When should you step out in faith as a business owner? How do you know if a decision should be based on budgets and spread sheets or be taken as a leap of faith? We’ve all made a BIG leap of faith at one point – just starting a business in the first place.
But, I know I also ask myself regularly about the role of faith in smaller decisions, too. Should I step out in faith and add a new employee? Can I afford to have a new website developed? Should I price my services differently?
And then, when fear sets in and I don’t make any decision, I feel like I am not trusting God. If it was your plan Lord wouldn’t I be completely at peace? If you wanted this next step for my business, wouldn’t it be obvious?
What I have learned in my consistent battle in my head (and heart) is that it isn’t that simple. You don’t always ‘just know’ or feel at peace even if it is God’s will for you.
Why? Because we are human. Humans will:
- worry even though Jesus says clearly not to.
- succumb to Satan’s lies that we shouldn’t move forward.
- take control even though time has shown we are not in control.
Even if God wants to make it obvious to me that some step or decision is His will, I can still easily get in my own way, and miss seeing it and feeling His peace.
Don’t get me wrong, I have also felt the complete peace of stepping out in faith and doing something completely out of the box.
I did it when I decided to leave my business career to take care of my family and go back to school to become a Christian counselor. And this was a huge step. I worked hard at making wise decisions, but it just seemed like God opened the right doors and I knew this was the right path.
The funny thing is that sometimes when the decisions aren’t quite as huge or bold, when they are smaller and are within an area of expertise God has already given me, I get in the way even more. I try to control it. I think that because it is small, it should be more clear and not a leap of faith at all.
Now as a coach to Christian small business owners, clients ask me if they should step out in faith. Whenever they ask me I shudder. If I can’t always tell how I feel – if I don’t always know if I’m truly letting go of control and following God in obedience – then how can I know for sure if you are?
I don’t say it quite like that, of course! Instead, we talk through it together – like this:
How to know if you should take that leap of faith:
- What is the source of the opportunity or decision? Did the opportunity to hire a new person come because a great candidate showed up at your door seemingly delivered by the angels? Or are you killing yourself working more hours than your corporate job, and you desperately need help or you will drop? Sometimes it may be that you came up with an idea for to grow your business and you want to be proactive about the next step. If your heart desires it, or your head believes it is a good decision, then the idea is worth considering.
- Have you gathered enough information to make an informed decision? God gave us our brains. I don’t think being prudent is showing a lack of trust in God. He wants us to be good stewards and information helps us to assess if a decision or direction is good.
- Have you identified the risks? Have you identified what the downfall will be; the worse case scenario? The risk could be a financial risk, but sometimes it is a risk to your reputation, or could cause additional work in the short run. Maybe the idea just won’t work. It is a risk of failure.
- Have you prayed about it now that you have all of the needed information? I know that you don’t have a crystal ball and the information that you really want is “will it all work out okay?”. This is where the faith comes in. Start by bringing it all to God in prayer.
- Decide to step out in faith. If there is no catastrophic risk, nothing illegal or sinful, a reasonable chance for success, it makes sense to move forward. If the only reason you don’t step out is out of fear, then we are looking at a crisis of faith.
If you don’t have a coach, you can journal right to God. You need to go to Him in prayer anyway. I can’t promise for anyone else that something really is a God thing, or tell someone they aren’t trusting God enough and should just leap off that business cliff. What I can do is ask the questions.
If the decision is irreversible, could risk lives literally, or cause your family to be on the streets literally, than maybe the idea is not God’s. Sometimes we talk ourselves in to doing reckless things by saying I feel God is calling me to do this. We can easily give ourselves an excuse by saying it is a God thing.
History has shown that God has called us to things that do risk our lives. Look at Jesus. He was called to die for you and I. However, I don’t think God would call us to take a risk that would create great harm, for the sake of a business profit. . Or just to increase sales. He may in order to bring the gospel to nations, but to add a second location of our car wash business, maybe not.
I am not trying to be provocative. I just am trying to help put some objectivity to answering the question “how do we step out in faith in business”. And I will add this emphatic disclaimer. Only God knows precisely what He is calling us to and only you know your own motives and intentions. In the end, if you truly feel God is calling you to something, you are safe to throw away caution and step out in faith knowing that the God of the Universe has you safely in His will.