I came back from the women’s retreat that Sunday filled with ambiguity. I had what I thought was a God experience, a message for my future purpose and work, and I was worried it would be trampled on by naysayers the moment I left retreat (holy) grounds.
As Human’s We Still Naturally Doubt God’s Plans
I was so sure that God had just revealed the beginning of my next season; His path for me. So, why was I afraid to tell my husband about it? Why had I already thought of all of the arguments and roadblocks ahead of me?
I was a pretty new Christian at this point.
I knew I wasn’t supposed to worry, but I was green at this faith thing.
Instead of trusting that I heard directly from God, I needed an interpreter. I called my pastor the next morning to come over and see him. I laid it all out to him.
To give you a little background, I was a senior manager in the business world. I felt that God had taken me up these small country roads to a Presbyterian retreat center in order to tell me that He no longer had Controller, Marketing Manager, or General Manager/Director planned for my future business cards.
God had a new plan with a very different path for me. I thought He had told me that I was supposed to quit the business world, go back to school to get a Masters in Counseling, work part-time as a Christian counselor and take care of my three young children. Once I heard this, I figured, why stop at this? While we are at it, maybe I could go for a fourth child, too.
Human’s Still Seek Validation, Preferably From Other Believers
My pastor hears me out and says it sounds like a good plan to him.
Now I had him. All of the work I put into to the cycling anxious thoughts of what roadblocks my husband would put up paid off. I could line them up for him. The first being the ultimatum to sell my dream house we were currently living in.
I loved this house. My husband knew it. He would tell me to sell our house if I was going to quit working and go back to school.
My pastor didn’t blink. “It’s just a house. Sell it.”
That was it. That was all it took. I needed someone who didn’t care about the house, and didn’t know quite how much I cared about the house, to tell me it didn’t matter.
When my husband told me to sell the house in all of the prior conversations, it couldn’t possibly be because our salaries would be dropping in half and we couldn’t support it. There is no way that it was my husband’s way of saying, “let’s do it,” but it was.
Only because an impartial person who didn’t care about our house said that “it was just a house” made it a brand new idea to me. I had found Jesus Christ as my Savior and with Him I could do anything that was His will. So, who cares about a house?
There Are Usually Always Other People on Our Path With Us
This was the first step toward our family changing many, many things, in addition to the house, so that we could get on the path God had planned for us.
And we did.
I quit my job. We sold the house. My husband stepped up to support the family on his income. Although Crossroads would not become an entity until three years later, this was when the seeds were planted.
This was when the path was laid down.
God Is Faithful But We Need To Do Our Part
This was when the real faith, trust and obedience started.
Actually, this is when I began praying daily for patience and I learned that there were different seasons in life even when you are on God’s path for your life.
Here are some of the lessons that I learned that enabled Crossroads to develop and grow over the past 12 years:
- You must start with a long-term plan. I needed a long-term vision for my business even though I was going to take it one step at a time and take many years to get it where we wanted it to be.
- You must build a strong foundation. I wanted to do something completely different, counseling and coaching. I knew I needed to have a strong education and knowledge before I hung out my shingle. To be a counselor, you have to have a Master’s degree.
- You must network and sell in ways that match you and your values. I knew I could never do overt selling as a counselor because that would be weird. But even for business coaching, it didn’t match me. I began a slow process of meeting people, increasing my network, building relationships, and doing the best work I could. I prayed and worked hard and trusted God for the rest.
- You have to stay the course. I am not suggesting that you continue a plan that is crashing and burning in all of the areas you value. I am suggesting that you stay the course if things are just slow. That you adjust tactics and continue to pray if you believe the path you are on is God’s vision for your work and business. We need to have patience and perseverance and stay on the path.
- Trust God for the harvest. I don’t know where our family would have ended up had I stayed in corporate business. I know that I would have made more money the first few years. But we would have missed all of the other incredible blessings that God brought to our family and relationships. Instead we chose to trust God for what we could earn. We lived off my husband’s salary for years. And we did great with what God provided.
God’s Plans are Perfect
Fast forward to 2016 and God’s plan was perfect. Our business has grown and in January my husband joined me in Crossroads, along with the rest of our team, to become a full-time business coach.
I tell you all of this as encouragement. I talk to business owners every day who wonder if they are in the right business because it wasn’t an overnight success or because it is only barely meeting their needs; none of their wants.
We had some scary times. We added a little debt and let some household maintenance go for a while. But we stayed the course.
Encouragement To Stay The Course
Are you in God’s vision for your work? Is it hard to be patient? Are you wondering if it is really His plan for you?
I am only partially able to discern God’s path for me, so I won’t pretend to know what He has planned for you or your business. Maybe you are in the business that he planned for you and maybe not. All I can say is that:
God’s timing is His alone and it is perfect.
He is more concerned with our holiness than our commercial success.
He wants us to lean on Him, not our own pride and skills.
Even though His path may be difficult, it brings purpose and joy no matter the circumstance.
Oh and if you were wondering about the fourth child part of the plan. We decided that was NOT God speaking to me and got a dog instead.
And even still, God’s timing and will are perfect, as I have a beautiful two-year-old granddaughter along with my two dogs to complete the family. Another reminder that He is the One in Control.
Thank you God!