Are we ‘up to the job’?

Isaiah 48:17

‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’

Rejection. It’s tough. Feeling worthless and incapable of doing something we thought we could do but then being told we’re not ‘up to the job’ is one of the hardest things in the business world.

I have been rejected for very senior jobs in ad agencies that I was fairly confident I could do and it was odd to me that I wasn’t getting them. But after a while, I just said “Okay God, what is that you want me to do”. Just because I hadn’t been given the opportunity I wanted it didn’t mean that God didn’t have something else equally challenging for me. For example, I was filming in Prague this past week, merrily going about my job as a Commercial’s Director. When filming, most of the crew stand behind the Director’s chair and the actors stand in front, obviously. For most of the shoot, I had been comfortably doing the job but I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t give direction because my brain froze. In that moment, the actors were staring at me. (Actors that didn’t speak much English) and when I glanced behind me all the film crew were looking at me as well.  And there was this weird ‘are you up to the job’ silence. They were all looking to me for direction. And I had to act quickly. Something came to me and I shouted out some words and I was back on track. I sensed that God had put me in that place and thankfully given me the words to do my job. I also realized that I was in a very senior position on the set but not the position I had once expected, during those times of rejection. I don’t crave or seek out senior positions any more but God had put me in one. One, that in many ways was more challenging than that of being in an ad agency but I believe it to be a better use of my skills. I also believe that it’s all God’s work. So, ‘are you up to the job’? Maybe not the one  you think you want but God will have something else for you that’s most likely even more challenging or unexpected. Are you up for praying about that?

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we ask that you guide us in our work. We want to follow your path so we do what you have planned for us not what we plan for ourselves. Give us the confidence and strength to believe in you and take that leap of faith when an opportunity arises that we weren’t expecting – Amen!

Not a failure. A Success!

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding

 

It’s good to know that God loves us all equally.  And that, in His eyes, we are all loved for what we are regardless of our shortfalls. There’s nothing we can do to make Him love us more. No amount of success in the work place is going to make God proud of us either. Or make Him say to himself “Now that’s what I call a successful creation”!

So, when something happens at work that is a disappointment to us like someone else getting a promotion or a position we thought we should have, God probably has us just where He wants us. What we think is a failure is a most likely a success in the eyes of God, as much as we may find that difficult to understand. The Proverbs verse implies we will never understand it. It’s actually a good feeling to know that we’re not meant to. It makes it easier because we can just let it go. Not even someone who is a million times smarter than us can understand it! All we need to do is use out heart and have faith. (notice the Proverbs verse doesn’t say ‘Trust in the Lord with all your brain’!) No, God has better plans for us. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11 – ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope’. 

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, forgive us for planning our own lives and then thinking that any disappointments are failures. Help us to know that you love us and will always want what’s best for us. Allow us to accept that success maybe just be where we are now, not where we think we should be – Amen!

You can’t always get what you want…

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you

but if you pray sometimes, you’ll get what you need. That’s a little twist on the Jagger/Richards song (see the video below). ‘You can’t always get what you want’. The word ‘try’ replaced by ‘pray’. It’s a song that’s been in my head a lot and I’m realizing those words ring true with me. I have tried not praying for specifics but instead praying for guidance, wisdom and to glorify God. It seems to work better than wanting things. I think we are all guilty of that occasionally, especially when we get drawn into the career wants. And when we don’t get what we want then we feel let down and our confidence or self-esteem is dented. When we pray for what’s right in His name then I think we get what we need. It’s like we give ourselves up to Him. So, as the lyrics go…You ought to try some time. You just might find. You’ll get what you need!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray that you will guide us along the path to what we need and not what we want – Amen!

 

    

Advice from someone who knows.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work

We usually seek advice from people who have been in a similar situation or have knowledge of something that we don’t. But how often so we seek it from God? He’s written an entire book on how to live our lives. The Bible. It’s quite incredible that not many people seek it out given that in some shape or form it can give us direction and advice on everything we face in this life. It may not be the advice or guidance we want to hear but it’s in there. Work, relationships and money. These are the topics in our lives that we spend the most time thinking and worrying about.

