November 13, 2015

Businessman and author transforms his life by saying ‘yes’ to God

Businessman and author Randy Hain addresses the 500 men in attendance at the annual Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference in Indianapolis on Oct. 31. “Never forget the life-changing power of saying ‘yes’ to God,” Hain said. (Photo by Mike Krokos)

Businessman and author Randy Hain addresses the 500 men in attendance at the annual Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference in Indianapolis on Oct. 31. “Never forget the life-changing power of saying ‘yes’ to God,” Hain said. (Photo by Mike Krokos)

By Mike Krokos

Randy Hain knows about living in a spiritual wilderness and saying “no” to God. The husband and father of two children admits faith wasn’t a part of his life for more than two decades.

At age 16, he decided he didn’t want to attend the Baptist church in Georgia he was brought up in, and “it was going to be 23 years before I came back to any kind of faith.”

Hain, a successful Atlanta-based businessman and author of seven books, including Journey to Heaven: A Road Map for Catholic Men, was a speaker at the annual Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference in Indianapolis on Oct. 31.

In his talk, Hain discussed how he overcame a life where his career was the priority to becoming more focused on his faith and family.

A transformation, and new priorities

Though he was travelling frequently, moving up the corporate ladder and making a very good living after college, Hain had a conversation—a few years into his marriage—with his father that got his attention.

His dad asked him, “How’s your marriage? How’s your family life?” Hain said. “It dawned on me that I was putting my career before my family, and I still didn’t have God in my life.”

When the couple’s first son, Alex, was diagnosed with autism shortly thereafter, Hain said he and his wife were devastated.

“I think Alex’s diagnosis was the vehicle that God worked through to penetrate the wall around my heart,” said Hain, who is senior editor for the Integrated Catholic Life website (www.integratedcatholiclife.org), which he co-founded with Deacon Mike Bickerstaff in 2010. Its mission is to help people integrate faith, family and work.

“To this day I get very emotional [talking] about it [my son],” he added “because I love my family, I love my faith, [and] I love Christ.”

It was about that time, in his late 30s, the author also started realizing he was missing something in his life. “Inside, I felt empty.”

Unbeknowst to him, his wife, Sandra, was going through the same thing. Though she was baptized Catholic, she was never confirmed and had not practiced the faith.

His wife confided in a close friend, who was Catholic, and she planted the seeds about returning to the Church.

When Sandra approached Randy in July 2005 about them entering into the full communion of the Church together, he admitted to her that he felt a void in his life, too. Randy asked if he could have a few weeks to discern, and he went to the library and bookstores to study and learn about Catholicism.

He and Sandra met with a priest a few weeks later, agreed to come back every Monday for several weeks, and began receiving instruction in the faith.

When they attended their first Mass that fall, Randy said a transformation took place. Though he felt burdened and uneasy at the beginning of the liturgy, he was completely at peace by the end. He had finally surrendered to God, Hain said.

“After that Mass, it was Christ first, family second and work third,” he said. “Those were the new priorities.”

He and his wife were received into the full communion of the Church in 2006, and have been very involved in their home parish, St. Peter Chanel in Roswell, Ga., ever since. Randy has made sure his life, faith and career have intertwined as well. He is a co-founder of the annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference and the Catholic Business Café. He also leads the St. Peter Chanel Faith at Work Ministry.

An integrated Catholic life

For 23 years, Hain admits, he said “no” to God. Now, he prays every day to say “yes.”

The author said it is important to have friends who hold you accountable.

“Make sure you have Catholic men in your life who will speak the truth,” Hain said. “I am grateful I have them in mine.”

The path for a living and integrated Catholic life, he added, “is really having Christ at the center of everything that you do, and having the right priorities.”

Hain cited three obstacles he believes get in the way of living an integrated Catholic life:

Silos. Are you leading a compartmentalized life, and how do you break down those walls? “When I was at work, I was all about work. When I was home, I was all about family. And for years, I didn’t have faith,” Hain said.

He said people need to ask themselves: Am I being consistently and authentically Catholic in all areas of my life? “Am I really the same person at Mass, the same person with my family, and the same person at my job?” Hain noted.

Time. Am I working Jesus in when it is easy and convenient, or am I planning my day around him? “We are leading very busy lives,” he said, with work, family and children’s activities, among other things. “It’s just go, go, go.”

“We’re planning every facet of our lives,” and “we try to work Jesus in when it’s convenient.” We need to take time to pray. It needs to be the priority, Hain said.

Fear of surrender. “Our fear of giving up control to Christ is a significant obstacle to leading an integrated Catholic life. This fear of surrender comes from pride, and we have to pray every day for humility,” he said.

When he surrendered, Hain continued, Christ “gave me everything that I needed. … Did you hear what I said? Everything that I needed, not what I wanted.

“Am I giving everything, or am I giving only what I feel like giving?”

Hain also shared three ideas for living a more integrated, Catholic life:

Pray an hour a day. He suggested praying the Angelus, praying the rosary or turning off the radio and praying in the car. There are also opportunities for eucharistic adoration, and prayer with your family every night, he said. “Put it on your calendars, and make it a priority.”

Be the light of Christ to everyone we encounter. “Do we make Christ and his Church more inviting to others by how we act [and] what we say?”

Live every day knowing that we are made for heaven, and not for this world. “Picture being at the end of your life, and you’re standing before Jesus, and Jesus says to you, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’ ” Hain said.

“We all want that. Are we doing what it would take to merit that conversation with our Lord? Are we on the right path?”

As husbands and fathers, Hain told those in attendance, “our vocation is to get our families to heaven.”

It all begins by putting Christ at the center of our lives, the author said.

“Never forget the life-changing power of saying ‘yes’ to God.” †

 

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