When I drove into the church parking lot that Wednesday I noticed the cars. The cars men drive say something about them and these guys were driving Carerras, S-500's, Audi A-8's, and Corvettes. It made me nervous. These guys were 'rich young rulers' and I was there to lead these guys through a process that was supposed to help them discover their passion, mission and vision for life. I parked my Cherokee and walked into the front door thinking, "These guys already look successful. Why do they think they need this stuff?!?"
Pete had contacted me earlier that week and asked if I would consider taking a select group of men through our process, an 8 week journey in self discovery and revisioning. I had agreed, but after seeing the cars, I was feeling a little insecure. I was afraid that what I had to offer might not meet their expectations, and that kind of embarassment was not something I felt I wanted to deal with. Boy was I wrong.
What I discovered was a group of Jesus-followers who, in spite of their apparent financial and business success, were floundering in life. They had been able to buy pretty-much everything in life they thought would make them happy, and it wasn't enough. Their faith was strong, they gave out of their abundance, attended church faithfully, held positions of leadership in the church, and helped others. Still not enough. These guys had come to the realization that the time, energy and money they had invested throughout their lives in order to achieve a 'successful' life, had turned out to be an empty bag. They felt that there was something inside of them that, for a long time, had been trying to 'bust out,' but they didn't know what it was or how to find it. They felt like they were flying an airplane upside down in a fog bank, but didn't know that they were upside down. Their fear was that, when they came out of the fog, they were going to crash. That's where I came in.
Over that eight week process I was the one who came out with the better end of the deal. I saw men transformed. I saw men drop their facades and find freedom from the entrapment of the cage of success that they had built into their lives. I saw what happens when men start living from a single life purpose. These guys where, up until that time, defined by their business cards, business image, and financial success. By the time we finished, each one was defined by his God-given purpose and mission in life. It was beautiful. These guys helped each other find and focus on each man's God-given purpose, and supported each other in the development of a new life plan.
During the weeks and months after our time together ended, I would have the opportunity to run into these guys at Starbucks or the grocery store and was able to talk to them about the changes that they had made in their lives as a result of what they discovered about themselves. Their relationships were better because they were more at peace with themselves. Most changed the way in which they approached their work. They focused most of their time and energy in the areas of their giftedness, and handed-off the rest to someone else. To a man, each felt more focused, passionate, and clear about what and who they were going to be in the future. They became better parents, helping their kids find and focus on their own mission, and not that of their parents. Money and stuff was still important, but it didn't define them anymore. They actually looked younger and less stressed.
I developed great friendships with these guys. They taught me that success doesn't necessarily mean that a man has his act together. It may just mean that what he thought was going to give him freedom was, in fact, the very thing that entrapped him.