Monday, June 24, 2019

Stay Close to Jesus/God even When Building Your Business

So many speakers suggest we are in a holding pattern, perhaps being tested, perhaps building character for that one day big assignment. 

That kind of thinking helps many, but reality is, not all will get bigger assignments. If they decide today is just training ground, will they miss the value of today? 

What if today contained your biggest assignment? What if all the other years of happiness, education, grief, and struggle culminated together so you could do one important thing today. You may know what that important thing was or you may not see it. 

Don't spend your time waiting for something bigger. Do all you can do today with the energy you have. Trust God to use you. 

How do you start your day? 

I start mine inviting God into it. I ask him to plan my day and put his thoughts into my mind. 

One woman said she runs her life by checklists. She's driven. But, alas, by Monday, she feels flat because even her spiritual life and weekend has been merely something on a checklist. She's more or less running her life on maintenance mode while supposedly building her home business. 

Do you live that way? Driven by checklists and evaluations? 

I'd like to suggest if it isn't working for you, if you don't have peace that comes from knowing God, that you remind yourself of these Bible truths: 

"But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these. things shall be added unto you." (Matt 6:23)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." (John 15:1-4 NIV)

This verse is pretty clear that your checklist will get you no-where without giving the vine (Jesus) authority to direct you. Take time to be with Jesus/God every morning. Be flexible to change your schedule. One day all you do will no longer matter. What you do for God will matter. Do your best right where God has placed you and learn to live by the checklist God impresses you with. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Christian Woman, Are You Flexible and Surrendered?

Being flexible is an important trait to develop. With technology's rapid advancement and the affects social media has on culture, ways of doing business and living life are changing rapidly.  

Many people work via the cloud either from a home office or remotely in some other way.  You can take your tablet or laptop to work by the pool (although it's hard to see the screen in the sun) or to the local coffee shop to browse or complete work for pay.

Old boundaries have changed. It's no longer a 9 to 5 kind of life for many. For myself, as a freelance writer, I often do my best writing at night. When I did transcription for a company on the west coast, my projects arrived at noon my time. Then I worked until at least 8:30 each evening.  The downside of this new way of living and doing business, is many individuals are always on call. Those with cell phones and many contacts they've given their cell number too feel as though others think they can text at any time. So setting new boundaries is important. I'll list a few ideas later. 

Do Your Ideas Fit?

Being flexible means being open to new ideas. That shift can be hard for many. Some of us had preconceived ideas about life and now find those ideas don't fit. The first thing we need to do when we find this kind of dilemma is to check our flexibility level, then check our barriers to change. Then we need to simply surrender our preconceived ideas and submit them to God. 

If you're a Christ follower, you can be sure God is still in control of your destiny. He knows how jarred you feel at times. He knows the path he wants you to walk. 

Humble is Good

I have found, as an older woman now, that I don't know everything though I sometimes think I do. I am okay with saying "I don't know."  I'm okay to let things play out instead of trying to force my agenda. Life as a believer in Jesus requires constant surrender if we're to walk through the fast-paced life ahead of us well. 

Being flexible doesn't mean we discard everything we've done to-date--our education or the attributes and relationships we've developed so far--in order to take on a completely new role.  Rather, it means building on what we already have and who we are. God's word tells us wisdom comes with age. Someone needs your wisdom.

I'm convinced God wants us to grow and change with the times and to fill new niches as he opens them.  When one path doesn't seem clear, keep one window open to it.  Let God decide when it is time to close it completely or to unfold something bigger. 

Check your thinking on this flexibility issue by answering these self-coaching questions: 
  • Do you welcome change?
  • Are you convinced God is still in control of your life? 
  • What flexibility has God required of you lately?
  • What expectations need to shift? 
  • What in your life skills can you build on?

Boundary Setting

Being flexible doesn't mean you throw caution to the wind and stay available to everyone. Boundaries are still important. Sticking to your morals and values as spelled out in God's Word is important. 

My husband and I are still owners of a landline. I had a cell phone for the children's key years where I'd need it to let them know I'd arrived to pick them up. My husband has a cell phone covered by his employer. We made the decision not to give out our cell numbers to everyone. Hair dressers, service people, physicians and the like can leave messages on our landline.  I use a tablet and a laptop. I input my appointments into outlook on my laptop. It works for me. 

After the children graduated university, I rarely used my phone except for taking the odd photo. So I gave up my phone and save about $80 a month in so doing. 

I am not constantly available as many are and I love it. It's a boundary I've set. I'm not saying my way is the right way, it's just what I've chosen to do for now.

Here are a few more boundary setting ideas you might consider:
  • Decide what things are upsetting to you and be aware they are areas you may be weak and need to set a guard. That means, preventing yourself from being exposed to these areas more than necessary. I don't watch the news or read the news on the Internet because I know it brings me down. 
  • It's okay to let voicemail answer the phone.
  • It's okay to have caller ID.
  • It's okay to say no to invitations or to only agree to what works for you. For instance, a party I've been invited to will be 2 to 10 pm. That's longer than I want to spend so I will go for 2 hours only. 
  • Be wary of great ideas others have. I have a saying I follow, "Just because I can doesn't mean I should." You don't need to copy what others are doing or be a part of everything. 
So my encouragement to you is to stay flexible. Stay encouraged. Set boundaries.   Surrender to God. Stay humble.

Let me know what windows you may be looking into right now, if it's appropriate.

 "put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator" (Col 3:10 ESV).