  • Money – Ecclesiastes 5:10 ‘Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless’
  • Work – Colossians 3:23 ‘Whatever you do. work heartily. as for the Lord and not for men’
  • Relationships – Proverbs 13:20 ‘He who walks with wise men will be wise. But the company of fools will suffer harm’

There are hundreds of verses on all topics of life. Some find it hard to believe there’s a God because we don’t see evidence that He exists. How do we have a relationship with someone we can’t see? But he does exist through His word. Actually picking up the book and reading it is the biggest hurdle to leap regardless of our faith. The more we read, the closer the relationship we have with Him. And then the decisions on all aspects of our lives become somewhat easier. It’s a self-help book of sorts, but unlike other self-help books we can have an on going conversation with the author through prayer and scripture.

The link below is something I sometimes use when I need help. It’s a bible search engine. Just tap in the subject and various scripture pops up.

http://www.openbible.info/topics/

Of course, we need faith to do this. It comes with time but I pray that we will all turn to His word. Silly not to turn to someone who knows everything!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, Your word is a light to our path. Teach us to look to scripture through anyway possible. A book, the internet or even apps! We give thanks that the gift of technology allows us to seek you out in many more ways! – Amen

God wants you on his team!

Colossians 3:23

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than the people

I recently met someone about some potential work who said to me “You’ve been around a bit. Done ‘some’ good work”. I feel like I’ve dedicated all of my energy over the last 26 years to the business I’m in. I’ve pushed any creative skills I’ve been blessed with as far as I can. And occasionally further than I could ever imagined. I was at first put out by what the guy said. “Done ‘some’ good work” but I wondered later if they were words from God. On my path with God “Been around a bit. Done ‘some’ good work” is probably a fair review. I haven’t excelled but I don’t think God isn’t looking at me and thinking ‘You’re best years are behind you’. I believe I have my best work for God ahead of me because I don’t feel I’ve reached my potential with Him. And I find that an exciting prospect. God loves us and knows we have tremendous potential. In his eyes we’re fledglings about to embark on a career or journey with Him as our leader. This is not about us all giving up our day jobs or trying less hard at them. But as my very first post on this blog said ‘It is God who we work for’. It is He who judges our performance and how successful we really are, not anyone else.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us realize that our best work is done through you and for you – Amen!

God has not ‘shutdown’

John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

With all the that’s been going on in Washington this past week I feel like shutting down myself. I’m not commenting on the rights and wrongs of it here but It does make me realize how fortunate we are to have someone we can trust. God. Perhaps we can shut off from the craziness? In the midst of the madness when we’re getting frustrated, angry and our head is full of confusion we can simply turn to God and ask “Please intervene and sort this out”! It’s worth trying. As Christians it’s our duty to stay peaceful, calm and have wisdom. We need to pray for some of that wisdom in Washington.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray for wisdom for our leaders and for ourselves. We pray for a peaceful resolution in Washington. We pray this will happen quickly for the good of the people who’s lives are being affected by the situation – Amen!

Upstream in Uptown

Psalm 25:9

‘He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way’

We watched a film a few nights ago called ‘Salmon Fishing in The Yemen’. There was a scene in the film when the salmon were let loose into the river. At first they went the wrong way. They went downstream. But after a few seconds their instinct kicked in and they turned around and went upstream.

Being a christian is hard. In business it’s hard. Our tendency is to go with the flow. To go downstream. I have that image when I get on the train sometimes and occasionally in an office environment. We go the way everyone else goes. But to follow our faith means, that most of the time, we need to go upstream. To fight for ethics in the work place. To not go with a decision that might be harmful. Or to leave the party early or client dinner early because we have friends or family relying on us for something. Or even to turn down the job or promotion that may take us even further into the wrong place. The place that has the ‘Keep out’ sign. We need to seek God’s guidance as to whether we are going upstream or downstream. Only we know. But, speaking personally, I know when I’m going  downstream. I sometimes go that way for days and weeks. The good news, is that at least I’m aware of it. Being blind to it would be worse. Awareness is important. It means we’re trying. So, think about what way you’re going. But whatever you do, don’t take a train that’s going in the opposite direction!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we seek Your guidance today. We pray for the right directions in our life and career. Make clear the path we should follow and be with us on that path – Amen!

