“YOU’RE WORKING ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT? THE WOMAN WHO OWNED THE PLACE BEFORE NEVER DID THAT.”
In a crisp white blouse and black-striped skirt, our knees almost touched as we faced one another. She reached out a hand decorated with three oversized gems as she accepted the progress update we’d just reviewed.
“MOST FOLKS AROUND HERE ARE IN CHURCH ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT.”
I pushed myself back into the brown leather chair. Most folks. Except both of us?
A thirty-something entrepreneur, I’d recently purchased an existing franchise and had dreams of success. I wanted to meet the needs of others with excellence, but I also had some financial goals.
I love God deeply so I had prayed through the purchase of this business, wanting to honor Him. I determined reasonable goals, including business hours. I felt good about it. And more importantly, I felt like God was good with it.
I had strategy, determination, and faith. Until the critique. Because it wasn’t the first.
A friend had also recently suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t take those business trips alone a couple of times a year. Away from my seven-year-old daughter and all. Because her parents had never left her with others while she was raised, how could I feel comfortable doing that?
She just wanted what was best for us, after all. Maybe they were right. Maybe I should have been in church every Wednesday night. Maybe it’s more than tradition.
Perhaps I shouldn’t miss any opportunity to connect with others. And maybe my daughter did need my attention round-the-clock, and somehow I was failing her by heading off to educate myself on better business practices.
Right or wrong, these sorts of doubts started choking my dreams, guiding me away from well-laid, well-prayed-through plans. And I soon found myself surrendering control of my life to the opinions of others.
Because that’s the sort of thing that happens when doubt and anxiety start leading your faith: you feel like a failure at things you shouldn’t.
I spent too many years trying to marry my career dreams with my relationship with God. But God had long before given me the liberty to be productive and effective and to use my skills to win. He simply wanted me to do it His way.
I WONDER IF YOU’VE EVER FELT IT-DOUBT OR LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN PURSUING YOUR DREAMS
If so, I want to encourage you to redirect that energy and passion into these areas where a healthier perspective will directly impact your success:
Don’t let doubt stop you from pursuing your purpose. Your “why” needs to be front and center, bigger than any obstacles that tempt you.
Think it through. Why are you doing this? What has God promised you if you move forward? Ground your thoughts here. Line up everything else in life beneath these truths.
Though we won’t often admit it, we sometimes think we know better than God.
A false humility won’t advance our purpose. (Ask me how I know.) We can’t keep discounting our accomplishments, degrading them to luck or timing if we want to succeed. God probably wants to use our skills and talents.
Almost everything and everyone in life come with a set of expectations. Respect the reasonable ones and adjust the rest.
I don’t know anyone who enjoys disappointing people, but sometimes it can’t be helped. We’re called to be at peace with others as much as possible, but not always to please them.
Some folks will still judge; it’s human nature. But refuse any false sense of shame.
In a world where many want to tell us how to look, think, and feel, it’s important to hold fast to your true self.
A GODLY CONFIDENCE FUELS SUCCESS.
Be patient with yourself. God is. Despite our past or personality or the absence of our patience, His mercies are new every day. This life is a process; stick with Him through the process.
If you’re a parent, I imagine you understand how God might feel when we’re tempted to cave to guilt or doubt. Consider those times we watch our children do anything that requires practice, discipline, or skill.
Aren’t we pleased when they win? I wasn’t winning at life because the opinion of others mattered more to me than the opinion of God.
Over the years, Galatians 1:10 became a much-needed filter of truth:
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? . . . If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (ESV).
I learned that God is the ultimate authority in every detail of our lives. That includes our Wednesday nights, our travel plans, and any dreams of success tucked deep in our hearts.