Refining Your Dream

Photo by  Quino Al  on  Unsplash

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Starting out on my journey I had a very distinct vision of what my dream looked like. I wanted to build applications or “apps” as an Independent iOS Developer. I have loved business as far back as I can remember. Looking back, I can often remember dreaming of starting my own business. So combining the two passions of mine only seemed natural. For the longest time, I had zero desire to work for another company or organization ever again. I remember having serious thoughts about working for Life.Church and even applying for work, but honestly, the idea of working for someone else was often scary.

I applied to work for Life.Church several times in the past 11 years. When something did not turn out when applying, I was devastated! I could not understand why I was not finding success. Many times I would make it past the initial interviews only for things to fizzle out towards the end. It caused me to closely examen what was wrong with how I presented myself. Early on in my career, I had experienced trauma as part of a large corporate layoff and I was deeply impacted by that experience. Initially, these interview experiences only served to drive those wounds deeper.

If my story would have stopped there, I could have easily let my wounds and experiences lead me to become bitter. In many people’s eyes, I had every reason to be bitter. And just as with my battle with mental illness, I refuse to let these experiences define me. I also refused to let my failed attempt at employment with Life.Church rob me of the church I love so dearly. I chose to believe that God was working in me during these failed attempts. I believe His goodness was the reason I was not hired during these attempts. God was telling me, there’s still more work to be done.

Blinded By Emotion

Many times our emotions blind us from seeing what God might be doing behind the scenes. We let our surface-level feelings get hurt and rarely look any deeper. We have a hard time believing in the goodness of God. In the Garden of Eden, Eve shared in this same struggle. Just like Eve, I often have trouble believing in the goodness of God. So I get it. I also understand why some might allow their unpleasant experiences define them. It’s so easy to do!

Choosing To Believe In God’s Goodness

I just refuse to believe what appears on the surface of these experiences is the whole story. I understand there are things I can not see which would drastically shed light on these situations. I also choose to believe in the goodness of God over what I can see. Sometimes we misinterpret God. Sometimes the “no’s” are really God saying “not yet.”

Fast forward to serving on the IT Volunteer Leadership Team at Life.Church. As I began to spend significant amounts of time around staff at the Life.Church Central office, God began to heal part of me. The part in me which wanted nothing to do with working for another organization. I began envisioning myself working there. The fear in me began to dissipate to the point where I was no longer so afraid. God was healing my brokenness once again.

My Dream Refined

Now, I no longer think of my fear first when thinking about the possibility of working for Life.Church. I believe so strongly in the cause, I will wage war against my greatest of fears for the opportunity to be a part of it. God has refined my dream. My dream is to work for YouVersion, Life.Church, Bible Labs as a mobile developer.

Healing My Brokenness

In the midst of God working in my heart, teaching me about serving and generosity, He was working in other areas of my life. My battle with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and depression had been raging on all the while these other things were happening. I had decided a while ago I needed to do things differently than in the past. I began seeing a counselor as a way to start doing some of the hard work in getting to the bottom of my battle with anxiety. I had little foreknowledge that God was about to do a miracle in the middle of my brokenness.

Ever since being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, prescription medications have been a part of my daily existence. Originally, these were the only thing which put a stop to me spiraling out of control. So I would not say that I am anti-medication by any means. I do believe they serve a certain purpose, but far too many times they become the only form of treatment. There is also this tendency to stay on medication for far too long without seeking other forms of treatment such as counseling.

So in the middle of God doing such a work in other areas of my life, I felt this need to attempt and work through the anxiety without the help of medication. I believed that getting off of my anti-anxiety medication would allow me to try to properly process anxiety using what I learned through counseling. So I began the journey of weaning off of this medication with the proper support of close friends and my counselor. I also ended up telling my doctor partway through the process who also supported me.

NOTE: I do not recommend doing this without the proper support. This is my story and I share it in hopes of encouraging others. I am not recommending this as a course of action for others. I waited to tell my doctor because I was afraid. Ironic, I know. Now I do wish I would have told her earlier in the process. I believe it would have been easier if I had done so.

