I was embarrassed to share the featured picture for this post with you. It felt awkward.
I mean, what is a man in a suit doing carrying around and riding “half” a bicycle?
But, that’s the thing about humble beginnings-
They quite simply are – HUMBLE!
You can’t fake it, talk yourself out of it, or do anything to change it. It speaks for itself regardless of how you may feel about them. Its part of the journey. Times like this bring with it feelings of inner struggle coupled with hope.
Try not to forget them. Memorialize them.
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes of the goal – Henry Ford
That picture brings back memories.
I remember working under the West Texas summer heat in 2011 as a landscaper. That’s a fancy name for mowing lawns. It was there, in the middle of mowing lawns, chipping trees, taking orders, and selling vacuums that learned to stop my work and serve an older woman with dementia, and led another couple into a relationship with Jesus. It was there that I empowered a talented young inventor to build and patent his ideas.
I remember when I was a Sophomore in college. I had no money. No food. Survival was on my mind. Upon walking out of the stinky elevator unto the basement floor, I spotted to my left, a box of ramen noodles tossed into the trash. Well! I looked right, left, and then right again, sneaked behind the trash and salvaged those noodles.
Wooo! Good times.
Whats interesting though is what happened a few days later. A Mexican man who looked like he was fresh from Alcatraz was traveling from Dallas to Chicago. He left his Greyhound Bus for a second when they got to Arkansas and was left behind. See, he didn’t speak English at all and he didn’t know anything about anything. All he had was a paper with one phone number. Imagine if that got lost.
He just happened to walk into the Tourist Office where I was working. I took him home, gave him a bed, and called the phone number. I spoke with his daughter and we arranged a train for him. Guess what we ate together?
Yep, the salvaged ones. We ate and talked. And after a nap, I took him to catch his train. He made it safely to his family. I checked.
After graduating with a Bachelors in Arkansas, I returned home to Texas and then moved to Wisconsin by myself. I knew no one and knew nothing. Plus, I had no money and no car insurance. By my calculation, people weren’t supposed to be living in a place as cold as Wisconsin. But, I went anyway. It was an invitation. His invitation. So, I couldn’t miss it for the world.
While I was there, no one gave me a job. Even the laundry mat guy who told me he was looking for someone refused to give me a job. It was the weirdest thing. I ended up washing dishes and taking out trash at a mini-fancy pub and restaurant.
Imagine me – an international accountant, BA accounting and business student…washing dishes and serving food with high schoolers. The nerve life had to have had do this to me.
But, the ego had to go.
When you love God and join him in the family business (of testifying, empowering, encouraging, coaching, teaching, consulting), ego is a no-no. But, after settling that in my heart, I gave it my best. Guess what happened?
Those high schoolers loved by disco, funky beats. They thought my style was dope. They were fascinated about a graduate who smiled every time he rinsed dishes and took out stinking trash. So, they started asking questions about God. They wanted to know the source of my mojo.
I was no Moto Moto, but I did have some heavenly mojo.
Before I was done working there, they knew Him. The assistant manager asked me to baptize her lol. I told her I was no priest or pastor. What I enjoyed most was helping them articulate their God-given gifts and talents and showed them how to pursue their God-given dreams and callings. Guess what they are doing now? That’s right. [Go Ish’!]
Oh, I could go on and on…
There is something humble beginnings are trying to tell you.
First off –
Humble beginnings are truly humbling!
what makes them precious is the innocence of the moment they ignite. The innocence in you that it inspires. Humble beginnings take a picture of who you really are. The real you. The authentic you. The God made and called you. They capture the God element that shadows, guides, and coaches you.
Humble beginnings are those moments when God shows up to point out three things – who you are, what you are here for, and where heaven needs you to be to serve God’s other children in a profound and supernatural way.
For me, I discovered my identity – I AM A HAPPY MAN!
I also discovered my passion – I REALLY REALLY LOVE PEOPLE AND LOVE TO SEE AND HELP THEM BECOME WHOLE. I LOVE TO HELP AMPLIFY THE SMARTS, CAPABILITIES, AND POSSIBILITIES OF OTHER PEOPLE. I WANT TO SEE PEOPLE SUCCEED AND FULFILLING THEIR GOD GIVEN VISION.
Humble beginnings are God’s perfect tools to teach you two of the most important lessons that leads me and you into authenticity and self-actualization where we become all we can become and do all we are capable of.
These lessons are humility and discipline.
Discipline sets you free from the control of natural desires and natural defaults. It leaves you with control of yourself and your choices (self-control). It requires focus and consistency over long periods of time. Small victories are key to buying this trait.
Humility sets you free from the control of people, control of people’s opinions, and from the fear of man.
Humility requires brokenness through humiliation, humiliation, disappointments, more disappointment, failures, rejection, more humiliation and a willing heart to learn without holding grudges.
Humility can be learned in a day, but the time depends on the person. To reach the highest levels on the graph of humility, your chart has to go deeper into the negative quadrants for a quite some time.
Humility is a y=b-ax graph. It has a negative gradient because it involves brokenness, rejection, humiliation…and more. It is one of the most desired, but one of the most expensive traits to become.
Both are a rare combination that sets one completely free. It sets you up to live fully, explore, and discover God and who you are in Him in the highest level.
It sets you up to handle great things without losing yourself and sense of humor
It sets you up to work with excellence like a King, but keeps you from thinking you are more important than anyone else, like a servant.
Humility teaches you that you are not that important. You are just like everybody else. And maybe others can do a better job than you can. Still, it reminds you never to forget that you are important.
It is a sobering thought and its okay.
Put on a smile as you wash dishes, take out the trash, sweep, clean, mow the lawn, work three jobs to pay the bills even though you are thinking of your dreams. Its okay. Put on a smile even if you gave up something precious to care for your parents or if you are sacrificing something precious to help your dad in a family business. Put on a smile even if your life is hard right now and your future looks bleak.
Just say – CHEESE!
It takes the sting away.
You destiny, dreams, or visions may look and sound impossible. But in reality, we don’t know. And the answer may just be a text message, phone call, email, conversation, question…away. So, its okay. Just try.
These pictures didn’t happen by accident okay.
It was at the shop of a Japanese Photographer that I met Chief Judge Bluebond. After a question, she asked me to call. After a phone call, she sent out an email. After an email, I sent out an email. After another email, Fmr. Federal Chief Judge Mitchel, aka the busiest judge in U.S Court History and one of the harshest in California, became my mentor.
And what was I doing at the shop of this Japanese fellow?
Washing the old man’s dishes, making his bed, helping him around, and being a friend.
There is just something about me washing dishes, mopping floors, and mowing lawns, that God seems to enjoy.
Do not despise the days of humble beginnings.
Life is not full of surprises – WE ARE!
I wish you all a week full of good health and prosperity.