Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Quit!

A few months ago, Kristi approached me about meeting with some well-known photographers in the area. She was nervous.

"I can't imagine getting in contact with them," she told me. "Why would they want to meet with us?"

Her anxiety was apparent. But we wanted to do it, because we thought they could be a tremendous help to us and our business.

They are extremely successful photographers in their business. While they are a couple I have always known about and admired, I hadn't looked up to them as long as Kristi had. To her, meeting them would be like a young college basketball player meeting Michael Jordan.

She took the first step in getting in touch with them.

A couple of weeks later, we met and had lunch with a wedding planner. She was a huge encouragement in our life, and she suggested that we also meet with this couple.

However, we had heard nothing.

And often, silence can be interpreted as a "Leave me alone," or "No," or "I'm too busy to reply." We often jump to negative conclusions when there is no response.

"Do I dare contact them again?"

I told her, Yes.

She did, and we heard back from the husband of their team, almost immediately. As it turned out, they had not received our initial message.

Kristi and him started exchanging messages and planned to get together. However, he was in the middle of a busy time, and said he would get in touch when it slowed down a bit.

That happened to be 2 months later. Not a big deal, but it was a bit of a wait. Yet, we had no idea how the Lord used that timetable in His perfect way.

On a warm summer morning, Kristi and I stepped into Thirty-Thirty Coffee in Peoria and ordered drinks. We sat at a table, and pretty soon, he arrived.

I thought it would just be him. But she came, too.

He was tall and scruffy, friendly & warm. She was quiet and beautiful and captivating.

It is funny, meeting with people that you have never met, for the first time. Our intent was to get professional business advice from them-- how did they work together? How did they create such a successful business?

So we started off with the talking. Kristi looked to me, as I am usually the one to give the synopsis on "our story."

I gave a brief and somewhat surface story of our business history. It was meager at best; trite, at worst.

After my little performance, he looked to her and said, "Do you want to start?"

This is when it got good.

It was, like I later told Kristi, as if God sent them as angels to us. For such a time as this, He knew what we needed.

The next 2-3 hours were spent talking about God. She told us their story. Their success, their struggles, their sadness, their celebrations. She was vulnerable, and honest, and lovely. She did not sugar coat, but she told us the truth in love.

She told us about the "glacier." When we see a glacier, we see the 10% that sticks out of the water. What we don't see is the 90% underneath. Most people live their lives in the10%-- which is what most people see. Yet the 90% is neglected... even though it is the most important part. Because without the foundation, the inner workings, the thoughts and feelings and values and beliefs of that 90%-- there would be no 10%. Yet the 10% is all we ever let anyone see.

She told us about asking honest questions. What makes me sad? What makes me angry? What makes me nervous? What does God say about these feelings?

She told us how her and husband allowed their business to take over their lives. They exchanged good family life, a meaningful marriage, friends, and faith for a successful business. To others, the 10% looked good. But for them and their personal lives, the 90% was neglected.

She told us to be real. To be honest. To be open... to examine what God has done, why He has brought us here, and what He wants us to do.

Kristi sobbed. I sat quietly.

He was a lot like me, emotionally. She was a lot like Kristi, in terms of personality. It was so important to hear their story and see how God brought them through it.

She suggested reading a book, called, "I Quit."

At the end, we all held hands and they prayed for us.

It was like a miniature missions trip... in the middle of a coffee store. Neither Kristi nor I wanted to leave, for fear the joy of the Lord that had been in that place on that morning would leave us.

Kristi immediately bought the book and read it quickly. It helped bring a lot to light. She told me I would benefit from it greatly, and she ordered a copy for me. I read it, and loved it.

The premise of the book is to "quit" living life in such a way that is harmful. Quit being afraid of what others think. Quit lying. Quit dying to the wrong things. Quit denying anger, sadness, and fear. Quit blaming. Quit overfunctioning. Quit faulty thinking.

And quit living someone else's life.

There is no such thing as two people who are the same. In fact, even similar people are often quite different from one another. Which makes those that are different to begin with that much more separate. Kristi and I have learned that... in some ways... the hard way.

Because of differences and because life is so hard, we tend to adopt habits and ways of thinking that are unhealthy. They are defense mechanisms; they are crippling; and they will eventually kill our soul. This book helps to identify those areas and to show us that we can QUIT them.

And in quitting, we become free.

Free to be ourselves. Free to be who God made us to be. Free to rediscover who that person is, and live life in that way.

It is a book I would highly recommend to anyone, because even if you get through life pretty good, I guarantee there are a couple of areas in which every person needs to "quit."

This has been an interesting journey and I cannot wait to see how God continues to show me how to quit the bad and to continue the good.

Love you all!


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