During this time of weaning off medication, I pushed myself to do things I normally would not do. I traveled out of state with my friend Wilkey to lead volunteers in launching new Life.Church campuses. This does not seem like a big deal for most, but traveling was something which would invoke lots of anxiety for me personally. I believe in the cause of Life.Church so much, I was willing to put myself in the middle of a storm to lead others to become fully-devoted followers of Christ. I was willing to set aside something I loved, my comfort, for something I loved even more, reaching those who do not know Christ.

Initially, I only wanted to be free of my anti-anxiety medication. After making it through the process of weaning off my anti-anxiety medication, I also wanted to be free of anti-depressants. So, again I went down the road of weaning off of this medication. My doctor had instructed me in the proper step down methods, amounts, etc. NOTE: This can be extremely dangerous if not done properly. This was extremely difficult time for me.

Fast forward to today, where I am now off of ALL of my prescriptions. Praise God! Once God had granted me freedom from anxiety medications, I began to dream about what God could do through my story. A part of this wondering included being completely medication free. This was something I was told was not possible.

Knowing that God could use my story as a means of hope for others pushed me even more. I began to surrender my story so God could tell (His) story through the lens of my life. Once I got to this point of surrender, everything else begin to snowball, in a God way. This past weekend I celebrated my six month anniversary for being medication free! Here I am continuing to tell my story, in hope that (His) story may be made known to all.

Pursuing Your Dream

Photo by  Andreas Wagner  on  Unsplash

So here I was with a mountain of debt , several app ideas, and little understanding of what it would take to make the apps a reality. The problem was I needed these apps to show to potential clients and to make money. Little did I know at the time, I had way too much riding on these ideas. I was asking these apps to do way too much, I had no clear path to make even one of them a reality, and I needed income.

Push Pause

In the middle of pursuing my dream, I had to push pause for a minute. The combination of attending Full Sail University, subsequently leaving Apple to focus on Full Sail, and the newly minted pile of debt from Full Sail put me in a very desperate position. I needed income and was feeling somewhat hopeless when God revealed to me that He had already given me what I needed. Out of obedience, I begin to use what He had put in my hands to provide an income. I began applying the skills I learned while at Apple Retail to start earning an income.

And while this business was not quite what I had imagined, it was a way to meet some of my basic needs. So I pressed into building a customer base. I hated sales as a general concept, so I tried to find any way to tell others exactly what I did in a non-sleazy way. I help people with Apple products…I would tell them. Word got around and referrals became more common. It was never quite what I wanted it to be and for good reason. God never intended me to stay there, I was just passing through.

My time spent helping others with their technology was largely a form of giving. While I did get paid, I was better at giving then I was at finding ways to earn a living as a technical consultant. I guess in the back of my mind I always knew what I truly wanted to do. As I continued this journey, a good friend named Nathan introduced me to a place where my technical skills could impact the “Capital C” Church.

Give, Give, Give

It was here, serving in the IT department at Life.Chuch where Jesus began something new. I began by configuring technology for new employees or new campuses. My troubleshooting ability and my familiarity with Apple products served me well. I began to see a side of Life.Church that I had never experienced. The more I served the more Jesus worked in me. Soon, I was part of the team and serving was something I needed. To see God use your unique talents and abilities to change lives brought me to a new place in my walk.

It was not long before I was traveling places to help launch new campuses. God introduced me to a new friend named Tyler a.k.a. “Wilkey.” Tyler saw something in me and invited me to come alongside him as we lead local volunteers to launch campuses. It was here where my dream began to change. It was here where God began to heal my brokenness. I was now a part of the IT Volunteer Leadership Team at Life.Church.

Infectious Culture

The more time I spent serving at Life.Church with Wilkey, the more I grew as a leader and more importantly as a follower of Jesus. My time serving was as much of a gift to me as it was to the church. I have always embraced generosity as one of my core values. But being in and around the team at Life.Church Central offices brought this value to a new level in my life. I saw these people living the organizational values and it changed me. Typically as someone gets closer to an organization, they discover things which let them down or disappoints them. The closer I grew to my Church, the more I could not get enough.

Many times pursuing your dream looks different walking forward verses looking in the rearview. I can now see how I needed to push pause to watch God provide. It helped me learn to persevere. I needed to learn more about what it is to serve and give. It was here God healed my brokenness. I also experienced a culture, I have never experienced before. It was here, God refined my dream.