The real story
I was raised in a Christian home, going to church three times a week. I went to a Christian school from grade school through college. I was a good kid. Obeyed all the rules. I continued to do all the things that the Christian sub-culture told me to do. Make good grades. Attend a good college. Marry a good girl. Get a good job. Make good money.
I actually married an amazing girl two days after my final exam at college. A week after our honeymoon, I started a great job at one of the largest public accounting firms in the world. I was moving up the ladder quickly, and I even spent a couple years getting international experience auditing hedge funds in the Cayman Islands. Life was... good. I was the center of the story, and I felt I had done a pretty darn good job writing my story. I was already successful and on track to be more successful than I had even expected. Oh, and, I was still heavily involved in church. Christianity was a hobby that made me feel good about myself. I was living the life that I thought other people wanted to live, and I liked it (sick, I know). I was quite proud of myself.
That's when God reached down out of ultimate love and grace and decided to shake things up. At the end of my two year work visa in the Cayman Islands, God began to "tell me" to return to the States and start my own business. I say "tell me" in quotes because at this time in my life, I really didn't have the knowledge of and intimacy with God to actually know what He sounds like (I'm still learning this). So, God made it abundantly clear to me through various confirmations too numerous and obvious to ignore. "OK," I thought, "I can still achieve wealth and approval from others."
My wife and I moved back to Ohio to launch FLYUP Fitness with a small budget and virtually no knowledge about starting a business. When we started, I had told my wife that we would give FLYUP Fitness a three month trial period. Three months. That's it. If we hadn't made major headway and gotten a clear confirmation that FLYUP Fitness would be a success in three months, then I was going to give up and go back to the comfy life of an accountant. I couldn't sacrifice any more than three months of savings and lost income because that wouldn't align with the American dream that I was living out quite well.
That's when God began to reveal to me that I'm not supposed to be the center of the story. He is. I'm a supporting role in a story all about Him. My house, the way I appear, my bank account, even my family were idols that had taken the place of God. I was a lot like the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10:17-27. I did a lot of good things and obeyed the rules most of the time; the problem was, I was living entirely for myself. I wasn't willing to sacrifice everything for God, because I was more important.
Through the Holy Spirit's leading in my life, I learned that I was a fallen and deceived person that had no trust in God. What's worse is that I was actually trying to do God's job for Him by taking over control that rightfully belonged to Him. However, the Holy Spirit also showed me that I am a deeply loved, adopted child of the King, and that he is a GOOD father that I can trust as LORD over my life. Proverbs 3:5-6 has been a constant reminder for me as I train in trusting in the Lord and not my own understanding.
Well, three months turned into 24 months, a six-figure savings account turned into a three-figure savings account. I'm still experiencing the ups and downs of a business startup. In that same time, God blessed my wife and I with our first child! Being a father has taught me about fighting passivity, leading, loving, living intentionally, and understanding the Father's relationship with me. Most importantly, I'm experiencing increased faith on a daily basis. In the grand scheme of things, I recognize that I'm still very much a child. I've got a lot of maturing to do. I still tend to want all the answers and struggle to sacrifice everything. But, I know the Spirit will continue to work in my life as I seek Him.
Regardless of the success or failure that the world will label FLYUP Fitness, the real story is how this startup changed my heart and the heart of my family away from the me-minded, money-loving, American-dreaming life, to a God-first, counter-cultural, strange, out-of-control life. I prefer the latter.
Some things that are greatly impacting my journey: