Don’t try to shove a square peg into a round hole – it simply will not fit. Not only will one be wasting their time, but this fruitless effort bathed in pride will be delaying precious fulfilling life-changing experiences one could know while working in and around that sweet spot known as your life’s calling.
Nothing feels as liberating as working in the field to which you have a calling – be it ministry, a corporate position, a home based business, birthing an invention or idea into fruition, instructing or speaking on topics of expertise, and any other scenario we are drawn to inwardly but simply are at odds with outwardly since we are beating out of sync operating in a foreign place – working out of our calling. Trying to maneuver around a place we don’t belong simply won’t satisfy for the long haul and one will feel deflated and unfulfilled in a multitude of ways. Suddenly we may wake up one day well into the years of dull ventures we have been on along the not so suitable path and realize how much time has been wasted and how many excuses we have used before we own the fact we have been given ONE life and a God-given place of “making a difference” in the lives of others.
We may even sink into further despair as the once strongly held desires of our heart dissipate suddenly due to a set back in the journey, become derailed by a discouraging comment from someone significant to us that made the dream seem impossible, or even that little voice in our own head that says “it will never fly”. That other voice we often listen to generally takes precedence over believing the voice of our Lord God Who has equipped those that He calls for the work at hand and gives us great pleasure in that journey as well (Hebrews 13:20-21). Why would we not believe the One that made us for His purpose and muffle out His brilliant plan and voice?
For me the answer to his question lies in the basic vision flat lining arena of FEAR and procrastinating the inevitable failure we think we will face. Simply put, we don’t have faith that God can and will do His finest work despite or short comings and inabilities and we might, just might not fail at all. Even if we do have set backs, the Lord is the Master Weaver as working all things together for our good and never leaves a faux pas unused. . And when successes take place He is the One Who deserves the credit!
The definition of success also varies widely from person to person. Your calling may not be to create or run a million dollar company or making a headline news piece, but certainly it COULD if we put our passions into action behind the plow of determination to make a dream come to reality. When we operate within the will of God, ANYTHING is possible for the Lord God the Creator of the Universe Who has no limits functioning with unspeakable power in and around that person. Don’t miss it, don’t allow time to waste, visions to fade, and the monster of negativity to create a halt in your progress. How many days are we guaranteed a breath and yet we live as if we have forever to finally grab hold of the brass ring that we were wired to hold on any given scale?
Time to stop and change directions and move along with the areas of life you were meant to be the warrior that you are – here are a few helpful steps to get thinking into the mode of productivity in the right direction:
1. Pray on it. Nothing but nothing beats absolute communication with our Father Who is bursting with kindness and surprises for His children, which leads me to this reassuring statement; make sure you are a child of God in order to receive His blessings. All one has to do is simply believe in Him as Savior and then seek His kingdom first and His righteousness which is learned through the meditation on His Word the Bible and spending time in fellowship with Him. He will begin to shape the desires of your heart according to His Word if you will delight in Him, and then soon, one will want what He wants. (Psalm 37:4)
2. Get to know yourself. With a pen and paper, write down what YOU love to do, to dream on, to see, to feel, to experience. Don’t rush this process because a person who has suppressed deep desires and life long goals may need to resurrect those ideals with a bit of soul searching. On the flip side, if you are a visionary as I am, we may have a quiver full of ideas and need to sift through and find the ones that need to hold the top spots.
Don’t overlook your day dreams as a sub-level of enjoyment to what we think is more important. Let me correct you on this erroneous thinking …there IS no line of distinction here. Your desires are vital and one of the sweetest discoveries of His handy work to equip you for the call. RUN into that desire and steep in this area of thinking especially if you have been particularly dead to thought of “what if”. Chew on the possibilities and let it steep for awhile in your mind. Don’t let money or lack of money become the obstacle. Lack of dough cannot become the excuse as that says that “it” is more of a god than the real God Who owns it all. Pray for provision rather than fearing the lack of it.
