I’m still in Texas, and although it was a day later than we’d imagined, we’re home from the hospital after my grandson’s birth with a healthy baby and mother. God is good.
I always catch myself when I say that. “God is good.” Isn’t God always good? Inherently good? His goodness never changes, but I don’t think we automatically think of His goodness when–for example–we are being frisked by TSA or when we miss a connection after traveling all day. “I missed my flight?! God is good!”
But I do notice that I say “God is good” when things are going right, like when baby and mama are both healthy and the birth went well. I want to use this blog post, however, to make it clear that, at least from a business standpoint, God is good even when things are going badly. Very badly. That’s why my letter “G” is God.
As many of you know, I owned and operated two haunted attractions during the last 10 years. What you may not know is that one of them ended in tragedy, and the other one God took away from me. I’ll explain.
Several years ago I had an amazing business partner who was full of passion and energy–he took care of himself and was the life of every party. He could build anything I asked, and his dreams for the future of our business were outrageous impossibilities, but he was a contagious optimist who thought everything was possible. And he took me along on that ride.
He suffered a back injury at one of our events and eventually would need minor surgery. So, after our second season, he traveled to Los Angeles to finally relieve his pain. It was one of those things–like going under anesthesia for dental surgery: you know a risk exists but you never think anything bad is really going to happen. But it did. He went into cardiac arrest during surgery, but because it was an outpatient room too small for normal life-saving procedures, he went without oxygen for somewhere near 9 minutes. He “lived” for a few weeks, but truthfully we lost him that day on the surgical table. And when he finally decided to let go and leave us, I distinctly remember rolling my head back, closing my eyes, and assuring God that I trusted Him.
I couldn’t keep that haunt or the land; I managed to for about 2 years, but the payments got too big– and I’d lost my builder, so I had to move on professionally. “Moving on” from a business perspective was tolerable only because of my Bakersfield haunt that I’d helped run since it opened. I had recently been asked to be a partner, and my new partner was also creative and talented, and he loved (loves) Halloween as much as I do. After creating our partnership, we became a permanent haunted attraction and even opened for off-season events several times a year. We had a good run. We combined what we each did best and created fun that our city loved. We had a great crew, great reviews, and a great reputation in our community as a safe, family-friendly entertainment venue. We had it all. For a while.
I saw it coming in the way one sees a funnel cloud in the distance, but I loved what I did too much to pay attention to the problems that were threatening our business. I loved that company so much that I sacrificed time with my family, friends, and even my relationship with God in order to make it successful. I tried to force sunshine over us that would dissipate the clouds, but no amount of effort could stop the plans He had for me. And, after one disastrous event that clearly demonstrated the destruction running unchecked within our company, I knew something had to change–even if it were me. So I gave God control over my future. I said: If you don’t want me doing this anymore, please take it away from me.
Annnnnnd He did. Three days later…. It. Was. Gone. It happened so quick, it was as if God had been waiting for my permission to do what He wanted to do.
The moral of this story could have been “be careful what you pray for,” …but it’s actually just the opposite: Be reckless in what you pray for, because giving God the unrestricted reins will ensure that you get where you’re supposed to go.
See, God is good. After removing me from that company before it spiraled out of business, I asked Him to show me what He wanted me to do, and He answered with ideas and people and opportunities and demand, and the exact money I needed to start a new company that surrounds me with people who speak faith into me (even when I don’t deserve it), uplift me, and a company comprised of amazing women who work as hard as anyone.
The point of these stories is that I trusted God when things went badly–even trusted Him in both cases when He took away things I love. What if we all did that–in business? What if we simply trusted God to bring us money, customers, ideas, and everything we need for success? Only then would we have these two certainties: if we succeed it’s because we are on the right track; if we fail, it’s because God has a better plan that will bring so much more money/customers/fun/satisfaction than we can dream for ourselves.
But doesn’t that take quite a leap of faith? Yes. Faith and a whole lot of hard work.
My business plan from this point forward includes God. Using this method, I can ensure two things: a) if I’m on the right track, my business will succeed, and b) if I DO fail, then I was on the wrong path anyway, and who wants that.
And I don’t really want to waste much more time going down wrong paths. I know I’ll get to where I’m supposed to be eventually, but it sure would be easier to have a professional guide.