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Not Forgotten

3 years after the bottom fell out of my life, God’s faithfulness has scripted an incredible and unexpected twist in my story that only He could have written. As those of you who know me personally and those of you who have followed my story for awhile know, my life took a significant turn a few years ago. I’ve written and shared about that a few times, like here.

For those who don’t already know or haven’t followed along, here’s a brief recap to get you up to speed: I spent the bulk of 8 years working in the music business, primarily in management roles. In early 2009, God allowed me to see that my career and achievement had become very much an idol to me, something I leaned into to give me worth, validation, identity and approval in place of His; something it was quite ill-equipped to do.

I stepped off a plane in Nashville after a work trip to New York City on December 19, 2009 and never took another one. Around 2 weeks later, the bottom fell out of everything, including my heart. I had become someone I didn’t want to be in order to have this dream for myself that I thought made me SOMEBODY. My heart had become sick with success and I began to understand that I needed a detox from my addiction to achievement.

In the first week of 2010, I walked away from my music business career. I didn’t care what I did next, and I didn’t care if I ever worked in this field again, I just knew I wanted my heart to be free.  I was unemployed for close to 4 months, only to be hired by Starbucks in April 2010. God used my time at Starbucks to deconstruct and reconstruct my heart in a powerful way. That season was a significantly refining one that I’ve written about here and here.

In the time since then, my heart has changed a lot and I came to realize that just because I walked away from what I was doing, it didn’t mean I wasn’t good at those things. In fact, I was, and I enjoyed it tremendously. Which leads us to now.

Over the past couple years I’ve had the opportunity to become close friends with Jon Acuff, a writer and speaker that many of you may know from his popular blog and book Stuff Christians Like. We’re the same age, have a lot in common and a lot of similar influences from having grown up at the same time and his family has become my Nashville family. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know him. I got to assist Jon at an event he did for Cross Point back in early 2010 and since then have done about 25 different events with him in and around Nashville. I’ve enjoyed getting to roll with him to support him as a friend, while also getting to put some of my past experience to work, helping him with logistics at various events.

About 5 months ago I got a pretty awesome invitation: to accompany Jon on tour to launch his brand new book, “Start”, which releases tomorrow, April 22.  To say I was honored would be a huge understatement. My boss and leaders at Cross Point, where I’m on staff, were very gracious in allowing me to take 2 weeks of my vacation back to back so I could do this. So here I am on the Start Book tour, where I am managing social media for Jon and the tour, documenting the adventure on video and assisting Jon in general. I believe in Jon and what God has given him to say like crazy, and while I am excited and it is a really fun way to get to spend a couple weeks on vacation from my regular job, that’s not where the story ends.

A few nights ago I was reminiscing over the past few years and reading through some of my old blog posts. What a journey the last few years have been! I came across a post I wrote the day after my first day at Starbucks called “Learning How To Die”. It was a pretty emotionally raw post about my first day at the new job, how much God was showing me about how entitlement and pride had corrupted my heart and how I knew that while that season would not be easy, it would be necessary.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.

Then I looked at the date of the post… April 22, which meant my first day at Starbucks was April 21, 2010. And today, April 21, 2013… 3 years later to the date… I sit in New York City… with my buddy Jon… hours from the big Times Square kick-off of his new book… doing something I didn’t just drop, but threw off a cliff… something I thought I’d never see again… something I thought I’d never get to do again… something I love… for someone I love.

Sometimes we get so focused on what we see right in front us that we forget that God sees the whole picture, the “end from the beginning” as Isaiah 46:10 says. It’s also easy to forget and assume that God forgot what He put in us. But He hasn’t. At one glance, this is just an awesome 2-week adventure for me to do something I love and support my friend’s dream. But today is significant in that it is a moment of redemption in my life that I could not see 3 years ago. I could not see THIS, THEN, but being here now I know that I could have never gotten to THIS without THAT.

