Dorsey Ross Show

A Journey of Faith: Jerry Duggan's Path from Battlefields to Helping Others To Get Out of The Rut

October 04, 2023 Dorsey Ross Season 6 Episode 5
A Journey of Faith: Jerry Duggan's Path from Battlefields to Helping Others To Get Out of The Rut
Dorsey Ross Show
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Dorsey Ross Show
A Journey of Faith: Jerry Duggan's Path from Battlefields to Helping Others To Get Out of The Rut
Oct 04, 2023 Season 6 Episode 5
Dorsey Ross

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Picture this: you're stuck in a rut, feeling like you're going around in circles and not progressing in life. You know you need a change, but you don't know where to start. Enter Jerry Duggan, CEO and Senior Consultant of PTR Impact LLC, who shares his powerful framework, 'Beyond the Rut', to guide you towards a more fulfilling life. His riveting journey from a combat medic in the US Army to empowering individuals with his faith-based approach leaves no stone unturned. We traverse Jerry's life - the personal trials, the transformative conversations, and the daring decisions - all contributing to the man he is today.

Does faith play a role in your life? For Jerry, his faith journey has been a transformative one. Raised in a religious family, his experiences in the Army took him down a different path, only to embrace the Christian faith at the age of 28 driven by his wife's desire to raise their family in a Christian home. His deployment in Iraq further tested and strengthened his faith, with life-changing decisions that reverberate to this day. Jerry's experiences provide a fascinating insight into the power of faith and its role in shaping our lives.

Finally, Jerry's Podcast 'Beyond the Rut' takes center stage. The five Fs to recognizing a rut and breaking free from it - faith, family, fitness, finances, and future - form the crux of his life philosophy. A courageous decision to leave his six-figure income job to focus on his family and these five Fs sets the stage for an inspiring chapter. From his journey of self-publishing his book, 'Beyond the Rut: Create a Life Worth Living in Your Faith, Family, and Career', to using finances as a tool to support his other life pillars, Gary's wisdom is enlightening. Tune in for a conversation that promises to inspire and challenge you in your quest for a fulfilling life.

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If you are enjoying this podcast, please let me know by sending me a text message.

Picture this: you're stuck in a rut, feeling like you're going around in circles and not progressing in life. You know you need a change, but you don't know where to start. Enter Jerry Duggan, CEO and Senior Consultant of PTR Impact LLC, who shares his powerful framework, 'Beyond the Rut', to guide you towards a more fulfilling life. His riveting journey from a combat medic in the US Army to empowering individuals with his faith-based approach leaves no stone unturned. We traverse Jerry's life - the personal trials, the transformative conversations, and the daring decisions - all contributing to the man he is today.

Does faith play a role in your life? For Jerry, his faith journey has been a transformative one. Raised in a religious family, his experiences in the Army took him down a different path, only to embrace the Christian faith at the age of 28 driven by his wife's desire to raise their family in a Christian home. His deployment in Iraq further tested and strengthened his faith, with life-changing decisions that reverberate to this day. Jerry's experiences provide a fascinating insight into the power of faith and its role in shaping our lives.

Finally, Jerry's Podcast 'Beyond the Rut' takes center stage. The five Fs to recognizing a rut and breaking free from it - faith, family, fitness, finances, and future - form the crux of his life philosophy. A courageous decision to leave his six-figure income job to focus on his family and these five Fs sets the stage for an inspiring chapter. From his journey of self-publishing his book, 'Beyond the Rut: Create a Life Worth Living in Your Faith, Family, and Career', to using finances as a tool to support his other life pillars, Gary's wisdom is enlightening. Tune in for a conversation that promises to inspire and challenge you in your quest for a fulfilling life.

Support the Show.

Here are several ways to support the show, and allow me to continue to create great content




Leave a review

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dorsey-ross-show/id1495921329


Social Media Links,

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/dorsey.ross/


Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/DROCKROSS/




Speaker 1:

Hello everyone, thank you again for joining me on another episode of the Dorsurus show. Today we have a special guest with us. His name is Gary Durgan. He is the CEO and Senior Consultant of PTR Impact LLC, which is a consulting and training company focused on helping leaders define who has on their terms, who they can live fulfilled, meaningful lives with impact and not lose their faith, their family or their health. His work experience includes serving in the US Army as a combat medic, corporate training and fulfilled data and organizational development leader. He has led in combat guns and corporate officers learning the in and out of the building teams and trust through servant leadership 2015. Gary has been the host and producer of Beyond the Rock podcast, a short, shared, encouraging stories and practical advice to help pull listeners out of their rock and into the life worth living. If man loves to get out of a rut, he wants you to live beyond the rut. Gary, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Speaker 2:

Dorsey, I'm glad to be here. Thanks for having me on.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Well. First of all, thank you so much for your service in the Army and the military. Great. We appreciate you doing that.

Speaker 2:

Hey, my pleasure. It was the one thing my dad told me not to do with my life, which was to follow his footsteps and join the Army. And he said and if you do, you better go in as an officer. I was like okay, dad. And then you fast forward.

