Success was sweet to me. At the relatively young age of 40, I had worked
long and hard, and I was enjoying the fruits of my honest labors. As a
hard-driving Christian entrepreneur, I had managed to parlay my
God-given business acumen, natural tenacity, and technological savvy
into a bevy of business interests that generated hefty profits and a
positive cash flow. I owned 7 apartment complexes (399 units), a car
lot and a consulting company.
all outward appearances, I was living the Dream, and I relished that
superficial image of glamorous prosperity.
But underneath my external veneer of entrepreneurial confidence and
success, I was really a nervous wreck, plagued by spontaneous,
unpredictable panic attacks…
to week and month to month. My mind constantly ran numbers and deals.
How much did I owe? How much did I have? When was the next deal coming
or closing? I lived in constant fear that my financial house of cards
was going to come crashing down any day. I woke up worrying about money,
worried about it all day and went to bed worried about it.
Periodically I took my family on vacations to places, like London,
Paris, Cancun, the Virgin Islands and Disney 25 times in 5 years. I
thought it would be a distraction, but I was so stressed I couldn’t
relax long enough to enjoy them with my wife and daughter. I was always
busy on my cell phone or computer, talking, texting or emailing somebody
about some business deal or emerging crisis back home.
The moments of happiness I got from trips and materials things didn’t
fill the void that was growing bigger and bigger. I constantly felt the
burden of managing my multiple businesses and dealing with the constant
conflict I had produced. I was stressed, I was anxious, and I was
becoming lethargic. I had become obsessed with making money, but my lack
of consistent discipline as a business owner and manager was causing me
problems and costing me money. And it was really wearing me down.
Because of the stress that permeated my personality, I was living in
constant conflict with everyone with whom I had to deal. I had a short
temper and was easily angered. I also had developed a well-deserved
reputation as a tough negotiator who drove a hard bargain. Because I
could argue longer and talk louder, I usually won. But I didn’t make
many friends in the process.
The hardest hit relationship was my marriage to a woman I dearly loved
and adored. Our relationship wasn’t where it needed to be because of all
the stress I was bringing into our home. I wanted more from our
marriage and she wanted more but the ways we were trying to achieve our
goals weren’t working. Neither of us was ever unfaithful, and we had
never discussed divorce, but subconsciously I knew my precious bride
wasn’t getting what she needed. I could feel Jordan starting to pull
away from me, a little at a time. She didn’t like what she was seeing in
me. She wasn’t happy and I wasn’t giving her much of a reason to be
The more I tried to find balance in my life the less I had. I felt
alone, rejected, and miserable. I knew something had to change radically
and soon. I just didn’t know what to do about it, or how to do it.
I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior when I was six, was baptized as a
teenager and I considered myself a reasonably good Christian person.
But the older I got the further I got away from the Lord personally. I
actually thought for a while that I was truly trusting God—that I was
leaning on Him. But as time passed and things continued to spiral
downhill in my stress-filled life, I slowly came to realize that I was
really just paying lip service to God.
The more I tried to get closer to Jesus, the more I saw how far away I
really was. The more I read in the Bible about “trusting in the Lord
with all your heart,” the more I realized that I was living my life
trusting mainly in myself. I had pretty much turned to my own way,
hypocritically using God as a sort of fallback safety net when things
got too intense for me to handle alone.
I knew that I desperately needed help in every area of my life. So as a
last resort, I turned to God and repeatedly started praying, “Help me,
Lord.” I hadn’t been putting any time into my relationship with God, but
I kept wondering, “Where is God when I need Him most?”
Suddenly I saw, with perfect clarity, I was serving myself and my own carnal desires, worshipping material things and success.
actions. I would give an account for the testimony I had with others. I
would answer for the husband and father I had been. Then it really hit
me… My daughter would likely marry the type of man I had become. I was
not the man of God that I wanted to be, and I certainly wasn’t the man
of God I had been created to be. It was time to change.
Over the coming weeks, the Holy Spirit really started to work me over
and instead of burying the thought of giving God control I started
focusing on the thought. All the things I knew, all the scriptures I had
heard, all the words of wisdom I had heard over the years really
started to come alive. For the first time in my life, I was really
moving to give God control of my life. I was moving from knowing God’s
word to actually trying to apply it to my life.
“God, make me the man you want me to be!” “God, take control!” That was
the cry of my heart that day. I confessed and repented of every sin I
could think of – including the idolatry of worshipping money and the
futility of trying to go my own way without letting the Holy Spirit
control my life.
But I knew that I wasn’t done yet. I had made things right with God but I
still had to make things right with my wife. How could I go to my wife
and tell her I wasn’t the man of God I proclaimed to be? What would she
think? How embarrassing would it be?
I walked into our bedroom crying. “I have a confession to make,” I said
to Jordan. “There is something I have to tell you . . . right now.” “I
have not been the godly husband that I should have been,” I said to her
between sobs. “I should have been following God and leading my family in
His ways. Instead I’ve been following the ways of the world. But I want
to do better and I have asked God to forgive me and to help me change.
I’m asking you to do that, too.”
I realized that Jordan already knew I wasn’t the man of God I said I
was. Over the years, I had made promises to do better. These promises
lasted for a season – a day, a week, a month or maybe even longer – then
I would slip back into my old ways. But over the next few months,
Jordan acknowledged and appreciated my sincere desire to give God
control of my life. I really appreciated that vote of confidence from
her. I needed the support and encouragement. By the same token, she
needed to see me stepping up and being a godly husband and making godly
decisions for the family, based not on temporary whims or earthly
expediency but on the Word of God.
Another thing that amazed me was the reaction I got from other people as
I began to make these changes. Because I must confess, I couldn’t keep
quiet about what was going on in my life. It was all so radical, so
transforming, so liberating to finally be following the will of God! I
simply had to tell people what I was doing and why. I had no choice. And
when I did…almost everyone was moved to start telling me about their
own similar worries and problems. You see I thought I was alone. I
thought I was the ONLY Christian man struggling to give God control.
As I released all the pent-up stress in my life and turned it all over
to God, the tension just started to melt away. I shared my problems and
my fears with Jordan, and oftentimes she was the one who came up with
the timely solutions we needed. Now we communicating more honestly with
each other, share our thoughts and feelings more openly, and trust each
other more completely.
I’m not perfect by any means, but what I do have now is balance. My life
is in control because I’ve allowed God to take the lead, and I strive
daily to keep it this way.
If you are struggling to find balance why not give God’s way a try?
[written by Nathan Tabor]