This week marks the 10th anniversary of my move from the world of commercial broadcasting to teaching communication and media at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (and joining the WNZR team).
I had a chance to reflect back a bit this past Sunday when I shared part of my story with our Sunday School class. We’re reading the book AHA by Kyle Idleman (Not a Fan, Gods at War) and we were asked to share some of our AHA moments in life. AHA stands for Awakening-Honesty-Action. Those moments when we realize we’ve stumbled, messed up or just dropped the ball, decide to get honest about where we are and what we’re doing, and then take action to change.
The blessing of working at MVNU and alongside my wife, Marcy in ministry may not have become a reality for me if not for an AHA moment.
You see, growing up as an MK (Christian-speak: Missionary Kid) overseas was a major factor in my pursuit of this career, since short-wave radio made such a big impact in my teenage years. The ability to connect with far away places showed me the power and the positive impact this medium could have…and that was WAY before the internet! The legacy of service my parents gave me also consistently stirred a desire to do this for God, a desire that grew when I married Marcy, and she returned to MVNU in 1996 and started managing WNZR. The connection to listeners and their lives, the impact on students and their lives, the ability to glorify God directly and openly, were all very appealing to me.
Still, as I look back, I was lazy in my prayer life. I was doing the opposite of Proverbs 3 – I was leaning more on my own understanding, not trusting in the Lord with all of my heart. Not letting Him direct my path. I loved my job and the people I worked with, but I kept thinking “if I’m going to spend this much time doing this, it needs to have more significance!” Still, I just went through ebbs and flows of inconsistency.
The problem with inconsistency is that it many times results in what author Craig Grosechel calls ‘drift.’ We drift away from what we know to be true, and start feeling sorry for ourselves…maybe sometimes even blaming God.
I distinctly remember driving home one night in 2003 feeling sorry for myself. Drifting. It had just been a rough couple of weeks at work and I was in that pity-party mindset. And as I flipped the radio over to WNZR, just to hear something different, a song started with a chorus that got my attention…that song was ‘He Walked a Mile’ by Clay Crosse.
“And every time I close my eyes, I see the nails, I hear the cries…He did not keep himself away…he was no stranger to my pain. He walked a mile in my shoes.” That song checked me where I was right there in that car. An AWAKENING. A reminder that this Jesus, who I claimed as my savior, had been there before and was right there then!
The HONESTY came when I realized how selfish I had been…how my drift had carried me away from what I knew to be true – that my experiences paled in comparison to what Christ had done for me. That he really did walk a mile, and so much more, in my shoes!
The ACTION started that very trip in the car, when my prayer life stopped drifting and I started getting serious about it. Trusting Him and submitting to His timing. About 18 months later, I got a call from MVNU and the process of joining the team here started.
I was reminded of that moment in the car recently when I heard Jeremy Camp’s new song, ‘He Knows.’ The message is the same one that Clay Crosse wrote. “Every hurt and every sting, he has walked the suffering – He Knows. Let your burdens come undone, lift your eyes up to the one who knows!”
So know that this WNZR broadcaster shares the same story as many of you – that it was a SONG that led to an awakening!