Speaker 2:

Eight years later I'm like dad, I joined the Army. And he's like hey, okay, did you at least sign up as an officer? No, dad, I'm going in enlisted as a combat medic and silence. It's probably one of the few times in his life I've made him go speechless, because he's a very down to earth. You know, go with the flow, I'll support you and your decisions kind of guy. And I got a feeling this is the one decision he didn't fully support. I did not go in as an officer, I went in as an enlisted man. He was enlisted for 20 years, so he knew firsthand the hardship I was going to take on. I mean, being an officer isn't that much easier. They just get paid a little bit more, but they have a lot more responsibility on their shoulders as well.

Speaker 1:

Right, I usually start to show with a couple of easy questions. You know a bigger type questions, and my first one is what did you want to be when you were a kid, and why? Oh man.

Speaker 2:

Well, being an Army brat growing up. So an Army brat born, raised and trained is what it stands for. So my dad was in the Army. All I knew was the Army growing up from when I was born until he retired, when I was about 15, 16 years old. That's all I knew. And so what did I think I wanted to be when I grew up was a soldier. I saw my dad get up in the morning with his uniform on, going off to physical fitness training and then coming home in his battle dress uniform and I thought, man, it's so cool when he comes into that door, gets greeted by the family and then when there's like an emergency, he's got to gear up and get out that door and get to work. I want to be like that.

Speaker 2:

And so, even though after high school I told myself I was, there was like a four year window when I told myself I would not join the Army. Deep down the side it was ingrained in me the army life, the army culture, the inclusiveness, inclusiveness of the army. At the time I was growing up, I grew up in a diverse community my whole life without realizing that that wasn't normal, until I went off to college and found out that normal for a lot of folks who were my classmates was not having 30% of your community being black, 30% being Latino and 30% white, and then all kinds of other mixes in there as well, and so that that was alien to me, that there were people that lived in communities that were not like that, and so, yeah, that was that's what I wanted to be was to be a soldier. When I grew up, even though I didn't know there were other options, and even when I told myself there were other options, I still gravitated towards being a soldier.

Speaker 1:

Right. Why are you passionate about what you do?

Speaker 2:

A lot of it has to do with when I was growing up. My parents divorced when I was 11 years old and in that time I mean my brother and I we lived with my dad and the short version is during that divorce my dad became suicidal and attempted suicide right there in front of us, behind our backs. All those things and between 11, fortunately he failed at suicide. He got the help he needed. We stayed in foster care for a little bit. We got reunited with my dad and then we moved back to California where my extended family was Well, a lot of my uncles were also going through divorce and seeing the impact their divorce has had on my cousins on myself, my brother, and even being bullied by a couple of my uncles and some of my cousins, I just thought there's got to be a better way to do this.

Speaker 2:

And my dad's not a bad guy. He's not one of these guys picking on people. If anything, he's just trying to heal, he's trying to make do, but he doesn't know how. And as I got older through the years, I started to realize that there are men out there who go through their entire lives just emulating what examples are around them, and for some of us those examples are very positive, very enriching. They encourage us to grow and be the best, well-balanced person we can be. And for others it's a caricature of what manhood should be. You gotta be a tough guy, manhood's about fixing cars and drinking beer and having lots of ladies, and you know. And then the unspoken messages are you're not really committed to your family, you're not really committed to your spouse, and I thought those aren't healthy messages either for men. And I want to draw a line and start a new direction for this family.

Speaker 2:

And so, at 14 years old, I cast a new vision for myself, wrote it down. I just write it down for myself. I wrote it on a Christmas cards and I gave it out to everybody in the family and just said I want to be the first in my family to go to college and graduate. I want to be the first to be like our grandparents, who've been married their entire adult lives, and stay faithful to my spouse and be the kind of husband where she wants to stay with me and then want to raise my kids in a way that they grow to be the best versions of themselves, the way they are meant to be grown, not the way I want them to look or feel or be and all those things. And so that was at 14 years old, and just all throughout my life since then I've had iterations and updates to that vision.

Speaker 2:

But that has always been that passion on my heart really to focus on myself first, to be that husband and father my family needs, and then, beyond that, how can I help my fellow man around me? And no matter how often I've tried to avoid it, it just keeps coming back. This is the thing people want to see and hear from you. And I'm not like.

Speaker 2:

I'm definitely not perfect, no way. I make a ton of mistakes. You can just ask my wife. She'll tell you how many times a day she has to forgive me. But it's that attempt to be better than I was yesterday, and I love doing that. I love sharing it. I'm often surprised when a man reaches out to me and says I needed to hear that message. Thank you for having the courage to share your story, to share your struggle in that area. I didn't know, I thought I was the only one and so I was embarrassed. Now I can go get the help I need, and hearing feedback like that over the years has just been uplifting for me to let me know I'm on the right path, I'm doing the right thing.

Speaker 1:

How did your faith grow up? I mean, I don't know when you get saved, and you can go deeper into that as well how did your faith gain you in your life and when did you get saved, and how has that had an impact on your life?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, oh man. I mean, a lot of people would think I got saved at a young age or grew up in the church and the reality is I did not receive Jesus as my savior until I was about 28, 29 years old, somewhere in that ballpark. So up until then I had friends who took me to church. My grandparents would take us to church when we visited them and to me, growing up, church was really about two things Donuts after service and playing on the playground, and that was it, like that's. All I went to church to do was hang out with my friends to eat those donuts afterwards and play on the playground until my parents said it was time to go. And if I didn't go with my parents, it was just until I got on my bike and rode home or rode back with the family. That brought me to church.

