Something really great happened to me. An entrepreneur and I became friends. I’ve known Dave for 14 years and worked with him for 12 years. It took that long, but this week, we became friends.
I am so excited.
If you would have asked me during the time I’ve known Dave if we were friends, I would have said, “Yes. We’ve worked together forever.”
But yesterday I realized we were’t friends. We were coworkers. No. That’s not right. Our relationship was as investor-entrepreneur. I believe we wanted to be friends, but we weren’t.
Here’s what happened.
I turned on my computer, and there was an email from Dave. It said, “Come see me. In fact, the whole team would like to see you. We can all go out for a company lunch.”
It made me smile.
The invite was delightfully appealing. I arrived at the company at noon. Dave greeted me and gave me a tour and an update on his business. Then we all went to lunch.
The conversation with the team was light and lively. It was filled with personal stories from each of our learning moments while building the business together. Great memories!
The visit was ending.
Dave and I talked while standing next to one of the demo machines. I told him how much I appreciated the invite, and I congratulated him on the fine team he built. Each of them is highly skilled and a pleasure to be with. While at lunch, I could feel the love and respect they had for each other. This is not a small thing to accomplish in a startup. Most never get there.
Dave said, “You should visit more often.”
I said, “When I just show up, I always feel like I’m interrupting what you are trying to get done. Why not invite me in from time to time?”
We hugged each other.
I realized right then something was different about our relationship. We were comfortable with each other. We liked being together. There was no tension like in the past. We were business partners, and now we are friends.
Later that same day, Dave called to answer a question I had before I left his office.
I said, “You know, you’ve changed.”
He said, “AA and eliminating alcohol from my life has caused the change. In fact, I am now so much closer to God than I’ve ever been. It’s almost as if I am thankful that I became an alcoholic, if that makes any sense.”
I said, “It does make sense. I am thankful I became an alcoholic and got help. I am also thankful I was born a sinner and got help for that too.”
My Story Intersects with Dave’s
My brokenness from alcohol caused me to ask for help. I realized my addiction was going to eventually take my marriage, my kids, my business, and, ultimately, my life. People asked me over the years, “You had a clear vision that this might happen to you, and then, just like that, you sought help?”
People ask me this because they know we all have some unhealthy addictions in our lives. These addictions help us cope. They get us through the day. But so few of us do something about it. So few of us ask for help.
Who is this God?
I always answer, “I didn’t know it then, but looking back it was God who gave me that vision. Not only was he calling me to be healthy, he was intent on making me healthy. God gave me the clear vision of my destructive path. He put just the right person in front of me to guide me. He brought me to AA and took away the desire for alcohol.”
In one of those AA meetings, I asked myself, Who is this God who saved me from this terrible addiction?
Shortly after that, a whole new set of people showed up. These people exposed me to the God of the Bible. And that’s when God began to speak to me. He spoke to me through His words in the Bible, through the people he sent to help me, and through prayer.
I realized my addiction helped me cope with my sin. Sin, my bad choices, was crushing me. I knew what was right and wanted to do it. But something within pushed me to do what I knew I shouldn’t. This created guilt which I suppressed with alcohol. Alcohol allowed me to live with my sin, to cope.
My answer came.
The answer came when I was clear-headed enough to hear and understand God’s message to me. I came to believe he loves me so much he sent Jesus, His son, to die for me. This one act eliminated my sin and took my guilt. However, to receive this gift, I had to confess my sin and surrender my life to him. And that’s what I did in July of 1993.
Here’s what changed and why Dave and I just now became friends.
Dave surrendered his addiction and his life to Jesus. When he did this, God changed him in an instant. He is a new man, just as I became a new man. We always had a shared business experience. We now have a shared experience in surrender.
In short, we can became friends today because we are no longer in the way of friendship. It’s not about Dave or me. Christ stood between us this week. He brought us together. He is at the center of our new friendship.
It was a great week!