My mid-life crisis hit full stride shortly after 9/11. After 43 years, I had achieved some success in business, but I didn’t feel successful in life. The events of 9/11 reminded me God had much more going on in the world and my pursuit of career caused me to miss most of it.
So I began to ask God and my friends more about faith. I had become a Christ-follower almost 14 years earlier out of career frustration. My career was off track. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew my life wasn’t producing it. After attending a workshop on how to present the Gospel, I realized I never understood salvation. Once I learned who Jesus is, and how His death covers my sin if I trust Him, I trusted and followed.
Life immediately changed, but as with many other people, over time, the “new” wore off. In 2001, 14 years after my rebirth, my career had changed several times. I was convicted that the previous 4 years were marked by pursuit of career. We weren’t tightly plugged into a church. I was going through the motions, living the middle-class, conservative American life. Very little of my time, treasures or efforts would count for eternity.
Not knowing how to proceed, I asked God to move me into full-time service for Him. Would some church call me and offer me a job? Would I fall in love with some foreign country and raise support as a missionary? I was excited to see what God would do.
Nothing happened. Days two, and three passed. “God, isn’t there anything I could do right now, without leaving my job, to serve you full-time? What can I do tomorrow?”
I could pray for my coworkers, I thought. Plain, simple, doable.
OK, I started to pray for my coworkers. I’d mentally walk around the office and lift each person up to God. I started working through the Experiencing God workbook by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. God is at work at my place of work. He is doing His thing. All I need to do is ask Him to let me join Him. So I did.
Soon, I noticed opportunities to talk about faith with some coworkers. Often, faith just came up in conversation. Tragedy often causes people to think more about the eternal, and, in addition to the travesty of 9/11, our company was downsizing. Mostly I asked questions. I didn’t feel qualified to preach, but I could explain what I believed and how that applied to my own life. Then I’d tell them I was praying for them and I’d ask if they had any specific prayer requests or anything I could do to help them.
A coworker introduced me to Dave Jewitt around this same time. Dave and I talked frequently for the first few months. As Dave developed the YOD process, I took most of the exercises. Much of my learning has been trial and feedback, followed by trying again. I feel like I’m forever unfinished; the perennial “before picture.” I’ve almost looked with envy toward those people who figure out their One Degree in the first few months. They move on, enjoy their new ministry and speak at the YOD get-togethers. Many of them stay connected to the program and give back as coaches.
My process continues. But every time I reconnect with Dave, he encourages me to keep working the process. Many of my pursuits turned out to be something less than “High-Green-Ones” but I’m committed to learning. Each experience helps me narrow my focus. Reflecting on the past energized me to draw near to God, and as I move toward Jesus I take part in his plan for my future.
I’ve learned I enjoy helping Christ-followers become full-time ministers; devoted to serving others in any circumstance or situation. Over the past couple of years, I’ve received feedback from friends who have found direction and encouragement through my experiences and circumstances. God isn’t waiting until I’m finished. He has a work for me every day. Every day I can help someone else move one notch closer to Jesus. God continues to use Dave, the YOD process, and my other friends who are coaches, to help me move closer to Him too.
Mike Henry Sr. is VP, Project Management Office of a Tulsa based technology company along with being a speaker and author on leadership, job transition, and applying Christian faith in everyday life. He has a wife, Vicky, two children, one daughter-in-law and one son-in-law-to-be and 3 grandchildren. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn or at his blog, mikehenrysr.com.
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