I was reading week one of our Lenten studies on the Lord’s Prayer and got an immediate dose of conviction. In one of the first day’s scriptures, we look at several verses that tell us that Our Father knows exactly what we need and, because we are His children, He wants to provide for us.
In Luke 13:29-32, we read, “And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
I think my Jewish heritage has me lean toward “worry” as a verb to get things done. Worry and guilt. Those used to be my two base motivators until I found Christ. Now, I can move away from them, but when I am deep in the details of all of my work and clients, sometimes these innate feelings sneak up on me.
I worry about finances. I feel guilty if I miss a deadline or forget to do something for a client. If I’m not careful, Satan sees me leaning back into old ways, and he has a great time exaggerating it all.
In reading these verses again, I am reminded that:
- Worry is a waste of time.
- Worry shows I am not focused on God.
- My subconscious, if the worry is sneaking up on me, shows a lack of trust in Christ.
- It becomes evident that my focus is not where it should be – on His kingdom.
Trusting God in Your Business
How are you doing trusting God in your business?
Think about it. As a small business owner, we can have 360 degrees of worry at any time:
- I’m not selling enough. What will I do?
- I am so busy that I cannot keep up. What will I do?
- I don’t have the right people on the bus. How will I manage?
- We are overstaffed. Should we keep everyone?
Pick the topic. In business, it is rare that everything is just as it needs to be. One client, upon more than doubling his business overnight, has claimed repeatedly, “Watch what you pray for!”
God Knows What We Need in Life and Business
The crazy thing about it is that God does know just what we need. And at the core of it, all the scenarios stated above reinforce what we need.
We need to focus on Him, and His will for our lives and business, to realize that our sales are just enough. And even if we are overly busy, the Holy Spirit can work through us to help us get it all done. Our problem is that people (like me) think it is all about them. We think that if we don’t take care of it all, everything will fall apart.
And, I guess if you really get down to it, things at work could fall apart. They could fall apart with us killing ourselves to make it all happen just so, and our business could fail if we trust in God and leave the worry behind.
The hard part of that reality is that our business success, in the worldly sense, is more than a need. It is a desire. We didn’t go into business for ourselves to just get by. We want success. And, that is where the problem resides. We are seeking our own success rather than His Kingdom.
I know that I do.
I also know that when I am chasing success, I worry more. I move so deliberately toward making the business equation balance that I stop seeking Him deliberately. I still pray. I still read the Bible. But, there is a difference isn’t there? I have definitely had long periods of time where I just really focused on my relationship with Jesus. I looked to Him in all that I did, in life and work.
I still do this most of the time. Then I just start to slowly veer off into my own agenda. Until I wake up one day and recognize stress and worry. When I see that these emotions are the main feelings present I realize…
I did it again.
I lost my focus on the main thing. My Father…
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be His name…
It is in these moments, I remember that He is all I need. I am convicted. Because every time I just seek His Kingdom, He is faithfully there to open the doors wide.
How to Seek His Kingdom in Your Business
What does this look like in business? For me, it is a few things:
- Seek time with Him regardless of business. I stop focusing on business as the main thing and focus on my relationship with God. This means more quiet time with Him, more scripture, more prayer. I guess just like any relationship, for me it means more time with my Savior.
- Give my worry to Jesus. I do this through writing, journaling to God. It feels more tangible to me this way. Sometimes, praying out loud (usually in the car when I am by myself) gives me the same feeling of a hand off. A friend in my small group said yesterday that she was sure that God was sick of her long winding stories…I feel the same. Thankfully, God is infinite…infinite in His patience and capacity to hear my same old worries. They really don’t change, they just resurface.
- Ask for guidance and direction in all aspects of my business. This is just a daily, all-day, flash-prayer kind of thing. The point is that I am focusing on Jesus when the normal daily stress or worry hits. My first thought is Jesus what do I do instead of crap, now I have to fix this.
- Let the Holy Spirit guide me. First, I have to ask for help, then I have to get out of my own way. Many times, my out loud prayers in the car are for Jesus to get me out of the way and let the Holy Spirit work through me. Things are always better this way.
I wish I was an expert at seeking God and His Kingdom first every time. I wish I had a plan for you to skip all the worry and just do what works all the time.
I’m not. I’m a worrying human who many times just wants to make things work in this world. Thankfully, our God knows that and loves me anyway. He obviously knows there are many like me, because he does reference it in these verses in Luke, and in many other places in scripture. He knows we need the reminder.
Praying in Your Business: The Lord’s Prayer
Thankfully, Jesus has helped us with the ultimate re-alignment, The Lord’s Prayer. If we say it daily, and think about it, we will become conscious of our need for Jesus above all else. It will remind us that all that we need is His Will and His Kingdom.
Join me this lenten season and make the Lord’s Prayer part of your daily focus. (Yes, in business and in life, because if you are a small business owner, business is part of your life.)
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”