Do you ask for spiritual guidance in your daily work, in your job or career, in your business? I am in the business of writing contemporary novels based on Bible stories, and in the book coaching business of helping other writers become authors, and after years of struggling to find the right balance of trying to run my business as a business (developing and following a plan, trying to make enough money to stay afloat and even make a profit, marketing my business to try to promote and build it, etc.) and trying to have faith that everything will work out – despite expenses, debt, delays, mistakes, wrong turns, changes in plans, unforeseen bad circumstances and the like – I have finally come to realize that I need to focus on having a consistent balance between the two.
It used to seem a bit easier when I worked a nine-to-five job (not that faith here isn’t equally important) when I learned to just pray walking in the company front door that God come along with me that day into the workplace so I would do the best job I could do. But being self-employed now, I tend to swing from one extreme of the pendulum between faith and business to the other, which usually only leads to frustration. (You’ve probably heard of the saying, “we make plans and God laughs.”) My conversation with God usually goes something like this: “I’m doing the work Lord, but now nothing’s happening (or happening fast enough), the bills are piling up, if you can just show me the light at the end of the tunnel, show me a sign I’m headed in the right direction, send your favor soon, then everything will be alright…etc.” And another day goes by that I pray and feel like I get no answer, or direction, or sign, or favor. And then my emotional pendulum slowly swings from faith to tackling this business stuff hard on my own (meanwhile forgetting to continue to pray or listen or be grateful for how far I have come and the talents and direction I have received and forgetting God has the ultimate control). And then I get stuck once more, so I swing back to fervent (desperate) prayer again. And so it goes.
Today I have decided to try to do and have BOTH – to do my business, one step at a time, making an effort to incorporate everything I’ve learned in my head, and to have faith in my heart, still praying for favor and trying to listen for God’s direction even through the tough times. And suddenly I’m feeling peace take over the old feelings of frustration. I can’t think of anybody – prophets, priests, judges, disciples – in the Bible who were called to do God’s work and didn’t experience setbacks, challenges, hardships and the like – and who didn’t come through them in the end. And I guess in the long run, it’s not how we start the race, but how how we finish it that really matters. So I’ll leave you with this Bible verse from Jeremiah 29:11: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ For those who are struggling and have doubts like me, let’s hang onto this promise. If it’s in the Bible, it will come true!