Speaker 2:

For a little while I did do Bible study with some Jehovah's Witnesses for a couple years. That was probably the deepest I ever delved into the Bible, from, of course, their perspective. And then I got away from that. You know, I think that would be like the spark that changed me, but I kind of leveraged. This is in high school and I leveraged a lot of what I learned from them. To just mess with the minds of my friends who are avid Catholics or Christians or Mormons and and just ask them questions from scripture that would get them to challenge their own faith. And now I just get a kick out of that and it was horrible. Looking back on it, I was yeah, and fortunately they all stayed with their faith. So I do feel better about that. I go through college and typical college kid, you know there's no one way to know who God is. You know there's more than one book out there. Read them and you know like I'm fine without God. Those are all the things I told myself. Join the army. I kind of just felt lost at that point.

Speaker 2:

After a deployment to Kosovo I met the lady who would eventually become my wife and she's been my wife for the last 22 years and in the first year of our marriage she wanted to go back to church. She felt it was important for her that we raised our children up in the church, in the Bible and and design our home around those principles of Jesus Christ. Now that was kind of a sticker shock to me, but at the same time it wasn't that foreign of an idea, because I mentioned earlier that I stayed in a foster home for a little bit with my brother, and that family was a Christian family, you know. They prayed before meals, they prayed together in the morning, they went to church. They didn't just do these things, they lived them out. And so I knew when my wife wanted our children to grow up through the church even though I wasn't a believer yet, I knew that at least the foundation would be there for them to be that kind of family. That was our foster family and that was really the model I was going for. I want my family to be close. I want them to resolve conflict in a way that isn't violent. I want the husband and wife to just be on the same page all the time, willfully, not because the man pressured the woman to get in line or else, but because they both genuinely worked together to come to an agreement and execute the agreement together. So the O'Neill family was that model for us, the foster family. And so when my wife said I want to take our kids to church, let's do this.

Speaker 2:

So we started shopping for churches and then this deployment came that sent me to Kuwait. This was in now, early 2003. I wind up going to war as we invade Iraq and by July 2003, I'm coming home Now. Some of the things that unpack what happened during then was that March 19th is the day we kick off the offensive going into Iraq. So the Air Force has started their bombing runs of Baghdad. The Marines they claimed the army jumped the gun first, but the report we got was the Marines went into Basra first. So I think to this day both the army and the Marines still blame each other about who crossed the border first. But it doesn't matter, because the bottom line is we all crossed the border eventually and I remember we were told to go ahead and suit up in your chemical suits, get ready. We're going to take off and do this thing at this time as soon as it's dark. So I'm putting on my chemical suit.

Speaker 2:

I noticed a couple of my friends in the unit are writing those like just in case letters, you know, in case I die, send this to my wife, send this to my family, send this to my mom. And as a sergeant and as the medic I'm kind of a symbol for immortality in the army to that unit. So the last thing they need to see is that Doc is also afraid to die or thinking about death, because Doc is the guy who's going to be the angel of life and bring you back to life if you get hurt. So I needed to send my letter home just so I had that peace of mind as well, and I knew I couldn't hand it to anybody because the word would get out it'll freak them out. So I just wrote mine to my wife, but I had to write it in a way that did not freak her out either, so I couldn't use language like if you're reading this letter that means this is my goodbye, this is what I've done with my life. This is what I've always envisioned our life to be. I couldn't write any of those things. I could just let her know how much I love her. And I had like a little message in that letter for our son and then our daughter who was on the way, and so I said my goodbyes without them really knowing that could be the goodbye letter. And other than that, and besides handing it off to a friend, just in case, I put it in an envelope. I put the address on there. I wrote free mail on the envelope because we didn't have to use stamps if you're deployed. And I mailed it. I gave it to the first sergeant who was doing one final mail run and that letter went.

Speaker 2:

And so I get my suit on my chemical suit, I get my body armor on and we're still two or three hours away. And I'm looking around still at all the other guys and they're younger than me. I was like 27 at the time and the guys around me are, you know, 18, 19 years old, mostly, some of them in their early 20s, and you can just see the fear in their faces and I don't know why, but for some reason I just started going through a checklist. Do I have everything covered? My will was taken care of before I deployed. I just wrote my letter just in case. I've got the life insurance already taken care of. That's automatic. I don't get a choice.

Speaker 2:

So if I die, my wife's getting a payout. What else is there? My gear is ready, my weapon is clean, I've got all the bullets they're going to give me, because on the medic there was a limit and there was a little bit of a shortage too. I was supposed to have 210 bullets, they gave me 150. So I wasn't expected to shoot. They basically say, doc, if you're shooting, that means we're all dead, just surrender. I was like what so? But anyway, I covered all those bases.

Speaker 2:

But then there was just one that felt like I was missing. And I was like just in case, because, again, I was not a believer at this time. But I remember saying God, if you're real, when I die you're going to replace me with somebody who is better than me. So somebody's going to love my wife better than I did and cherish her and just be her life partner for the rest of her life and be there by her side. And that same person's going to raise my two children as if they were his own children, raising them up the way they should go. And that's all I got for you, god. And that was it. I didn't even say amen at the end or anything. I was just like God, if you're real, you will do this. And then you fast forward. We're in Baghdad.

