I tell myself that everything I’m doing is all about supporting the ability to get Paradigm off the ground. (For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, Paradigm2.org is a website I built with the goal of encouraging and equipping churches and church leaders so they can better minister to and with older adults)
The reality is, Paradigm’s been stuck on the ground for a long time. I’m trying to figure out what to make of that.
A couple years ago, I decided to leave a job I liked so I could have more flexibility to start putting everything together. I paid the bills by delivering food for Uber Eats, Grubhub and other gig economy apps.
That was two and a half years ago. In that time, I built the website. That was good. I put up ten articles. Not bad.
But… that’s all I did.
What’s going on here?
A series of distractions
You know, I thought I knew what I wanted to do.
When I went back to school, I was amazed to see this clarity of purpose develop. I wrapped up my Masters in Gerontology and was ready to spark a mini-revival in older adult ministry. Someone had to do it, and I was pretty sure God was calling me to it.
But it’s always coming back to paying the bills….
I took a job with a nonprofit organization. I saw it as a possible training ground in case I might want to create my own nonprofit. And, I believed in the organization. That always helps, right?
And I poured a lot of time and energy into it. I enjoyed it. But this wasn’t what I had put all that time (and a ton of money) into education for. I asked myself, was I letting this distract me from what I really wanted to do?
So I left, and took up delivery. And I found I was doing much better than I had anticipated I might, so I did more.
But I was putting time into getting things set up. As the concept for Paradigm Squared came together, I started learning how to build a platform online that could spread the message.
I called it more training, but was it more distraction?
Here’s the thing about all that learning to build a platform.
As I learned more, I saw places where the information would apply much more quickly and easily in the area I was making my money already. I knew people working these gig economy platforms had a ton of questions about how to do the business side of the gig economy.
How do you do taxes? What do you do about wearing your car down? I had answers, I knew I could help.
I reasoned that okay, here’s my training ground. This is how I can learn to build my platform for Paradigm: I can build a website that can help people. I can use this as a way to practice for what I really want to do.
EntreCourier.com was born. A podcast was eventually born. I worked on it, built it, and it did what it was meant to do.
Here I’ve built a website now that is starting to grow some legs. It’s starting to earn money for me. It’s been successful and I HAVE learned a ton. There’s so much that I’ve learned and I’m excited about how I can turn those lessons into something with Paradigm.
Yet… these little nagging thoughts.
But if I’m that passionate about older adult ministry, why have I let that set? Why have I done so little with the website? How come I am not reaching out and laying any groundwork for what I want to do here?
Was EntreCourier just another distraction?
And if it is, why am I so easily distracted? Why have I not poured myself into what I keep telling myself I’m going to pour myself into?
What’s happening here? Is there a deeper issue?
When I returned to school ten years ago, I wasn’t really sure exactly where I was going to go with it. I believed God would guide me.
As this clarity of purpose grew, it really felt like God WAS guiding me. I went from someone wondering if I had any passion for anything to feeling like I was all in on this sense of purpose.
What happened to that?
I’m going to tell you, I still believe strongly in that sense of purpose. I believe deeply in what Paradigm is all about.
Okay, so…. why am I not doing as much as I think I should have been doing?
Is it impostor syndrome?
I look back and wonder: Did I take on all these other things because I knew I could do them? Was it a path of least resistance?
There’s this piece where I’m wondering: Is it just that I don’t believe that I can do what I’m setting out to do? Or maybe I don’t think I’m who I’m making myself out to be, you know?
I want to build a website, but more than that, bring people together who are involved in ministry with older adults in their churches. But who am I to do that? Other than pastoral experience thirty years ago, I’m not doing that. How can I create a movement when I am not really part of that movement?
I have friends who have been there. People who have engaged in this kind of ministry and they know what they’re talking about because they’ve been in the trenches. Who am I to try to do anything?
Is that kind of feeling holding me back?
Am I just letting the accuser do his accuser thing?
Here’s the deal: I think there’s a real need to be filled, that I think Paradigm can be instrumental in helping fill the need.
