WednesDevotionals ~ On Being a Counter-Inspiration

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
(Isaiah 55:2 ESV)

It’s been a year now, since I stepped out on faith; on what I called at the time “The Great Adventure”; walked away from a job that was lucrative by the world’s standards but was draining the very life out of my family, myself and my soul.

Recently, I was told by someone in our home group what an inspiration my wife and I were for doing this ‘stepping out on faith’ thing like we have.  After all, when I decided to give my notice at work, I had nothing to go to; no back-up plan; nothing but the hope in the steps we were taking were the steps God was asking us to take.  We had no idea where we were going.  Only that we were being asked (told) to go.

“I don’t feel like an inspiration,” I think was my response.  “ ’Cuz I have no idea what I’m doing!”

Maybe that’s the point, though.
Maybe God’s answer is, “Yeah, but I do!”

Often, what appears to be so counter to the world’s way is the exact path God is asking you to walk.

Go figure!

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”  (Matthew 16:24 NLT)

6 thoughts on “WednesDevotionals ~ On Being a Counter-Inspiration”

  1. Hi Kent, you’ve obviously written in various places before about your decision to quit your former job. But I am curious enough to ask you some questions (please feel free not to answer if they are too personal). What was it that made your job bad for you – was it the time required, or the nature of the work, or the work environment? Do you feel it was just that particular job, or that line of work generally, or just your situation at the time? Were you under pressure from your managers, or from your own perception of what you needed to do?

    And how are things going for you and your family now? Thanks.

    1. I appreciate your curiosity Unkle and I’m happy to answer your questions. I apologize in advance if I ramble:

      What was it that made your job bad for you –?
      It wasn’t ‘bad’ so much as untenable, though it wasn’t always that way. The company that I was working for the last three-ish years (of ten total) was not the same company, philosophically, that originally hired me. Barnes & Noble was founded by Len Riggio, and he placed certain values and standards on both customer and employee satisfaction. Then, four or so years ago, three major things happened: Riggio (semi)-retired, B&N began investing heavily in e-reader and online technology, and a man named William Lynch took over as CEO. Soon after, due to whatever combination of these events, the entire atmosphere and attitude of B&N changed. Hours shrank (except for salaried mgmt. of course), morale tanked, and sales sank. During this time, I was also reconnecting to my faith and towards the end, really was trying to make an effort in living out my beliefs and “be a light” as it were. Badly. As I’ve written before, I couldn’t believe the stuff that was coming out of my mouth. I was ashamed of myself, disconnected from my family, and mad at God. I knew the feelings I harbored weren’t the way it was ‘supposed’ to be but didn’t feel I had the faith to simply step out ala what Francis Chan alludes to in “Crazy Love”. Ultimately though, with the help of Chan’s book, an extremely supportive home group, and some well-placed Biblical scripture, that’s exactly what I did. It was all in God’s timing and His perfect weaving together of tools and circumstances.

      Do you feel it was just that particular job, or that line of work generally, or just your situation at the time?
      I’m incredibly jaded here, but I’d have to honestly answer that it’s the line of work in general. I believe it takes a very special kind of person to truly succeed and flourish in customer service, be it retail, restaurant, etc. One can become that kind of person, but I believe you have to have the foundation (the patience, emotional distance, self-control and self-assurance among other things) in place before you enter the wild jungles of retail. It’s incredibly difficult (and frustrating) to try and pick it up along the way.

      Were you under pressure from your managers, or from your own perception of what you needed to do?
      Yes. 🙂

      And how are things going for you and your family now?
      It’s funny….I tend to get down on myself for putting our family into this whirlwind adventure, which is so counter to the world’s (or, at least America’s) standards. Yet, I was talking to my wife about some of your inquiries and when I asked this one she reminded me, though we haven’t been ‘employed’ in over a year now, we’ve paid off a good amount of debt; we’ve never missed a bill payment; we’ve recently purchased two new (used) cars—having run the old ones to death; our credit scores are higher than they’ve ever been . . . God has been amazingly abundant in his provision. It’s only taken me most of the past year to realize ‘my part’ in the whole thing . . . Matthew 6:33-34 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

      I now wake up with those passages on my heart and a prayer of thanksgiving for the day’s provision on my lips. I feel as though I’ve grown more in my faith within the past year than I had within the previous ten. I am now closer to my God and closer to my family than I have ever been. It’s amazing what total dependence does for a relationship! Will we be searching for employment within the next couple of months? Of course. Yet that too, we firmly believe, will be through God’s provision and His timing; and when it happens, we’ll know.

  2. One of the things show through the Freedom in Christ is the confidence in his plan enough to make decisions honoring him, despite the consequences. In this society we live in , when we stop bowing to the lesser Gods and idols of our work, our possessions and our other hang ups, we find God has plenty for us to do that fills us up, and blesses our families. It may not be physical belongings or wealth, but theres a peace that defies all understanding that settles upon our lives, and we begin to see more clearly and walk more in his paths by faith. This freedom is light as a feather brother. Glad you are carrying it more and more.
    I LOVE watching you and the family on your walk in faith brother-

    God Bless-

    1. You can try and mold yourself to being the best possible person/employee/believer you’re capable of being. Unfortunately, outside circumstances DO play a role as well. That’s the situation I found myself in…when there’s nothing else you feel YOU can do internally, it’s time to look at your surroundings and determine what, if anything, you can change. It got to the point where there was nothing else at B&N I could change; it was what it was, and upper-management acknowledged that. Sad but true.

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