Speaker 2:

I remember chasing some looters around our compound on a hot summer day in June, late June, no-transcript. You know, part of this was I mean, we were seeing the same looters come into our compound, breaking walls, breaking our walls down and trying to loot the metal inside our compound, which we really didn't care about. Like you can have the metal, but we didn't get to that common ground yet, and you know. So part of my deterrence was to strip the men of their clothing, set their clothing on fire, set their money on fire. Just tell them it's not worth coming in here. And we even had these little cards written in an airbreak that said we are authorized to shoot you and kill you, Please don't come in. We didn't count on you know only half the country being able to read, so those cards were almost useless half the time. So we'd see the same guys come in.

Speaker 2:

But at one point a new soldier had walked up to me and he just asked Sergeant Dugan what's up with their clothes? And I looked at him like why is he questioning me? I thought he was coming here to help me pull security, like it's just me and I'm outnumbered Seven to one. It's just a matter of time before those seven guys realize they can overpower me, take my weapon and do a lot of damage to my buddies inside this compound. So I was like hurt. This guy wasn't offering any assistance with security, but instead it's questioning me about how I'm treating these men, these Iraqi civilians and he asks again what's up with their clothes? What are you doing? And again I'm dumbfounded and I turned it this private and I say, look, you can either help me pull security or can help them rebuild this wall. Which one do you want to do? And he just went to pray, rest at that point, which is, you know, almost like the position of attention, but different. It's what we do with senior enlisted people.

Speaker 2:

Since I was a sergeant, he was a private and he just said I'll just go back to my unit, sergeant. And he turned around and he walked away and I'm sitting there thinking, wait, I didn't dismiss this guy, who is this guy? But you know that's going on in my head At the same time, like there was this like release, like let him go, and you know the look on his face I thought was him surrendering to me, like I can't convince him, I'm disappointed in him. Away, I go. Now, what he did not see was after he rounded the corner and went back to his guys, I looked at these six guys on the ground with the pile of clothes on fire and I just let them go. I told him to stand up. My voice, my tone had changed. Of course I'm seeing it in English, but I'm using hand gestures and like stand up. I saw my hand on my weapon just in case. But I told him go ahead and stand up.

Speaker 2:

And I point to the wall where I had one person rebuilding while the other six watched. And that was kind of what I did, like I'm going to punish one of you and make the other six watch, and it didn't matter what size group, and sometimes that would work, but with this group it wasn't. This was like the third time I'd seen these guys in the week, but I just kind of slumped and I just told them to stand up, pointed at the wall, told them to go and she grew and they left. They didn't fix the wall. I think one of them gave me like a choice hand gesture, which I was pretty familiar with by then, their version of the middle finger, and off they went and I went ahead and I started rebuilding the wall myself and then, you know, patch that wall up, and it was probably better if I did it myself anyway, because that wall, that section, never came down again.

Speaker 2:

And then later on that same guy that the leader of the seven. He came back through the front gate with a new, fresh set of clothes. But now he brokered a deal with the leadership at the gate and now they're coming through these big giant trucks, they're getting all the aluminum rods out of our compound, we're getting satellite phones that were like we don't even own this stuff. But I mean, if you want to work this deal as they did but it was that private that just changed everything and how I conducted myself in Iraq the rest of the time I was there. And I remember going back to my room and just crying out. You know I thought to myself, but you know in hindsight it was no, that that was not my second prayer in about six months or less let's see, about five months, whatever made of July is, or June, late June, so March to June, somewhere in that window. And I'm just saying, when I die, my daughter cannot know that I became a monster. I don't want to die as a monster, I cannot be a monster, and so I need to not be a monster. I just kept saying that over and over and over again to myself I'm supposed to be a good guy. What happened to me?

Speaker 2:

And then you fast forward a month later they pull us out of Iraq back into Kuwait. They let us diffuse for about a month because my particular brigade of 3,500 soldiers, we were honed into such a razor's edge that violence was like choice number one and all the other things were not. They were like secondary to violence first, and we had all the rules of engagement that solidified that. So it was just a month of do nothing but write home, call home, spend your money on beef jerky at the PX, read your mail, get caught up, play video games. We're not doing anything except resting for a month, and that's what we did. And during that time I was just thinking, wow, I'm really going to go home. I didn't expect to go home. I thought I was going to die out there as the medic, as the short timer, go back to Georgia so that our home station was in Georgia.

Speaker 2:

I get reunited with my family. I meet my daughter for the first time. She's three months old and this is at like two in the morning. So the marching band is there, families are there, posters, all that stuff. My mom and my stepdad even came in from North Carolina to see us and my brother came out from California as well. So my wife and I are in our car and I think we have our son with us. If I remember correctly, we had one of the kids and then my mom, brother and stepdad took the other child and we're driving home.

Speaker 2:

So the original question how did I get saved? This is the start at well, I guess operational knock for you at almost the start of it. But on the drive home my wife asks me if she could tell me something and makes me promise I won't get mad when she tells me. Now, immediately my head goes to one of two options. Because before we came back to the US, our chaplain for the battalion he called himself the people's chaplain, very funny guy I think his name was Captain Greer, and he shared with us when you go home, how many of you guys are married? We raised our hands. Who were married? How many of you are expecting to have all that tax free money saved up in an account waiting for you to spend?

