Jeff Bezos, St. Therese, and My Company

“In every teardrop is the heart’s desire. With spiritual mystery, Jesus will fulfill my desires in ways unimaginable. Yes, having reviewed her resume, I found St. Therese to be a great asset to Team Nelson.” – Julie Nelson 

Julie Nelson is a self described ambient introvert and Catholic “passionista.” Loving God’s sense of humor, Julie is a former nurse who now is Co-Host of Catholic Women Now weekly radio program. Speaking at the 2017 summer Well gathering, Julie is now building a speaking ministry. Her happy place is being surrounded with her family, especially by a beach or a lake. Julie lives out her childhood dream of being a fashion designer in her sewing room while binging on Fashion Runway. Julie is a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in West Des Moines, Iowa.

I love to read and learn about leadership, especially when a speaker or author can take business principles and apply them to evangelizing. A basic principle of becoming an accomplished leader is to become the best version of yourself.

At Amazon’s 1998 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos presented the three questions that are asked to guide decisions during Amazon hiring meetings:

  1. Will you admire this person?
  2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
  3. Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?

(Read the full text here.)

These are the questions I have been pondering in regard to who guides me spiritually.

While I am not a CEO, I am operations manager for Team Nelson; and being faithful to the vocation of wife and mother begins with my own work of holiness. Whether leading a team in the corporate world, parish community, or family, we all are called to holiness and to witness. And so, loosely applying Amazon’s three questions, I sought to evaluate why it is I admire St. Therese of Lisieux and how she inspires me to strive for holiness. Following are the answers I came up with.

St. Therese’s “little way” wins my admiration because I can relate to the desire to soar like an eagle but only be a small bird. My desire to be pleasing to God should not rest on my own merits. There are times I have overcommitted to serving events because I desired to do big things for God. Or I would read all things Catholic to learn how to be holy for God. St. Therese also desired to love God magnanimously, but to do so in her little way :

“My God, I choose all! I choose all that You will! I am not an eagle but I have an eagle’s eyes and heart. I have always wanted to be a saint. …. But I want to seek out a means of going to heaven by a little way, a way that is very straight, very short, and totally new.”

St. Therese recognized that she couldn’t be like St. Teresa of Avila — but that she could be a saint in her own little way, because God had placed that desire in her heart and showed her the way.

What a relief, as I was sure sainthood required being a Catholic brainiac eligible for nomination as chairwoman of the year!

How could I grow in holiness in St. Therese’s little way? She herself reflected on how to follow this way in light of technology at the time: “We are living in an age of inventions, and for in the homes of the rich, an elevator has replaced these [stairs] very successfully. I wanted to find an elevator which would raise me to Jesus, for I am too small … The elevator which must raise me to heaven is Your arms. O Jesus! And for this I had no need to grow up but rather I had to remain little and become this more and more.”

The Little Way of Darkness

I am weak. I have struggles. Some of my struggles, though chronic, do not prevent me from becoming a saint.

St. Therese tells me: “And if the good God wants you weak and helpless like a child … do you believe that you will have less merit? Agree to stumble at every step, even to fall, to carry your cross weakly, to love your helplessness.”

I can offer my weakness and struggles to Jesus and he lovingly offers me grace. I can embrace with trust and love that God wants me to remain little to begin to hear and receive in my Heart his message—rather than try to analyze with my head and love Him on my own merits. St. Therese said she had no merits, for they belonged to God.

Lord, may I decrease and you increase.

The Little Way of Trying (faithfulness)  

Speaking metaphorically, St. Therese reminds me that I am a little child poised at the bottom of a “rough stairway of perfection.” St. Therese tells me to try to climb. “Raise your little foot to scale the stairway of holiness.”

God honors and sees my desires to be closer to Him. To be like a child makes it possible for Jesus to lift me.

The Little Way of Trusting (loving)

St. Therese reminds me that “God requires you only to demonstrate your good will. I may fail but God will “be conquered by futile efforts.”

God will swoop me up in His arms and take me higher. We are called to be faithful, not successful. I am encouraged that God sees me as lovable and is consoled by my desires for holiness. He will forge me in his own ways. So, when I am having a moment with my head on the floor in a puddle of tears, feeling like a failure, Jesus is there to lovingly lift me up in his arms and hold me. He wipes my tears and whispers in my ear, “I am here, my child.”

In every teardrop is the heart’s desire. With spiritual mystery, Jesus will fulfill my desires in ways unimaginable.

Yes, having reviewed her resume, I found St. Therese to be a great asset to Team Nelson.

Her humility and way of love is to be admired and imitated. Her beautiful spirituality of love and service raises the team to aspire to be more for Christ. She reminds us with charity that eternity is our goal. And she is a natural superstar as a Doctor of the Church.

Welcome to the team, St. Therese!

All St. Therese quotes from Story of a Soul. Some of this is based on the book, 33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr. Michael Gaitley.

Copyright Julie Nelson, 2018. All rights reserved.