Tag Archives: finance

He lovingly leads us

He lovingly leads us

As a self-employed person, I’m in the business of giving advice and supporting other self-employed people running their own businesses. Although, being self-employed has it’s benefits it is often tough, bringing new pressures to bear. Not only do you have to balance responsibilities at home and work, but you also have to be a master of many skills, not just in what you’re selling to your customers. For instance, you also need to be a salesperson, marketer, strategist, product manager, accountant, administrator, secretary, receptionist, host and so on. Knowing how to prioritise everything can be very challenging.

The other difficulty for someone in charge of their own time, is the temptation to be drawn into new opportunities. For instance, when someone comes to you for help and they are willing to pay you, it can be hard to say no. But if that activity isn’t part of your strategy then it can prevent you actually achieving your goals.

And this is where I begin to thing about God’s purposes for my life, whether that conflicts with my own plans. As someone who spends a lot of time developing strategies, it can be a challenge to know when it’s right to divert from a plan. On the one hand, diverting can both delay and dilute the original goal but on the other, we cannot simply ignore everything around us in order to fulfil our own goals; life’s not that simple.

We need to allow time to reflect on where we’re going and we need to be willing to occasionally put down our plans in order to help someone else. Whilst goals are a valuable tool for many aspects of our life, we shouldn’t become a slave to them and exclude all others. After all, the journey really is more important that just getting to the destination.

If you’re task or goal oriented, here’s some tips on how to prevent losing sight of the here and now:

Schedule time to listen and reflect

I schedule time first thing in the morning to focus on the various roles I fulfil. On Monday’s I think about the people I come into contact through my work. On Wednesday’s I think about my friends and family, on Thursday’s I think about people linked to the charity I work for. This practise ensures that I am being regularly mindful of people despite my busy schedule.

Schedule time for people

Make space in your diary for people that doesn’t involve work. All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, but tells people you’re more interested in projects than people. No matter what our work is, the work is always people and not projects. Put time in to have lunch with others, to go places together and intentionally try to find out about people. Show an interest in others, and this includes your partner and your family; don’t neglect them because of your busy schedule.

Make time to discuss plans and ideas

Having a mentor is one of the most beneficial things you can do in business. It’s invaluable to be able to share your ideas with someone who can help you put them into some sort of order, who’s able to ask you questions you haven’t thought about. Getting someone else’s perspective prevents me from taking on too much and keeps me focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. I actually have several mentors that I meet with monthly. Each one supports me with different roles, such as my charity work or my business.

Make time to think about the bigger questions

No matter what your personal beliefs, one things for certain and that each of us have specific gifts and abilities; we each enjoy different things. It’s important to make the most of our opportunities in life, that means spending time to discover our natural gifts and abilities, looking for opportunities to use them and investing time in developing them. This might not be as hard as it seems. I spend time praying and meditating, I also read specific books and articles and I seek out people with similar talents to myself. What I find is that I learn more about who I am each year that passes. This spurns me on to be the best version of myself that I can be, and to seek to put my talents to best use helping others.

Cultivate a good attitude

Whilst fighting hard and being tenacious are good qualities, it’s important to recognise when it’s time to stop. This means having the humility to admit defeat at times and defer to another course of action. This might mean letting someone else take over or shutting something down all together. It’s may also mean needing to forgive others and choose to have a positive outlook for the future. Carrying unnecessary baggage around is going to seriously slow you down!

As a follower of Christ I am continually reminded that he is my guide. He doesn’t just give me wise counsel and advice but he leads me. He comes into my situation and leads me out and up. When I lose my footing or stray from the path, he returns for me, takes me by the hand and leads me back. Mistakes are forgiven, hope restored and we begin again.

Bible Passages

Jeremiah 29:4-11 v11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

James 4:13-17 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Storms of life

Who, little me?

In January this year I was having possibly the worst time of my life. I had been accused of causing a major overrun on a project at work and was off sick with stress. Twice I had collapsed at work during meetings with my then boss – a humiliating experience when trying to defend yourself from blame. I was struggling to sleep, often waking at 3 or 4am. My head was clouded and I couldn’t think straight. I had no appetite. Worst of all, I could not think of a plan to fix the problem.

So, where was I? Well, I was precisely where God wanted me – helpless. I usually spend most of my waking moments planning and strategising. My head’s often full of ideas and dreams. A lot of the time I’m thinking about how to fix problems; problems at work, problems at home, my problems, other peoples problems, even God’s problems. It’s a full time occupation!

God said this to me a few years ago, “I don’t need your contribution. I don’t need your help. I do not need your ideas, thoughts or opinions… but I want you.” That really broke me, in a good way.