Speaker 2:

We always raised our hand and said now, put your hands down. So we put our hands down, said if you're married, you've got kids. All that money is gone, just bottom line. Unless you've got an accountant for a wife or a spouse, that money is gone. Don't expect that money to be there and do not be mad that it's gone.

Speaker 2:

Now I'm going to tell you where it got spent. The other got spent on new furniture, because you've been probably living on some old hand me down furniture all this time and now you get this wooden fall and most families get new furniture. Your spouse is doing this because she wants to welcome you back home. That's the why. And he's like trust me, I've been in this army for quite a few years. That's what happens Now.

Speaker 2:

The other alternative is that your money got spent on a Sancho or a Jodi and these are nicknames for a side boyfriend kind of thing and he said now, if that's the case again, don't get mad, because that's how you go to prison Instead. Here's my number, here's my cell phone number. You call me, we'll take care of you and we'll get you through this. So, either way, don't get mad. If it's furniture, say thank you. If it's the boyfriend, you call me and get out of that house. Call your battle buddy, go to somebody else's house, get out of there. And so here's my wife in the car ride back to the house, and she asked me if she could tell me something and please don't be mad. And so right away that goes through my head. And I asked her hey, do we get new furniture? And she said the look on her face was like how did you know?

Speaker 1:

Yes, we got you for that.

Speaker 2:

But then she said but that's not what I needed to tell you. And I'm like, oh shoot, she got a boyfriend too. That sucks. And I was like, but you didn't get a boyfriend, did you? She said, oh, of course not.

Speaker 2:

But while you were gone now I hope you're okay with this, but I prayed for you, jerry, and I was like I don't mind you praying for me. I mean, I don't pray, but it doesn't stop you from praying. And she said now I prayed that if God brought you home in one piece and brought you back to me, I would make sure my family went to church every Sunday. And so that's what I needed to tell you is that I made a promise to God, who I believe in. And it involves you, it involves our kids, and I know you're not a big churchgoer, I know you don't believe, but would you be okay if we went to church every Sunday? And she's expecting me to be upset. You know, be against it and all that, but I just it just kind of hit me. I was like, you know, the Dugan motto is by virtue and valor. You know, somebody came up with the 1500s, put it on the coat of arms, and if I'm going to live by virtue. Then I've got to honor my wife's agreements as well as my own. And I told her, like well, if you made a deal, you made a deal and we honor our deals. And she was like, really, I'm like, yeah, I mean, a deal is a deal, even if it is with God, it's a deal. And so, yeah, we started going to church. I would find any reason to get out of there. So our daughter had a lot of separation anxiety, so I'd kind of be the one to go pick her up from childcare in the church. And then we eventually I got out of the army, we moved to Texas. We found a new church home out.

Speaker 2:

It took a few months to find a church home but we found one. And they realized this little girl, this baby, cries every service and the dad comes out every service happily and that's not good for him because now he's missing out of the message. So they got a volunteer because they realized all right, so the dad comes out, he holds this girl and he holds her facing out and he walks around. He's got constant motion going on. So one of the volunteers in my daughter's room during church got her husband to do a background check right away. And his sole job was on Sunday at the 10 o'clock service. You're to hold this baby girl in that rocking chair and you rock her the entire time facing out, and you don't stop Because the mummy has stopped. She cries. We got to call dad and then at the end of the service we'll take her out of your hands, we'll change her diaper, we'll put her right back in your hands and then your job is to soothe her back to not crying anymore until the parents show up. And so that was his job, and he did that for months, probably almost a year, and that's about how long it took for me to receive Jesus as my savior. So we're talking about from 2003 to 2005,.

Speaker 2:

All this unfolded and the one thing that like switched it for me was our pastor was doing the closing prayer and he's doing the prayer of salvation, inviting people to have a relationship with Jesus, and out of nowhere because I've heard this prayer every Sunday for like the last 10 months he said and God just put on my heart to say to all of you, but really one of you specifically, and that is to stop dipping your toe in the water. You know what you're getting into. Now's the time to dive in. And when he said that, I was like no way. Because in my head, while that prayer was going on and we were being challenged to receive Jesus, I was saying to myself I'm still dipping my toe in the water, I'm still checking out this whole church, jesus thing. And then that to come out of his mouth and say stop dipping your toe in the water and just dive in. You know, you're getting into. Already I did. I was like all right, well, jesus, apparently I know what I'm getting into. It's been two years I receive you to be my savior and you know, like the sky did not open, I didn't hear an angel choir, there was no like light coming out of me or anything. So nothing really, other than the moment I said that to myself and to God, I did feel a weight off my shoulders. So all the weight of the pain growing up from 11 to 14 years old, the time of pushing myself through college, serving in the army, going to combat, all that was just lifted and all that was in front of me was here's your wife, here are your children, here's your mission. And I was like wow. And so I was in 2005,. Give or take a year, no later than 2006. And since then it's just a wild ride for us.

