Sitting at our Symmetry Financial Group (SFG) National Conference in Raleigh, NC a little over a week ago, as is customary, our wonderful owners, Brandon Ellison, Casey Watkins and Brian Pope, knew the perfect time to stir up a little extra activity amongst the attendees. We had all been like sponges absorbing wonderful nuggets for success and personal growth, and had been stuck like glue in our seats for hours so as not to miss a single word of wisdom and information. To revive that physical inactivity, they playfully tossed objects of energy drinks and squishies at us with a warning for a head’s up so as not to catch anyone unaware and subsequently injured in any way. I was fine as far as my energy level went but when they made the call for the squishy, my hand shot up like a 5 year old just wanting one of those treasures with all my heart! I had no idea what it even looked like but I wanted to be the possessor of one! To my surprise, one shot straight into my hand with the greatest of ease. It was like it was on a zip line connected to Brandon and me. I was now the proud owner of a foam, two-tone green creature who stands about 3” tall, grinning largely with raised hands and a stance that secures the weight of what it is imaginarily holding.
On the following Monday having returned home, with a renewed excitement to delve into my work as the recruiter for my husband Kurt and my business, one of the first orders of business was to remove that squishy from my suitcase and place it in his new home-under my PC monitor. I wanted an intentional visual throughout my day that Kurt and I are thriving here with SFG. How could I not feel a sense of joy as I look at that innocent, supremely happy green face, perfectly content in its assignment to help give me a reminder that we are blessed! We ARE thriving as we continue to grow in our place here at SFG!
I didn’t always feel this way, however. Kurt and I were at an all-time low point in our marriage, when he came to me with a plan to come on board with his new career here. I was the poster child for skeptical! I was worn out and just wanted him to find something “safe” to get us out of the tremendous debt we had incurred after a total between us of 8 major moves in approximately 5 years, all of which required the services of wonderful yet albeit expensive professional movers. We didn’t have a barrage of people to ask to help us with any of those moves. Either I relocated or he had or we relocated together as our life took twists and turns to be in what we believed was God’s ordination to place us geographically where we believed we should be. Even though I trusted God for the first ones, by the seventh move for me, I just felt I didn’t have the emotional or physical endurance for yet another move.
Now, with the second company in Missouri to terminate his position as a business move, and severance having run out after we had only made two or three payments on the new house we had purchased together, we faced the very real possibility we were going to have to move yet another time which would be my eighth time for a major move.
Because of particular circumstances, my trust had eroded in everyone and even in God, the One I thought I would never mistrust again. I had grown in my relationship with Him and now knew Him intimately since the mid 90’s and had been through far worse life experiences than this current one. Those previous events only served to strengthen my resolve that my Lord was there with my family and me in the middle of our messes and He would bring a resolution as only He can that actually turns around bad things and brings life and goodness out of them. However, this time I just couldn’t seem to muster up that trust; I just didn’t want to. I wanted to wallow in self-pity and a victim mentality because it just felt good and easier to go to that place instead.
So I had to fully rest on Kurt and his faith that the Lord would somehow turn this latest possibility of losing our home into a place of greatness which would bring a sense of security back to me that had slipped away from my grasp. So I agreed, begrudgingly, that SFG would be our next path.
I never knew initially that my man, whose heart is the Lord’s, would hear His voice clearly instructing to plant in the soil of an incredible company. I didn’t know SFG would be used by God to transform us individually, as a husband and wife, and as leaders to truly thrive in a culture that is safe, and growth minded in areas which are far more important than our income. Our income has done a 180 degree turn, however, and with the math and cultural aspects behind the business model I know it will continue to grow to a place of explosion which will provide opportunities for giving in ways we have always wanted. We have been able to change some lives now but I know it’s going to go a level of extravagant giving that we have never imagined.
So what does my initial introduction of that little happy, green squishy propped under my monitor have to do with this account of gratitude to God and SFG? It’s my daily reminder that:
-In trusting God, He is in control of the entire world (World Wide Web I navigate daily on my PC and seeing He is holding the entire world in His hands).
-The smile on his face reminds me to not let anything steal my joy again. It’s my decision to maintain my joy or to let it go. With God’s help, no matter what it looks or feels like around me, I can choose to keep my joy, knowing He will work things out for our good since we love Him and are called according to His purpose. We will see Him develop His purposes in this journey as we continue to seek Him for His plans for us.
- At other times, that squishy represents offering my praise to God (uplifted hands) whether it’s easy to do because things are working out well or if it's a sacrifice to give it because it appears they are not. The Lord is worthy of my praise at all times.
-On squishy’s stomach (core of his being) are the words, “thrive” and then “stop, focus, grow”. Truly, what’s in the very midst of us has to be a mindset of life which is shown through the fact that we are growing. If we aren’t growing, there is no indication that we are living this life we were blessed each day to be given by our Creator. In order to grow, we have to be intentional to stop and focus on what we are called to do. Otherwise, it will elude us as only good intentions which never evolved from a thought in our mind to an actual manifestation in our lives and in the lives of others of whom we are to give. We can only give from what we personally possess.
It’s all a matter of trust, which comes from authentic relationships and grace when those disappoint, gratitude in always seeing how blessed we truly are, and intentional actions to bring us to a place we can truly thrive in this life.
So like my squishy friend, be joyful, be grateful, and know this is bigger than you as it’s all being upheld by a God who is more than enough to take care of it.