As a Christian, I do believe there is the enemy who wants to hold us back from what we can do.
And here’s where I struggle. Is there really something to be concerned about, or is the enemy just trying to keep me from doing it? If he can convince me that there’s a problem with what’s been happening, maybe I won’t ever really dive into it.
Or has this whole thing been a way of preparing me for what I want to do?
In my last post, one thing that came up over and over about building the EntreCourier website was the word patience.
Sometimes we think we have to get everything done all at once. I really believe that there are times where God says, it’s not time. You’re not ready.
How much of this has been just God preparing me?
I learned so much from business management with a nonprofit. Part of that was learning how often you have to put as much effort into the nonprofit parts of being nonprofit as you do into the mission of the nonprofit. But I also learned how it was possible to build something with amazing reach without needing a ton of money.
My confidence has grown tremendously. I’m learning, I can be good at something like this. Is God just saying, hey, I’m waiting to get you to this point that you’re ready to do this?
Saul kind of disappeared from the scene a few years after his conversion before beginning his ministry. Even Jesus said at one time, my time has not yet come.
A little more than a year ago, I struggled with all these questions because I was trying to decide whether to commit more to EntreCourier (or shut it down because it was too much of a distraction). I never know what’s the Spirit talking to me and what is my own thoughts, but I decided to commit more deeply to the site, work on building it, because I did believe that if it went well, it could be the thing that would allow me to grow Paradigm. Between the experience and hopefully building some revenue, that would allow me to put more time into Paradigm and really make it go.
Maybe it’s a combination of all of these.
I struggle with whether to say that it’s strictly about God just saying wait. I don’t want to blame God for my inactivity.
Maybe it’s possible to be all of those things. I listened too much to the accusations. I doubted whether I should be doing this or whether I COULD do this.
What would have happened if I didn’t listen to all that? If I had gone all in on Paradigm at least as much as I had with EntreCouprier, what would have happened?
I don’t know. It could have been wildly successful. I can’t discount the idea that a lot of my inactivity there is all on my shoulders.
But here’s what I’m realizing: It doesn’t matter.
I don’t mean to say that, if God wanted me to dive in earlier and I didn’t because of my doubts, that THAT doesn’t matter. I don’t know if there were missed opportunities, that maybe I WAS distracted by everything else I got involved with.
When I say it doesn’t matter, I’m saying that there’s not changing what has happened. It is what it is. When I say it doesn’t matter, I’m saying that God is God and he can do amazing things despite my shortcomings.
Maybe I did doubt too much. Maybe I have been dragging my feet. Maybe sometimes the things the accuser whispers to us has some validity – but maybe that validity is the biggest distraction from it all.
If God wants to do some great things through us, he’ll do them. God is big enough and powerful enough that he can do them in spite of our failures or shortfalls. The accuser just wants us to focus on those shortcomings because that takes our attention off what God can do and how God can use us in spite of ourselves.
Where is this all leading?
I don’t know.
Here’s what I do know. I see a window opening up.
In just the past two and a half weeks, the EntreCourier site started generating real revenue. It’s kind of astounding to be honest. It’s not money that’s hitting the bank immediate, it takes about 2 months.
But here’s the thing. I’ve wondered, should I do fund raising to get things launched? Should I do what I’ve been doing: work on the side to support the site? Is there a way to pay the bills which allows me to pour some time into Paradigm?
And here…. maybe EntreCourier’s doing what it was meant to do. Maybe that’s the opportunity to do all that?
With rocket and satellite launches, it’s all about finding a window or a time when everything is perfect for being able to launch. I don’t know if I’ve missed a lot of windows so far. Maybe I have. Or maybe it’s all been getting me ready for this.
I’m asking for your prayers. As I write this all out, I feel like I’m coming to a resolution to this whole question, but then again, I don’t know. Pray for me, please? If God is preparing me for this, that he helps me know. And if he is preparing me for this, that I’m open to that preparation and don’t miss the window.