Speaker 2:

You know putting my faith in him first. You know learning more about him as time goes, just being obedient in times when I thought why am I doing this? Why am I giving 10% of my paycheck every two weeks to my church? Or, you know, to a need that God's putting on my heart? Or, you know, why am I serving every Sunday and then also attending church? Why am I like putting my big decisions through the lens of what would Jesus really do? How do I put my marriage first?

Speaker 2:

But through the lens of biblical marriage, what does biblical marriage look like, you know? Is it really the wife is in the kitchen cleaning and cooking and I'm off to work? I don't know. I don't think that's it. And you know, even raising my kids. Is it about having obedient robots? Or is it about having people who grow up strong in character, strong in the foundation of God's Word? They're still going to make their own mistakes and make their own decisions, but they'll have that foundation. And so that has just it's changed my life, you know, in a big, profound way. I don't worry as much. I mean, I still worry like anybody else, but I don't stay there very long. You know, I look for solutions, I look for opportunities. I have a growth mindset, an abundance mindset. As a result of it, my wife says I've got it's a double-edged sword. But I'm always looking for the good in people and it's because, you know, if God is the God of second chances and even third chances, you know why can't we be the same way?

Speaker 2:

And yeah, so that was the long answer for a very short question, thank you for your patience.

Speaker 1:

Of course, you're also the author of the book Beyond your Wife. I was a little bit about that and I got some questions about you know being in a rut and how do we get out of a rut as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So, beyond the Rut, create a life worth living in your faith, family and career Started off as the manifesto for the podcast. The podcast has been around since August 2015. And it turns out when there were three of us on the show, our year. One goal was we would take the lessons learned, hone our message in and write a manifesto that said this is what it means to live beyond the rut. This is why we're faced with a rut. This is a model we use to make sure we never get into a rut All those things. Well, within the first 16 episodes, one of us quits the show. Five years later, the host of the show, he hands it, he hangs it up. So that leaves me. I wasn't ready to hang it up. And when I took over the show in 2021, within a few months, I uncovered our original business plan. We had a new business plan written the three of us back in 2015, before we launched our first episode, and I saw all the things we had set out to do a course or a workshop to help men create a life worth living so that they succeed in their career, in their family and in their faith journey. To write a book. That is the message behind that, to have a workbook to help guide people. From that, all these things.

Speaker 2:

I'm sitting here looking at this and realizing it's six, six and a half years later. None of this has happened. And then another year goes by. And then the Christian Podcasters Association. They have a gold membership. It's like a group coaching. Together we do a mastermind. Sometimes we put somebody in the hot seat, sometimes we share a topic and then we all have a discussion around it. And at the start of 2022, that whole group just turned on me and they said Jerry, where's your book? And they were saying that because a lot of the other podcasters in the group had already published a book and they only been in podcasting for a couple of years or a year. And here I am at year number seven still had not published a book. So that was the year that I decided okay, this is going to happen.

Speaker 2:

So I dusted off the outline. I started adding to the rough draft. I paid self-publishingcom to help guide me through the process, like I can get the outline in a very vomit first draft going. But what do I do next? When do I send it to an editor? How do I find an editor? How much do editors cost from there? How do I design a cover? How do I even pick a title that is good on SEO but catchy that people are going to pick it up off the shelf? How is it going to be beneficial to the reader and not make it just about me? Because if it's just about me, it's going to be the worst book ever for somebody who doesn't know who I am.

Speaker 2:

And so SoulPublishingcom really guided me through the process. I hired them back in August a year ago from us recording this episode, and for the next six months they guided me through and March 2023, I launched the book, and it really takes you through three phases, which is to know your rut, r-u-t, so that you can live beyond your rut. So the first is R recognize the rut you're in, you understand where you want to go. And T take action to get there. Those are the three main parts of the book, and in there I talk about all the different tools to help you recognize, understand and take action.

Speaker 1:

How do we know, as men and even women, what a rut is?

Speaker 2:

So the I think it's the Webster Dictionary definition or Oxford. I got a 50-50 shot there R-U-T. I just, too, said that a rut is a pattern of behaviors that are not productive. So if you're stuck in a rut, you're doing things that might be good for you or you think are good for you, but they're really not producing any results for you. And I often encourage folks to look at their lives through five lenses, the five Fs. So how is life going in your faith journey in terms of your prayer practices? Are you reading the Bible? Are you going to church regularly? Are you involved in church? Are you practicing all the things that are talked about from the pulpit? Not just listening to it and saying, oh, that was a great message, let's go eat lunch, but really listening to that message and saying, great, what's the lesson I'm going to draw out of that and apply to my life, at least for the next week, but really hopefully for the rest of my life? How does this reinforce the things I'm doing? Well, like, that's the faith part of it.

Speaker 2:

Now, for somebody who's not Christian or religious in any manner, what's that cause? In what way are you hoping to make the world a better place? Are you trying to eradicate hunger? Are you doing that in your neighborhood? Are you doing that in your state, your country, the world? What is the way you want to change the world for the better?

Speaker 2:

The second lens is your family. For me, the most important relationships, the most fundamental building block of any community or society, is the family unit or the family. So if you're a bigger family and you're talking cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and so on, that counts, but more of the nuclear sense, nuclear sense that the husband, wife and the children at least that is where you can make the most impact. So how is your relationship going? And I don't mean from, like, a faith perspective. Are you preaching to your wife and your kids? Are you hosting Bible studies? Good things.