3. Mentor – get a GOOD mentor who has been there and done that. One of the greatest errors one can make is to communicate with those we KNOW will deflate one’s sails and over look a variety of well suited and Godly leaders who have been in a position of success gifted in their expertise that would delight to spend time helping a person shape a dream into reality. Don’t rush into mentoring to simply “get someone” but certainly don’t delay in seeking out those that are making things happen in their world. And if the first person says “no” then look for another. They are out there, ready to help and certainly you can find a host of great leadership in writing by such authors as Robert Kiosaki of Rich Dad/Poor Dad (my personal favorite) or Loral Langemeier (Live Out Loud). These two people via their writing and recording and seminars rocked my entrepreneurial world and made ALL the difference in propelling me into action.
4. Choose your timing to get started and then DO IT. If a product will fly later in the year, then don’t press “go” on it now, be patient on this, but don’t delay on the behind the scenes work in preparation for the launch. Sitting idle is pointless when you have embarked on the quest. If that book needs to be written, then do the outline and fill in the info and work on the book cover and back for illustrating – many will want to glean from your wisdom. If you are ready to launch a business, consider the cost before you build and develop your allies around you for the work sake and make friends and be friendly where ever you go. This has been a huge benefit to my work because I genuinely love people and love to bring them joy.
5. Don’t look back. Move ahead and don’t forget to check in with your mentors from time to time as they are far ahead of you in the line of successes. Never let it become known that you eventually won’t listen to wisdom because we have become prideful, too busy, or a know it all. Never stop learning and understand there will be days you may doubt, feel lazy, have a set back with something that will be an opportunity for you to decide that you have to work through the speed bump rather than let it stop the progress.
6. When you have finally launched, contact me about coaching no matter what stage you find yourself in with your dream. It’s time to get things in motion and there is nothing I find more satisfying than seeing someone successful and being all that they can be. I want to know that this article made a difference. In the end no one will satiate thirst and hunger as you will by working on the road the LORD meant for you and not the plan of someone else in your life!
This was an excellent discovery today as I searched the net for sources on adult healing from childhood neglect and/or abuse. This is one of the best explanations and resources for attachment trauma I have seen yet. How I wish every couple would read this before or even well into their marriages. Click below to read …
Too many times we decide to give up our full price tag we want to charge on our product or services simply because we can’t say “no thanks”, to someone who wants to talk us down in payment for something we work very hard to earn. It’s not that we don’t want to make the money, and it’s not that we aren’t in the competitive mode either, but rather, it comes down to the belief system that we don’t think what we have is worth the value we have attached to it. We simply haven’t learned yet, that the sun will rise again tomorrow and many other sales will come, even if we walk away from a sale today. Generally it boils down to how we feel about ourselves personally that is reflected in our world of business dealings and how we garner ourselves right out of a healthy growth cycle. Business isn’t about pleasing everyone with what they think your product is worth, it making your product worth exactly what you ask for in price, and understanding that this sometimes. requires allowing a potential consumer to walk away.
The key is, you will set the standard by putting a fair price on an item or service that offers better than the average and is worth every penny, because it’s uniquely placed in the market by a salesperson, or a company owner like yourself, that is passionate to offer the highest standard. Once that standard is set, the word can travel fast, so make sure that it is a value equal to the asking price and then some.
If one has been in business for any length of time, one will understand that business requires cash flow, so the more we allow the bargain basement price to happen, the more quickly we edge ourselves to going totally out of business. It can and does happen every day. If a potential buyer chooses to have cable t.v., a car payment, a $2000 a year cell phone, overhead in their own businesses, and other hidden dollars spent, then it also means that a buyer will then have to choose to afford your offer as well. They have to decide to invest wisely with you and if they don’t, please do not buckle at that point, desperate for a sale, and allow someone who holds a tight purse string to be the determining factor to devalue something you know took blood, sweat, and tears to develop.
Furthermore, do you want to be known as the cheapest on the block that works as hard as the other guys, or the one with the higher price tag, with more of a quality deal? At that point even if they balk at the price, point to the bottom line price, and where to sign and let them decide. If they sign they sign, if they don’t they don’t. Be considerate with your response, and decide that if others want to stay small, that this isn’t your problem. Don’t you dare shrink the price tag if they decide not to afford you. Be wise and protect your own investment and worth. The sales will come.
