The Question Matters


My Toolbox Felt Empty, Part 1

Posted in Change,Entrepreneurs,Leadership by treyfinley1008 on February 19, 2010

I spent 8 years making sure I had tools.  When I reached into my professional tool box, I could quickly pull out Biblical interpretation, a history of how God’s people have read the Bible, the latest in theology, and practical advice for putting people into action for Godly reasons.  As a minister and pastor, I had credentials, experience, and high credibility among my peers.  Churches had begun to come looking for me and my services as a consultant and trainer.  They wanted to peek inside my toolbox and borrow a tool.

That toolbox was awfully heavy.  As a matter of fact, it was impractical.  Like a craftsman with a shed full of tools that have piled up over the years, I found myself with a number of clunky tools that had more dust than use.  It felt great to tell others that I had them.  “I’ve got one of those in my shed,” I could say.  “Would you like to borrow it?”  But when I found myself without a job in ministry (a year ago this week as a matter of fact), the toolbox was suddenly too heavy to pick up.

I quickly came to the realization that some of these tools would be coming with me, and others would not.  I decided to take with me my many years facilitating groups and improving small group dynamics.  I left the campy small group curriculum behind.  I decided to take with me the passion I have for seeing people succeed.  I left the ministry models “guaranteed” to make that happen.  I decided to bring with me the belief that deep inside, every person has a divine spark.  That spark can find expression in any area of life, planted by God and shaped over time by life’s ups and downs.  I left the many theological arguments over how and why this happens.

My theological training taught me how to think holistically.  It taught me how to look for threads in people’s lives, threads of brilliant and vibrant color that give evidence of something Other and Great.  It taught me that faith and belief are at the heart of anything and everything that is exceptional.  In short, I’m keeping the tools that I’ll need regardless of the job I’m asked to do. But that didn’t stop my toolbox from feeling very, very light.

Monday–Part 2, Putting My Old Tools to New Use

Wednesday–Part 3, Putting New Tools in My Old Toolbox

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5 Responses to 'My Toolbox Felt Empty, Part 1'

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  1. […] story.  First, leaving behind a career meant the sudden realization that many of my tools from my past career would not come with me.  My toolbox felt empty.  Then, there was the matter of feeling very unprepared for the next […]

  2. Demra said,

    Very touching and such a great insight. I like the part about leaving the “why” this happens behind regarding life’s ups and downs. Too often I get stuck in this camp and find myself a year later not being any closer to understanding other than God has a plan for me! Thanks for sharing

  3. 2mannasisters said,

    Nicely written. I also like the comment about the divine spark you see in all people. You definitely have a knack for that. I think that’s one reason why people are attracted to you too.

  4. icachris said,

    I am interested to read of your journey and can seen parallels with my own. I agree that we can have so many tools that we’re almost spoilt for choice and sometimes less is more. Following our passion, I believe is key as well as trusting that we will be able to draw on what is required to release our client’s passion and dreams. I believe that coaching can be three-way, given that I believe God is present, whether or not He is acknowledged in the coaching relationship.

    I wanted to make contact with you before I head off again on travels. I was so pleased to have connected with you on my blog and will be in touch again.

    Chris Porter, Empowered Connections http://www.icachris.wordpress.com


    • Hi, Chris. Thanks for commenting. I told a NFP group recently that I view my job as “spiritual formation for entrepreneurs.” I look forward to seeing your future comments here, and I’ll be browsing your blog as well in the coming days. You can find my email by clicking on my profile picture above.


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