Speaker 2:

But even deeper and more genuine than that, can your family, especially your children? Can they come up to you and tell you when something's wrong and not just be grounded for it? You know, one of the things that used to break my heart all the time when I worked at a battered women's shelter was hearing from teenagers when I went to present in schools how they thought it was very unfair that if they were the ones getting cyber bullied by their schoolmates. The moment the parents found out about it, what they would do is they would punish the child by grounding the child, taking them off all their devices. Saying this is when I'll fix this, because you're on the devices is why you're getting picked on. That's just burying your head in the sand.

Speaker 2:

And the reality is now the child doesn't trust you with anything else, because you got a taste of a little bit of what was going on in their world and you slam the book shut, you put the iron gates down and they just learned right then. And there I cannot go to my parents and now talk to them about this boy who's pressuring me to have sex. I cannot talk to them about this person who is calling me all kinds of names in the classroom, because their next response is going to be to pull me out of school, where my very best friends are, and right now those are the people I can go to and trust and confide in, and so I need to go to school because they're my lifeline. And so how is that working for you as a parent? How are you doing as a spouse? So that's the other lens. Do you feel like your relationship with your spouse is in a rut, well, what can you do? A lot of people think you just spice it up with more sex or interesting toys and that's about as PG as we can take that. But the reality is like how are you being intimate and connecting on a deeper level, talking about your dreams, your struggles?

Speaker 2:

What does life look like when you're empty nesters? How are you going to send the kids off to college? What is life going to be like when you send them off to college? Are we going to be the kind of parents who show up every weekend for football weekend, even if our kids are not athletes? Can we show up and watch the games and then take our kids out to lunch? Do we bring them to the game with us? Is it rude if we don't bring them to the game? All those questions and those are the kinds of things that I think married couples should have conversations around. You know, not just the big like how do we pay these bills, how do we pay off this debt or how do we invest our money, but just life. You know what? What is the mundane going to look like, you know? And what do vacations look like, you know? Do we still have to take our kids to Disney World when we go? The answer is no, you don't, guys. We've done it twice. Are the kids bitter A little bit? But they're adults now They'll be okay. So those are the first two apps.

Speaker 2:

The last three, so fitness is the middle one or the third one, because a lot of what you can do is centered around your ability to do the things physically, emotionally, mentally. So you got to take care of you, because at the core of all this is you. You know God's working through you. So are you in a healthy state? Are you allowing God to heal you, to get you to that healthy state? Are you taking the steps needed to eat healthy, to, you know, stay in shape, things I tend to neglect. So, people who know me over the years, you know that sometimes I balloon up and other times I am skinny and fit, and right now I'm in that phase where I'm trying to get skinny and fit and stay there and I feel like I'm doing that.

Speaker 2:

Finally, the fourth F is your finances. You know a lot of us, especially men, we're raised to go chase the dollar. We're told to go chase the promotion, chase the dollar. Make your job decisions based on how much of a pay raise you're getting, not the fulfillment you get out of your work. And what I found time and again is you wind up with men who are not fulfilled by their work. So, because of that rut, they're not bringing their best selves home. So now their family relationships are strained and they're in a rut at home.

Speaker 2:

And all this to chase the mighty dollar. Well, what is that dollar worth if your family leaves you? And now you got to figure out custody battles and you now have an ex that you might get along with, might not, and so how would things be different if you focused on the family first, and then the money was just a way to support the family and its desires and dreams and needs? And then, from there, how do you manage your money so that it can do that? I've given up jobs and job opportunities, because when I look at the opportunity through the five Fs, it's like, yeah, the money's good. However, it's going to put a strain on my family.

Speaker 2:

Is this worth it? No, all right, I'm out, and even recently I took a job that had me away from my wife for about a year and a half to two years, and I was about to say no because of that, because we had promised my daughter she could finish high school where she was, and my wife and I we talked it through and we thought you know, it's not like a deployment where I'm gone for six or seven months and I could die, we're talking about a week or two away and then I come home for a long weekend and then back to work long weekend back home, that kind of thing. And so we did that for two years and we actually grew together because of it. You know there were some things we had to reacquaint once we moved back in together two years later. But overall, like my boss thought that was the most vulnerable time as far as my employment goes like oh, jerry could quit anytime because his family isn't up here. But no, he was actually at more risk when my family was up here because now I could go home any day, every day, as early as I wanted, leave as late as I wanted.

Speaker 2:

And they got to a point where the job was putting such a strain on me and the toxicity was putting such a strain on me that I put these five lenses in front of me and I was, like my family's, in danger because of this job, can I change things at work? If the answer is yes, then I change things at work and things are back to normal. But in this case the answer was no. I cannot change my boss. Therefore, I cannot change things at work. I got to leave and to do that, to go from my wife saying I want my husband back, to, about two or three months later, her saying to friends and family, I got my husband back.