Don’t let today slip away.

Psalm 75:1

We give thanks to you O God; we give thanks for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds

 

Perfection is difficult to find but the evenings our here in Connecticut these past few days have come close. Not far from where we live there is a beach and park area. It has cycle paths and walking paths. It has trees, rocky out crops by the beach and wide open areas where people can throw or kick a ball around. It has also has wonderful views looking across the Long Island sound to other beaches in our town. The temperatures have been in their mid 70’s at sunset, comfortable enough to walk around with the breeze coming in from the ocean. Why am I telling you all this? Work can be all-consuming especially if we commute. Even if we leave the office at 5.30pm, some of us won’t be home until 7pm. And once we’re home and we’ve eaten, we may feel too exhausted to get out and do anything. But how about we leave the office earlier?! I understand that we can’t always do that. If we’re busy, we’re busy. Or can it wait until the morning? But if we find ourselves sitting there at 4.30 or 5pm realizing that we can actually leave the office then why not just get up and go? God gifts us days for us to make the most of. Missing beautiful evenings in the summer and missing time with family isn’t something we can get back. That day has gone. The good news is there will be another one and another one. But one day, on this earth, our days will run out. It will be dreadful to think that we didn’t make the most of the days and time that God gave us. We can’t always make the most of them. We do have work to do but it’s finding the balance. As I write, it’s 8am in the morning. I was going to post this tomorrow but the weather doesn’t look so good for then. I’m going to post this now because it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day today, with a beautiful evening….check your workload at 4pm and see if you can’t just leave the office and go and meet God’s creation.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, clear my workload so I can get out of the office today! – Amen!

 

 

Have you seen God lately?

Matthew 18:10

‘See you do not look down on these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven’

I was on the subway a few days ago. It was hot. Very hot. The hottest I’ve ever known it in New York City. When I got on the train the car was full of children on a summer camp. I can tell they had been to The Statue of Liberty and Chinatown. They were all wearing orange T-Shirts, smiling and happily talking among themselves. Sitting among them was a guy in his mid 50’s. I can tell he worked on a construction site by the hard hat he was holding in his hand and by the dirt on his clothes. He looked very tired but he managed to start up a conversation with all the children. He asked them where they had been, what souvenirs they had bought and if they’d had a good day. He was genuinely interested in them. Within 30 seconds he had them all fighting for his attention. They all wanted to show him what they had bought and tell him where they had been. He was just one of those friendly, chirpy New Yorker’s. It was fun to watch him. And they had fun talking to him. When they got to 42nd St they all got off. The last thing he said to them was “I’m just glad you kids had a great day.” I’m not sure he had. The temperature was in its hundreds outside and he was truly exhausted. I could tell. But he found the time to talk to those children. That’s love. God’s love. It was like Jesus Himself asking those children how their day was. There’s no real point to this. It’s just another one of those things that I occasionally come across and I see God. You might want to look out for Him too. He’s everywhere!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us to see you in everything so we can know you are with us. We give thanks and praise for the times when we do see you – Amen!

Are you riding the ‘Peace Train’?

Colossians 3:15

‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful’

‘Peace Train’ is a Cat Steven’s song if you were wondering where those words came from.

I’m occasionally influenced by my daily devotional in what I write in this blog. In today’s reading it suggested that rather than give up something for lent, we take up a habit instead. Of course, the habit has to be something related to God rather than eating more chocolate. Focused prayer was one idea. So, as I’m traveling a lot I’ve decided to pray for peace for all the people I’m traveling with. Both the people I know and the one’s I don’t – passengers on planes, aircraft crew, hotel staff etc.

If you travel on a train or ride in a car perhaps pray for all the people you’re traveling with on the train or the road? I don’t know what the result of that prayer will be. Some people will know God, others won’t. But whatever, it’s worth praying for God to enter their lives and for them to have peace because we live in troubled and difficult times. And all those troubles are hidden and suppressed by a world that demands us to be continually ‘on our game’ and to always impress and never fail. It’s heartbreaking to think that people are hurting inside without knowing that it can be healed by the peace of Christ. We owe it to those people to pray for them. We may not ever get to meet them or know them  but we know someone who longs to, don’t we?