This is a guest series by Phil Cate. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them all by clicking on ‘Phil Cate’ under the Categories heading in the right panel. Watch for new installments every Friday.
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God Sent People
Would you find it strange that the day after I prayed that prayer, a corporate chaplain that been hired by our company months before stopped in my office and just wanted to get to know me?
Would you find it strange that my company hired a Christian management consultant the same week? Would you find it strange that I didn’t even know he was a Christian consultant when he gave a lecture on goal diffusion; yet when he offered one-on-one time with any employee, I was the only one that took him up on it?
Would you find it strange that my father called me within a week, saying he thought I needed help and I should go see this Christian counselor he had found through one of the local churches in Atlanta?
Would you find it strange that my boss grabbed me after work one day and, leaning on his car, told me how he had come to Christ and how his wife had taken years longer but came to Christ also?
I save the biggest surprise for later, because she deserves her own chapter.
Wow, maybe this prayer thing might work after all.
I started seeing the counselor regularly; and although in the final analysis, other things helped me more, counseling certainly helped me isolate some of the problems. I was also able to indentify sources of pain and bad cycles, though that really didn’t provide a solution. But I’ll cover that later.
Jim Standard should really have his own chapter, too. He was the Christian management consultant brought in to help lean and improve the business. We had some employees that needed to be fired and one in particular (yours truly) that needed some help.
I went to his office and told him I was intrigued by his testing and lecture, and asked if I could spend some time with him. He said, “Come on in and sit down.” He asked the basics about what I did for the company in terms of product line and territory and client profile.
And then he absolutely staggered me. He said, “Phil, what do you want out of your life?” I’m not sure anyone had ever asked me that before; as a matter of fact, I’m sure no one ever did.
I said, “Well, I want to be happy.”
He said, “OK, but that’s too vague. What is happy? Let’s imagine yourself at your funeral. What do want to have accomplished?”
I said, “Well, I don’t want another divorce.”
He grabbed a legal pad and put “Phil’s New Life” at the top and said, “OK, am I to understand then that you want a happy marriage?”
I thought, Well, happy marriages are for the other guy, but this guy is sharp. So I said, “Well, yeah, sure; but I’ve got some baggage there.”
Jim said, “That’s OK. Let’s work on the plan together. I’ll see you here Friday morning at 8:30, and I’ll bring the donuts. Be thinking about what you’d want for your life if you had no barriers. And by the way, do you have a Bible?”
I’m thinking, What’s a Bible got to do with this? But yes, I must have at least three or four of them.
He said, “Go home and read Philippians 4:13”. Obviously he doesn’t know me; I don’t do well with homework. But I’ve got good feelings about this guy.
I started seeing Jim once or twice a week in the office, on Monday and Friday mornings. This went on for months; he continued to probe what I wanted my life to look like. These meetings would go on for an hour or two. We also worked on how to ratchet up business and designed a new marketing and advertisement strategy.
At the end of every meeting, he would again tell me to go home and read Philipians 4:13. I’d smile and tell him I would, but I never did.
Finally, Jim showed me the original legal pad he had pulled out, where a list of the things we had talked about filled the first page, and all of the action steps were penned in on following pages. It’s what I had said I wanted. He handed it to me while asking, “OK, is that it? That’s the life you want?”
I read down through it and said yes. Then Jim said something that certainly changed me forever. He said, “Well, you can have it.”
I wanted so badly to believe him, but being filled with lack of confidence, I thought, Nah, all of this would make a great life, and I’ve never had that before.
Jim interrupted my thoughts to say, “Phil, please, go home and read it . . . will you do that for me?”
I said, “Jim, just tell me what it says.”
He wisely replied, “No, it’s not yours if you don’t read it yourself. Please, just go read it.”
It was Friday, and I thought, Well, OK, I’ll read it over the weekend. I can trust this guy, and he is helping me.
I went through the normal weekend routine and finally, predictably, read the Bible verse on Monday morning, on the way out the door to my Monday meeting with Jim.
It staggered me. I had been so overwhelmed with this list we were drafting up; we had compiled quite the list. But Philippians 4:13 said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I read that and it hit me hard and then began to sink in even further as I hurriedly drove to the office to meet with Jim.
I made a beeline to his door and walked in and asked, “Is that true?”
He didn’t hesitate, as he could tell by the look on my face and the tone of my voice that I had just read it. He said, “It’s not only true, it’s a promise from the creator and owner of the whole shootin’ match, and there are many more promises just like it in his word.”
I thought, Wait a minute . . . that means I could get married again and have a “good” marriage; I could really connect with Sara; I could accelerate my business endeavors; I could really change my behaviors?
Wow, that’s a lot to ponder in a minute or two, but the thought of it was so exciting.
Next: The love of my life walks in
Phil Cate is a resident of the Atlanta, Georgia, metro area and runs a small medical equipment resale business. He is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at PhilC@ER3.biz or by phone at 678-429-0901
Printed by permission from Phil Cate, Mama told me Jesus saved my soul, but who was gonna save my butt??? Confessions, lessons, and revelations of a born rebel, © 2008.