When I was walking through that season 3 years ago, my pastor Pete Wilson‘s book Plan B had just come out, in which he wrote, “the value in your shattered dream is more about who you’re becoming than where you’re going.” It was then and it is now. The challenge will always be to have IT (whatever “it” is for you) without it having YOU and sometimes you have to lose what you want so you can get what you need. I don’t know why this has come back, but it has, and I know it has more to do with who God is shaping me to be than what I get to do.

Did God allow my heart and world to fall apart, lead me to Cross Point, close every door except the one to Starbucks, allow me to become friends and develop a close relationship with Jon, give Jon the idea and content for his book Start, give Dave Ramsey the idea for the New York City kick off event, give Jon and his team the idea to ask me to come on the tour, give the marketing team the wisdom to set the release date when they did and the tour dates when they did all just so I could be sitting right here, right now  to remind me that no detail of my life is beyond His watchful gaze? I don’t know. But I know He could have.

I don’t say any of this to brag or to get you to think I’m awesome. I’m not. But Jesus is. If anything, I could not wait to share this story simply to testify that God is faithful. I don’t know where your life is right now, or what you see. But know that there is always more than what you see. We can’t always see the story He’s writing, but I assure you that He is, indeed, always writing. God is a master strategist and architect, constantly developing character and executing redemption. He is faithful and He has not forgotten you.

 

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Grant JenkinsNot Forgotten
9 comments
JSMPragmatic
JSMPragmatic

Been following your story for a few years now. Finding courage in it today. Thank you for having the courage to authentically share your path, even when it was dark.

rachelcbodine
rachelcbodine

So inspiring! I quickly became a fan of Jon's after Dave's FPU. You are so blessed to share your talents with him. As a person who is now flipping the switch from average to awesome, your post is uplifting. I'm glad you liked my photo on Instagram, and that I happened to click on your website! No "chance" about that! I needed to see this!

EJGaines
EJGaines

LOVE LOVE LOVE this. You've walked with such unashamed reliance on Jesus and it is both inspiring and challenging! Praying for you, bro.

tammyhelfrich
tammyhelfrich

It has been so cool to watch your journey. So excited for everything that God has in store for you, and super excited for Jon and his amazing work. Have a blast!

JeannieRuiz
JeannieRuiz

You have no idea how much you have helped, spoken to my heart today! I am overwhelmed thinking that a similar process happened to me 2 years ago, when God in His grace and love towards me permitted my 11 years government career end before my heart got more corrupted than what it was! I have not been able, yet, to find a job; my $25. An hour mentality has not allowed me to move on until now. I'm pretty sure you understand, God bless you and please please don't stop blogging! Thanks for helping this sister here.................

deewilcox
deewilcox

Fantastic post. We all need the reminder that God has not forgotten what He put in us, even if we think the time has past, and those things are gone. Pastor Pet'es Plan B book was released at a crucial time in my life, as well. 2010 was... something else. Remembering that losing everything wasn't about what was lost, but what God was forming in us was incredibly powerful. It got me through. Thanks for sharing this story of redemption. :) It's exciting to see God use the gifts he put in you -- they're there for a reason.

LindseyHartz
LindseyHartz

Tears here as well.  I've always loved your story and found such hope in it.  Walking through some scary changes right now as I work on launching a ministry and everything you describe above is so very true. I'm really going to hold on to remembering God's plan and purpose is sovereign and good and any obstacles flying my way are not too big for Him. Thank you! 

JennyRain
JennyRain

Have loved seeing God's incredible hand writing your story the last few years Grant...Makeda and I were just talking about your journey earlier tonight --- as well as talking about the ginormous start bus that you managed to find a parking spot for in the middle of Times Square! :)

jyess_folsom
jyess_folsom

I got teary eyed while reading this.  God is a God of details and extraordinary redemption. I've thoroughly enjoyed keeping up with your story over the past 3 years.  My favorite line was, "...sometimes you have to lose what you want, so you can get what you need." PREACH!