Today I found myself at a crossroads, a spiritual one. You see, I have been trying to find a career path though insurance, and it’s been a monumental struggle. I never seem to know when to hunker down, and stay the course, or when to cut bait and try a different fishin’ hole. I was told something today that stuck in my craw, and if you know an Aspie, you know we like things to really stick. We almost cannot seem to pull it out of our head until it makes sense, or until we can find some other direction to focus our energies.
My struggle with insurance is simply getting started. I can study the academics of it, and I did. I got my license, passed the background check, and even did a few ride-alongs with experienced agents. Then it seemed to just…fizzle out. I wasn’t able to get past the point of knocking on doors. The few policies I wrote were all people I knew, family, and one or two friends. But being isolated where I live has hindered me in that I don’t have a wide network of “warm leads” like they always say you’re supposed to start with to build up your base. My family is all out of state, well mostly, and the two or three relations I have who live here, are very difficult to get hold of. They’re busy living their lives. I get it. But the reality of that is I am here virtually all on my own, with my daughter to support. The friends I have who would have gladly helped me with my first policies all live out of state. When I told my lead that I felt I needed more training, just some help to get acclimated, I was told, “you just have to jump in and do it on your own; all the greats do it that way.” This of course left me feeling like a failure already, because obviously, if I couldn’t do that, then I’d never be ‘great’. I was suicidal.
I began to look for other companies to join, one that perhaps would offer the in depth training I knew I needed. I thought I found one, a company that touted itself on being led by God. They offered in person, detailed training, promising they would give me all the tools I’d need to succeed. They claimed the core of their business was being Christ-led. I was hopeful for the first time in months, thinking finally my prayers had been answered. When they sent me their training documents, there was a one-page script sheet with blanks in it that I didn’t know how to fill in. I didn’t know what to say in those blank spaces. There were no live calls, and the videos were motivational, but not practical for training someone brand new to the industry. I won’t name the company, but suffice to say that when the day came for me to start making appointments, I called the manager when he told me to, and he said “ok great, get to it and call me after a few calls.”
What? Get to it? Wasn’t he going to call with me so I could hear him? Hear how to approach and how to talk to people? People have this idea that setting appointments is simple, mindless almost. And for most people it might be. But for someone with Autism, it isn’t simple at all. I needed some ground laid, some foundation to get me started. My spirit fell immediately when he kept talking. All he kept saying was how valuable his time was, and he had 20 other people to train up, and he had to “know you’re worth my time” before investing any of his time in training me personally.
He couldn’t understand when I told him (again) that I was autistic, and that I needed actual help on making these calls to set appointments. I had no product knowledge, to which he replied, ‘That comes when you get into the field but you first have to make the appointments’. My spirit fell even further. I felt it shriveling within me as I realized, he was no different from anyone else I had spoken to.
What he said stuck in my head. “I’ve been in this business a long time and my time is very valuable. I have to know you’re worth my time before I invest anything in you.”
This is what has been sticking in my head all day and all night. How can you say you’re committed to God, to living a Christ-like life, and still tell someone they have to prove their worth to you before you will help them? I have read the bible and I cannot find a single reference to Jesus telling someone that they had to prove themselves worth his time and help, before he would help them. Whores, homeless, the shunned in society, all came to Jesus and he healed, helped, defended them. He never once said “My time is very valuable, and I have to know you’re worth it before I put myself out for you.”
And let me be clear: this help I asked for was maybe 30 minutes of phone calls, 3-way calls where I listen on mute, to see how he speaks on the phone with prospective appointments, and hear him have any of those scripts work and get an appointment out of it. Maybe another half hour of me making the call with him on mute to listen and then give feedback after I was off the phone on how I could improve, what I did right or wrong. One whole, solid hour of his time. And I wasn’t worth it.
If someone comes to you, broke, and broken, with literally nothing but a burning desire to work and succeed, to learn all you have to teach, and build up business that will ultimately make YOU even more money than you already have, asking you for help, is this really how you think God does things? Is that really going to be your answer when you face him at the end of your short life? The word says every knee shall bend, none shall stand before God on their day of judgment. None shall look him in the face.
This is my ‘come to Jesus’ moment. I cannot lose my faith that somewhere in this existence, there must be someone who will take the time to coach me in the way that I need, not what 400 other people have done, but me, autistic, proverbial warts and all. I am fully capable of making a success in this world, but I do need a little more detailed help, a little “hand holding” if you want to call it that. Give someone the foundation they need to succeed, and you will find not only can they do what you do, but they will be loyal for life, and never forget the gift of Grace that you took from God himself and passed on to them. For it is by GRACE that we are here, every single one of us. It is GRACE that saves each of our souls, and none are worthy of it, if I’m allowed to be blunt. We all have read that in the bible, “None of us are worthy of our Father’s forgiveness, but he forgives us anyway.” That is what Grace means.
We hear the story of the mustard seed. This tiny, seemingly insignificant little seed. It is the smallest of all, and yet it grows to be a giant among all plant life. Jesus uses this as a parable to reach people, to illustrate how a careless toss can impact a whole world.
Jesus told the crowd another story. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Someone took the seed and planted it in a field. It is the smallest of all your seeds. But when it grows, it is the largest of all garden plants. It becomes a tree. Birds come and rest in its branches.” – Matthew 13:31-32
We are not called to judge whether a person is worth helping or not. We are called to help, in God’s name and with his spirit on our tongues. WE are the planters of seeds, and it is not carefully cultivated, but strewn without thought into the world, and then keep going. The story of the mustard seed is that our words and deeds are those tiny, small seeds, and it is not our job to determine whether a person is worth sewing that seed into spiritual life. Our job is to plant it with each action we take with each other as individuals, and place our full faith and trust in God that HE will provide the way for it to grow.
When we disdain, discard, or turn a blind eye to someone in need, we are planting weeds in a person’s soul. Weeds are tenacious little buggers, and they have this nasty habit of returning in the same spot even after we think we’ve eradicated every vestige of it. These weeds choke the life out of good plants, the ones that provide sustenance for life, shelter, and spiritual growth. When you tell someone that they have to prove worthy of your effort, you are planting weeds in that person’s spirit. That weed will choke out the growth that could occur in spirit.
A God-led life is a servant life. It’s not for you to put yourself in the position to judge whether someone is worth helping or not. Your job is to trust that God has put this person in your path for a reason. That reason could be to teach them a painful lesson, or it could be an opportunity for you to let God nurture the mustard seed in your own life.
Plant mustard seeds in peoples’ hearts, not weeds.