Speaker 2:

That's the F, the five F's, that's the family F, and that's where I gave up finances. That's where I gave up a six-figure income in order to be with my family, to be with my wife, because we're empty nesters now. I gave up the job title of director to be with my wife. So a lot of men will choose, suck it up, drive on and suffer in both and just lose that part of themselves because they think they have to go for the six-figure income that they cannot lose the income. It's like the income is just a tool, guys, and that's why it's fourth on my list of the five F's.

Speaker 2:

It's important to finance the things above it your faith, your family and your fitness, but it is not the one and only thing. And then, because your finances are in order, you can now supply some of that towards your future growth and your future possibilities. So these are things like investments investments in assets that are going to build you the wealth so you can retire and give generously to God's kingdom, and also investing in yourself, because the one thing people can never take away from you is your mind and your ability to think and your ability to create, and the more you invest in your personal growth, the more you can generate all the other types of growth. So those are the five F's. That's how I look at life and decide am I in a rut in the first place? And then what do I do to get out of there? It's all through those five lenses.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I saw this next question and it didn't probably be the last question that we'd talk about and I saw this question. I was like, yes, because I feel this way right now. In my job I used well, I still am. I'm a minister, I travel around and speak and in the beginning of the year I had to get a part-time job. There hadn't seen a lot of the opportunity to travel and to speak opening up, so I went out and got a job in retail and for some of it I just at times, days and times, I just feel stuck. And the question is I hate going to my job but I feel stuck. What should I do? It's not necessarily that I hate my job to maybe to a point, but I'm more of the feeling stuck and I'm sure that others out there as well that may feel stuck and they even hate those are. And how do we? How do we get out of there? What should we do?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, apply the same lenses. So what does success look for? What does success look like for you in those five apps? So what is a successful faith walk or a faith journey for you? What does success look like in your relationship with your family? So, if you're married and you got kids, that's probably the most simplest. That's usually the frame I'm talking from, because my ideal audience is married with children. But there are people out there that are married and they don't have kids, and if that's the case, that's fine too. You still have close relationships. You have a family of people who are tight knit and kind of like your tribe in a sense. What does success look like in those areas and how are you growing in that? What does fitness look like for you? Not everybody has to be fit, with six pack abs and look like they're on the cover of GQ magazine. Maybe it's just you want the ability to hike 20 miles in a day or to through hikes. I love hiking, so that's why hiking comes up. Maybe you want to learn dancing. These are fitness things too.

Speaker 2:

And then finances this is going to be your big tool, because you asked initially you hate your job. You're actually a minister. You're doing ministry and the job. While it's supporting the cost of living you've got, it is getting in the way of the actual dream and purpose you have in front of you. So you'll want to focus there. And then, of course, the future possibility. Those two areas will help you start dreaming about what can be, and then you start creating the goals that'll get you there.

Speaker 2:

So what does life look like for you? If you want to be full time ministry and not have to rely on a part time job to do that? You got to answer the basic question what will fund that? Is it a Patreon? Is it offering up coaching for people based on your ministry? Is it charging more when you go speak at places? You know it could be any of these things. It could be all these things. Whatever the combination is that fits for your business model. But knowing what that is and knowing that you got to raise the income to meet that is huge. So if you're already thinking about future possibility, this is what the future could look like.

Speaker 2:

How do I make that happen? But then what do I also need to have happen so I can leave the part time job? So what income is that replacing? How much income is that replacing? So then, that gives me a target for the business part of it, or even the savings part of it, and part of why I was able to leave my job 10 months ago was following the Dave Ramsey principles of have the emergency fund pay off all your consumer debt. I forgot all the baby steps three to six months of living expenses, I think so the third baby step, and we'd finally gotten there where we had six months of living expenses saved up, because when we moved up to Dallas, it turned out we were going to catch flow more if we sold the house and paid off all our consumer debt all in one fell swoop. That gave us a $1,500 a month raise right there.

Speaker 1:

I was like yes.

Speaker 2:

So the other option was we just keep renting the house out for $200 a month. So that turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us, because not only do we pay off those debts, free up that kind of cash flow, we were able to save up the rest, and so when it came time to leave the job, we looked at everything we had as far as assets and we knew we can go six months. That with the last paycheck, with our income tax return and the money and savings, we've actually gone 10 months so far. So far, that's, and since we've crossed an emergency resource. That is sort of like the okay, you got three months now, like for real three months left, but that's all because we took care of the finance part.

Speaker 2:

We got a big windfall, we prayed about it, we were smart about it and six months living expenses, and that was either to find a new job or start a business. The original plan was start a new job or find a new job, but started a business instead. So kind of the round. The long answer is you know what do you need to do to create the nest egg and, at the same time, build the income from the ministry side?

Speaker 1:

so that right you can have a beautiful time thing. Yeah, yeah Well, gary, thank you so much for coming on the show today and hearing your expertise. We greatly appreciate having you.

Speaker 2:

And it's been a pleasure. Dorsey, I'm glad I got to be on here. So, like when you said you wanted me on the show, like the answer is yes, whatever topic, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Well, guys and girls, thank you so much for coming on and listening today. We greatly appreciate having you. We'll have all of Gary's information in the show notes and again, until next time, have a great day, god bless, bye, bye.

Gary Durgan's Inspiring Journey
Faith Journey and Impact on Life
Prayer, Promise, and Going to Church
Living Beyond the Rut
The Five F's
Finding Success and Overcoming Challenges

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