Christianity, Recovery, Service Organizations, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Writing

Oops…

The last couple of days have been a little hectic. I spent Monday doing some manual labor for our two of our kids. I enjoy throwing on the work boots and getting dirty. I love my work but it’s nice to get outside and work hard occasionally. I’m fortunate that I’m able to break up the routine from time to time. Most people don’t have that opportunity. Unfortunately, it made for a very busy Tuesday and a lot of aching muscles. That happens more often as I get older. That was one of the motivating factors in making the change to full-time writing…

I made the decision last year to go back to school, update my credentials, and begin freelancing again as a content and copy writer. I’ve been blessed to have great business mentors and a wealth of experience to help me make the transition. I was sitting on the porch this morning, reflecting on how grateful I am for that fortune, when I suddenly realized I had made a huge blunder in the process of this transition. I violated one of the fundamental rules of business, at least for people like me…

I started posting my daily “Thoughts From the Porch” on my Facebook page. Unfortunately, posting directly to Facebook instead of sharing a blog post raises issues of ownership. Naturally, I was thrilled to start blogging from my website, www.gregoryjoel.com. This is my web presence from a business standpoint and I keep it as professional as possible (which is why I constantly edit and update it!). Some of you already where I’m going with this…

My blog is a bit different. I share thoughts on things other than business, especially when it comes to my faith, how I see the world, and who (and who’s) I am. I make no excuses for that. While I don’t like to wear my recovery on my sleeve, I can’t deny it’s an important part of my spirituality and my faith. Recovery is what gave me a relationship with the God of my understanding. That’s what guides me as a professional. Unfortunately, the business community (and often society as a whole!) looks at it differently. It dawned on me that I had shot myself in the foot, professionally. It was right there for potential clients to read. Like my friend Jim used to tell me, “Sober don’t mean stupid son”. In boxing, they call it “leading with the chin”…

My mind raced with questions and self-doubt. How could I have been so foolish? What do I do now? I sat there feeling nothing but panic and failure. It was then a Casting Crowns’ song came on the stereo and stopped those thoughts dead in their tracks: “Just be held… your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place”. I paused, took a deep breath, and looked back at all the times I failed in the past and how they turned into blessings when I saw them differently. My vision had changed. Like my friend Edgar tells me, “we have a new pair of glasses”. I began to see my present dilemma differently, too.

One of the things I’ve come to know with a degree of certainty is that I am not my failures, nor am I unique. I used to think I was, and sometimes, like this morning, I still feel that way. I just don’t feel like that all the time. I see the past differently today and accept the grace that has been, and is, given so freely. By accepting that grace I’ve learned to accept myself and my failures. I trust that they made me the man I am today. I’m comfortable with the “Popeye Principle”: “I am what I am and that’s all that I am”. I’m just another one of God’s kids. So, I guess prospective clients will simply see me the way they see me.

I’ve learned (usually the hard way) that it’s not important what you think of me, nor what I think of me, but what God thinks of me. His grace and mercy lead me to live differently: in my personal and business relationships, in the world I live in, and to measure success in a new (and sometimes uncommon) way. Is my word my bond? Am I honest? Am I helping others, whether it’s personally or professionally? Do I live with integrity today? Do I live and work graciously and gratefully and treat you the same – with grace and dignity? When I live to love him and love others everything changes. Failures become life lessons and opportunities – to learn, to grow, and be of service to my family, friends, and fellows. Hopefully, others will see that as well. If not, then it is what it is. “I am what I am and that’s all that I am…”

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