We imagine that our problems are ours to fix. Quite often we’re the cause of the problem and we feel obligated to try and make amends, and rightly so. But the truth is this – it is often not within our power to fix the situation, nor is it God’s plan for us to fix it.

God chooses us, despite all our failings. In fact, he chooses us because of our weakness. What he wants from us is to trust him in all circumstances.

You see, God is fully self-sufficent. He is not in need of anything. He is not some weak, insecure power that craves attention, who would pop out of existence if everyone stopped believing in him. No. He requires no-one but he desires everyone; because He values us, more than that, He loves us.

We not stuck in our situation because we have a wrong view of ourselves, but because we have the wrong view about how God sees us. We’re not the solution to our problem – He is.

No matter how bad the situation there is someone who is able to be trusted. Let’s learn to trust in the one who values far more than we could ever know.

Dear God

Self-help is not the answer to my problems. I’m all out of ideas. There is seemingly no way out, but I keep on trying to plan.

I recognise that now is the time to stop. I’ve done my best and I’m at the end of the road. I hand over my situation to you – finally. You’re going to have to take it from here.

God, I thank you for being so infinitely patient with me, as I struggle along with life without asking for your help. Forgive me. You are faithful and loving and kind. You value me not because of what I can do but just because I’m me.

Thank you that I can place all of me into your capable, strong hands. I can rest easy in the midst of the storm.

In Jesus name I pray.

Amen

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of heaven's armies.
Zechariah 4:6 LT
Who can advise the Spirit of the Lord or be his teacher or give him counsel?
Isaiah 40:13
The battle is not yours, but God's.
2 Chronicles 20:15
The Lord does not depend on weapons to fulfil his plans - he works without regard to human means.
1 Samuel 17:47

 

Debt Crisis

Most western economies have suffered from financial depression over the last few years and analysts would generally agree that the cause is bad debt. Bad debt is money invested with little to no chance of a return. Now, while we didn’t necessarily make those investments directly ourselves, we are all paying the price.

Society is a lot like that. Anxiety and depression is common place in the western world. The cause of depression is bad investments. We have invested our time and energy in the wrong things in an attempt to make our lives more comfortable and our future more secure. The things we thought were sound have been shown to be anything but.

What God requires for the payment of our debts in His economy is obedience, humility and submission. These are not popular themes in modern society. The last thing we want to do is to put ourselves in someone else’s hands, especially when it comes to our money, our family and our personal ambitions. But if we begin to put our ‘ours’ in His hands, then we are investing our most valued resource, ourselves.

God isn’t asking us to put ourselves into someone else’s hands. He’s asking us to put ourselves in His hands. That is the big difference.

Where do we get the idea that we know best? How many of us have heard it said, “If you want something doing, do it yourself” or “Trust is earned not given”. In our arrogance we often believe that we are the only reliable person we know. Perhaps because we’ve been let down in the past and do not want to get hurt again. I have walked that path. But it leads only to myself, my own understandings. I need His understandings; His hands.
In and of ourselves we have little to no ability to be resilient when hurt by others. But we are going to experience pain at the hands of others and this is absolutely unavoidable.

There are many ways people choose to deal with this pain and nearly all of them are self-destructive. And at times they are more destructive than the original offence, whether intentional or unintentional. For it is our response that dictates how we will feel and who we will become, our reaction that causes the damage in our life.

Resilience is not about making ourselves into some sort of untouchable. Hollywood would have us believe that toughness is about hardness, about justice and revenge. It is modelled as something to aspire to, something to work towards; self-reliance the way to a happy life.

Instead God calls us to die to self. To put ourselves into the only truly trustworthy hands – His hands. Only God is able to give us the true resilience to lead a life of love, submission and service to others and to Him. Then we are able to soak up the punches that life throws at us and come out undamaged on the other side. Life’s hands can no longer harm us; we are in His.

God not only promises to pay off our spiritual debts for us but he also promises to put enough into our account to cover our future bills. Just so long as we continue to bank with the saviour we’ll never find ourselves in debt again.

Dear God

I pray that you would forgive me for seeking to protect my own interests. For I have invested my time and efforts in the wrong things. I have yielded to the influence of others and handed control of my life over to those who hate me.

I will refuse to be led down a path of sorrow and despair for I now know a better way. It is the way of love. It is your way.

I choose to lay down my life and put my trust in you – the one true, loving God. I bring you all my debts and thank you for paying all of it. I want to be obedient to you because you deserve it. May my life bring you glory and honour.

In Jesus name I pray.

Amen

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out
everything on your own. Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you
do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health; your very bones will vibrate
with life! Honour GOD with everything you own; give him the first
and the best. Your barns will burst; your wine vats will brim over.
Proverbs 3:5-12 MSG
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore
honour God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19b-20
He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his
name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3