Texon CEO Terry Looper shared in his new book “Sacred Pace: Four Steps to Hearing from God and Aligning Yourself to His Will,” how reaching a rock-bottom moment — physically, emotionally and spiritually — led him to enter into a “partnership” with God that completely transformed how he did business and life.
In an interview with The Western Journal, Looper recounted how this defining season came when he was at the top of his game — at least by the world’s standards.
He had just sold his minority share in an oil company he had helped build that netted the Texan enough money to retire in his mid-30s.
However, just weeks before Looper was to close the deal and get the multi-million dollar check, he encountered a “wall.”
The business executive had gone to see the doctor about the increasing anxiety he was feeling, accompanied by dizziness and mental fogginess, which grew to the point where he could no longer make simple decisions or even form sentences.
The physician told him everything he was experiencing was stress-related, brought on by years of burning the candle at both ends as he sought the elusive brass ring of proving to himself and everyone else in his life he was an unassailable success.
His breaking point came one Saturday at his Houston home in the mid-1980s.
“After ignoring month upon month of warning signs, I suddenly could not get out of bed. It felt like the oxygen had been turned off in my brain, making it impossible for me to even lift my head from the pillow,” Looper wrote in “Sacred Pace.”
“This was more than a physical sensation,” he continued. “It was emotional, spiritual, and mental. A shutdown at every level.”
He began to fear that he had pushed himself so hard he had permanently wrecked his mind and body.
His wife, Doris, called his sister to come to the home and together they discussed choosing a mental health facility for him.
After some more hours of rest, he managed to crawl out of bed, knelt down and prayed: “Lord, I can’t go on like this. I’ve done a miserable job of trying to run my life by myself. You need to take control because I’ve screwed everything up.”
Looper recalled how ironic it was that he was supposed to be ordained as an elder in his church the next day, but he barely knew God at all.
“I didn’t realize it at the time, but money was a false god of mine,” he said. “I thought I was a Christian and found out through the burnout, it turned out I wasn’t.”
This was his conclusion despite being a regular church attendee who tithed 10 on his income in accordance to biblical principles.
Looper said prior to his moment of surrender to God, he viewed the Almighty as kind of a Santa Claus-like figure from whom he was trying to earn favor.
After his prayer, Looper recalled that his brain flickered back on again to the point he could participate in the church ordination service the next day and soon thereafter travel to Las Vegas, accompanied by his sister, to close the business deal.
He then entered into counseling with a Christian therapist, who helped him navigate some of the insecurities that had driven him to succeed at all costs.
A few years after his breakdown, Looper launched Texon LP — an oil and natural gas distributor — in 1989, which went on to become a multi-billion dollar company.
Though his title is CEO, Looper sees God as truly holding that position and himself filling the role of Chief Operating Officer, carrying out the plans God had ordained.
The Christian entrepreneur had considered going into the ministry before forming Texon but realized that is not how the Lord put him together.
“There’s an old saying that God wants you to come alive because He loves us so much,” Looper said. “He loves to see people come alive. Business just made me come alive.”
He made a few commitments before the Lord as he set out to build his new company, including sticking to a 40-hour work week and the unusual decision not to set sales goals.
Nonetheless, by 2010, Texon was making over $6 billion a year in sales.
Looper says he has followed four steps in making decisions about his company and life.
The first is consulting his friend Jesus. He is a great listener, Looper explained. He sees the future, knows what is best and loves him more than he or anyone ever could.
The second step is to objectively gather the facts.
The third is watching for how circumstances are playing out. Looper’s faith teaches him that God governs providentially over the world, so He can provide data points in our lives that help in decision making.
Finally, get neutral. In other words, be truly open to what God is telling you to do instead of allowing influences like greed, fear and pride to override His heavenly counsel.
This is the “Not my will, but Thine be done” moment, Looper explained. God’s guidance isn’t always easy or seem desirable, but it comes with a peace in your gut that you’re doing the right thing.
“It’s OK for us to have a preference, but God can see the future and knows best,” must be the understanding that sustains you, he said.
One of the joys that Looper has experienced on this second ride to the top — in addition to quality family time — is giving away half of his yearly income to ministries and organizations for the past 20 years.
Love is at the center of it all, according to Looper.
“Many Christians have never been overwhelmed in their heart by the love of Jesus, and therefore they’re not as lovable and as loving,” he said.
When you know you are truly loved, “Then I think you can be more willing to risk” in business, in relationships and in life, Looper said.
The result is doing God’s work on earth, which blesses not only you but also those around you.
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