I’ve been thinking for a couple of days about the term “and suddenly”.
I hear people say this, “and suddenly his business exploded”, “and suddenly she owns a home”, etc. I hear this type of thing more than I even like to think about. But the truth is that success never happens suddenly.
Many times folks don’t see the hard work that went in to reaching that “and suddenly”. If I look at my own life, which is the only thing I know much about for sure, I see that any success that’s been achieved, any accomplishments that have been made have been the result of much hard work and smart choices based on the truth. The problem is many people don’t recognize the behind the scenes work or the work that led up to the success or accomplishment because those are times spent in the trenches, with our head down, many times surrounded by adversity, and that time’s not highlighted in our lives. However, when we persevere, when we continue to move forward, when we continue to make smart choices even when the results don’t come quickly, when the world is going crazy around us, when things don’t look like we’d like them to but we hold on to God’s promises and principles, success is inevitable however it’s not suddenly. That’s only what it looks like to others.
I can look back over the last 15 years since I got saved and sober, 2007. The first year I spent plugged in to CR, doing what my sponsor told me to, working the steps, and making meeting attendance a priority in my life. I also plugged in to my church. Volunteering weekly to do maintenance work, as an usher, and anything else that needed done. I began to serve under the bridge, setting up and help feeding the homeless and less fortunate in Nashville. I also worked hard as a tile installer. In the cold and heat, doing new construction work and saving money.
A year later, in 2008 I moved back to NC where God opened a door for me to feed and share the Good News in a crack motel parking lot and a drug infested neighborhood every week. I raised the money for food and supplies without the help of a church. Not too long after moving back to NC I met with the pastor of the church I had begun attending and told him about Celebrate Recovery. With his blessing I began recruiting others to help me start the ministry there. I also began to cut the grass at the church and served as a janitor, cleaning the church weekly. I began to set up Celebrate Recovery booths at events all around Fayetteville, NC and to become involved in Celebrate Recovery events around the state. 2009 I wrote my testimony and shared it for the first time at Barefoot Church CR in Myrtle Beach at their launch. In 2010 I joined the Celebrate Recovery Southeastern Team as a CR NC State Rep. I began meeting people from around the country and they would ask me to come and share my testimony. I would drive my little Kia Soul all over the eastern half of the country, sharing my story whenever I was asked. In the fall of 2016, just after the start of Broken Chains JC God called me to hit the road, on my motorcycle, I thought to get the word out about the new motorcycle group. However God had much more in mind. As I made myself available people began to invite me to their churches all over the country. In 2017 I rode, flew, and drove over 70,000 miles, sharing with groups from Carolina to California. I was invited to join the CR National Team and Broken Chains JC was brought on as an official part of the Celebrate Recovery ministry.
Today, 5 years later, I continue to travel around the country. Preaching, teaching, and sharing my story but God has shown me the greater purpose of all this. The churches and CR ministries drive the mission, they get me on the road. However God has called me to be a motorcycle missionary to the US. That simply means I’m a Christian biker using my appearance, motorcycle, and lifestyle to break down barriers keeping people from knowing the hope and freedom available in Jesus Christ.
Okay, now lets look back. “And suddenly Jeff was on the CR National Team”, “and suddenly Jeff was traveling around the country sharing his story”, “and suddenly Broken Chains JC exploded”. When you see the back story’s, when you understand the surrender, sacrifice, service, and sharing you’ll begin to see that none of his happened suddenly. I’ve worked diligently to grown in my recovery and Christianity from the start. I have lived a life of surrender, sacrifice, service, and sharing since 2007. I served the church as a handyman, yard guy, and janitor. I also served as the ministry leader of my local CR for over 7 years. I served as a CR State Rep for over 7 years. And I continue to serve as the Broken Chains JC National Director and have for over 5 years now.
I’ve put in the work to be successful by making decisions based on the truth and continuing the hard work no matter what things look like around me. I’ve learned to focus on what God’s doing in me and not what the enemy may be doing around me. I have persevered in my personal life, my business life, my acting opportunities, and in ministry. I’ve had people say, “how can I do what you do?” That’s tough to answer, because God worked out my life for His purpose. However I had to do the hard work, I had to keep the faith, I had to continue walking forward through adversity, through opposition, through pain, through disappointment. I had to continue to do what was right no matter rather I saw immediate results or if it took years.
In the “instant society” that we live in we all would like immediate results. But that’s a trick of the enemy. Real success takes time! I see folks eat right or exercise for a month and then get discouraged because they don’t experience the benefits immediately. I’ve been in the gym and making smarter food choices for 3 years. I’ve lost 62 pounds and I can breath better, I feel better, and I can’t imagine the other health benefits that are happening in my body. That’s an average weight loss of 20 pounds a year. Not 20 a month or even 10 a month. How discouraging is it when we lose an average of a 1 1/2 pounds a month? But when you do it for 3 years, BAMM, and suddenly I’m 62 pounds down!
I could go on and on about how God has blessed my life by giving me the standard to live by, His truth and principles. But I just want people to get ahold of the fact that it takes time. You have to work towards being the best person God created you to be. He didn’t make you to be more like me, He made you to be more like you! And the only way you will get there, the only way you’ll find your purpose and the success that’s in that is by putting in the work, making the smart choices, and keeping the faith. Not for a week, a month, or a year. But for as long as it takes. The truth is that nothing worth while happens suddenly. It may look like that as you see people around you finding success and living out their dreams. But if you’ll dig a little deeper you’ll see there’s always more to the story.
Keep coming back, don’t give up, keep making smart choices, always turn to the truth, persevere, and eventually your “and suddenly” will happen.
I love you all. I hope this will help someone to keep going, to keep coming back!