I was really excelling in my job.  Things were starting to change and people were seeing things the way I had hoped.  When the new manager came in, it allowed my self-doubt to creep in.  Nothing anyone said at work reversed that.  It was my prayers and my inward reflection that led me to that.

discernment

This wasn’t a case where my prayer for something broken to be fixed was answered by a physically evident result.  This was a case of my prayer for guidance being answered by being shown how He has discerned this for me.