There are two things in my life that I hold near and dear to my heart (besides Jesus, the body of Christ, my friends and family, and pet cat, Cocoa): entrepreneurship and human resources.
One of the many things I love about working in human resources is having the chance to bring joy back into the workplace and cultivate a culture where employees are free to love what they do. So, two years ago I decided to launch my own business helping companies do just that.
But the journey has not been easy. I have had many dark nights filled with deep feelings of fear, worry, and insecurity.
But in those moments when I was worrying about how to get more clients, how to keep my bills paid, and all the other things that come with trying to build a successful business, God reminded me to keep my eyes fixed on the cross. As I look back at how far I have come through these challenges as both a believer and an entrepreneur, I am reminded of these three things about our great God.
1. God Strips Away the Idols of Our Hearts Out of Love
People have always told me that I am “ambitious” and a “go-getter.” I have always had a deep longing to make my mark on the world by trying to prove myself and be the best at something. Throughout my career, I longed to be honored for my work and for people to see my accomplishments. I daydreamed about being featured in one of those “Top 30 Under 30” lists or even getting a deal from “Shark Tank” and becoming a famous, sought-after entrepreneur and HR expert.
That deep need for validation, success, and recognition became a serious idol in my life, but the Lord “who is rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4) loved me enough to not give me over to this idol.
The God who “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we might be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1:4) loves us so much that he goes to great lengths to pursue us and turn our idolatrous hearts back to him.
The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:7-8,
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
My entrepreneurship journey has taught me that money is not secure, our careers are not secure, even our deepest desires, which are often good, are not secure. The only thing that is secure is the freedom we have through the gospel, which has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3).
Whether or not I become the professional success that I want to be, I’m reminded that Jesus alone is our greatest treasure.
2. God Is NOT a Genie in a Bottle
Having grown up in the Bible Belt, I believed the “prosperity gospel.” I thought that as long as I did the right things, like read my Bible, attend church regularly, and live my life the right way, God would bless me and give me the things I wanted. I spent most of my life on this performance-based, spiritual treadmill trying to please God in order to get what I wanted from him.
But praise God that he is “merciful, and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps. 103:8) to prideful and arrogant sinners like me.
I thought if I did all the right “spiritual” things, God would surely bless me with a boatload of clients, revenue, and recognition. When God didn’t provide as quickly as I wanted, I became bitter and angry toward him and believed he didn’t want good things for me.
It took a while for me to learn that God was not my own personal genie in a bottle, and that everything I have is because he is rich in mercy and lavishes his good gifts on us even though we don’t deserve them. I’m entitled to nothing.
Psalm 115:3 reminds us that, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
The God who spoke the earth into being owes us nothing, not even the good things we want. We don’t love God because of what he can do for us. We love him because he first loved us, even while we were still sinners.
He withholds things from us not out of judgment, but out of his love and mercy. He is indeed a loving, heavenly father, but also an all-powerful king who is worthy of our devotion and love.
3. God Is Sovereign Over Our Dreams and Careers, and We Can Trust Him
My business has come a long way and I know it is because of God’s sovereignty and not because I have deserved any of it. Although God has had to do a lot of painful pruning for me to see that he is my greatest treasure, he often reminds me that he cares about the dreams I have for my business.
He hasn’t forced me to give up those dreams, but he has instead redirected my desires so that the work I do can reflect his glory and grace in the workplace instead of placing the focus on me. He changes my desires to match his while empowering me to pursue my dreams with discernment from the Holy Spirit.
God has not given us dreams and passions for no reason. He is a loving father who uses us in unique ways to shine his light in whatever we do. He is sovereign over all our desires, careers, and dreams. We can trust him with the things that matter to us because we know that “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Ps. 138:8).
And he will not forsake the work of his hands—us!
Editor’s Note: On “Flashback Friday,” we take a look at some of IFWE’s former posts that are worth revisiting. This post was previously published on July 23, 2018.
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