This year my decorating team, including yours truly, rocked it with the planning and execution of decorating over 80 Christmas trees of every size from a five foot contemporary rotating metal tree north of the city all the way to a 20 foot posh gorgeous display in the heart of Buckhead in Atlanta. Never mind coordinating additional countless wreaths, miles of garland, dazzling centerpieces, floral centerpieces, props and special feature lighting to bring it all to a new level of the wow factor, topped by special orders from clients of carefully packed gift baskets stuffed with goodies delivered to some of the finest company firms we could ask for – all in one swoop of a season!
Needless to say, we are most thankful for, and in awe, exhausted – oh – yes from, how busy this year has been for planning and the final product for the most sought after commercial properties and mega churches in the industry. It’s tremendously humbling and overwhelming to think where the Lord God has brought my once tiny-sized company in 2007, to a now thriving and in-demand small enterprise in 2017. It is a continuum of effort to improve and grow wisely every single year it is in existence as we want every client to be delighted with what we do. The day after Christmas, it all starts to come down and the bling will be temporarily packed away, as my crew and I ready for the next few months, where planning for next season will commence once again.
To my clients, THANK YOU for your business, and know that we love each and every one of you and truly appreciate the fact you have any company to choose from, and choose to do business with us! Without you we have no business.
To update you on our services, we will now be offering gift baskets delivered year round for all occasions for all budget sizes, as well as a higher level of priority to gorgeous monthly orchid arrangements, commercial event florals and centerpieces, and bridal and wedding florals for that special day. Please let us know what your needs will be and we will be happy to offer a quote for the finest and the best you could ask for each time! Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-374-7940
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too, and we look forward to doing more business with you in the future! – ReAnn Ring
Written by ReAnn Ring, Entrepreneur and Business Coach.
Change, a word we either embrace or run from, can often mean a make or break for those of you in the business world.
Recently I encountered a few surprise unannounced changes that pretty much set the tone for a thumbs up or thumbs down, but certainly not a neutral response. Granted, change, if handled well and with plenty of notice depending on the situation, possibly incorporating feedback from the end consumer, employees of the company, and vendors, prior to a big move, can be good, if not excellent, to ensure a happier work environment internally, a more dedicated and growing customer-client base, and certainly a surge in sales and popular name in the industry and beyond in the market place.
A good name, according to the Word of God, is about the highest form of compliment pinning a mature and seasoned name on a company. Wisdom looks far beyond the immediate to the ripple effect that an alteration in a business model can make on any level of operation inside of a company all the way to service provision standards to the public, to the product line itself out on the market.
On the flip side, change when not handled well, can ensure a big direct hit to a company’s credibility and ability to be trusted, when it goes unannounced and worse yet, when it’s done with the old bait and switch method. Surprised and once loyal customers lose confidence, and any more now, the immediate cancer of words can pour out with bad press on social media to the news media and more, with murmuring, grumbling and outright anger on social media and can most certainly doom a company to a reputation of unprofessionalism which take a long time to redeem. It’s not long before the influx of complaints flood the email box of the seller and even on up the chain to the company owner. Before you know it, the new task of putting out fires and responding to those messages, becomes a full-time job scramble to fix what was once thought a good move.
Sometimes is vastly obvious that a company’s last thought that should have been their first concern, is the response of their end users and even their employees. Let’s use a couple of examples I know of personally:
Example A. The “Think I Am” Company, www.thinkiam.com, had, I say in past tense, a wildly popular Vitamin B Energy Drink I and numerous consumers enjoyed called “I Am Energized”. For well over a year I have been hooked and even heralded the praises of this powerful healthy little drink offering a much more natural and safe alternative to the Monster Drinks that are now pinned with some shaky and scary bad press lately. The berry flavor of the “I Am Energized” was very pleasant and this three ounce liquid natural vitamin supplement filled bottle was an easy grab to throw in a workout bag even offering a great healthy replacement to just a plain cup of morning coffee to the start of your day. It truly enhanced a workout and sustained energy levels throughout a rigorous day at work.
From time to time, I could hardly find it locally at my closest Sprouts and began the trek to other stores for this favored drink, in order to beat the other customers to the punch, to wipe out the shelves where they were in supply. Often I would order the four-for-three deal on-line directly from the company itself and would scour the net if they too were temporarily out of stock looking for a secondary supplier. Back-orders so often on such a popular drink caused me to ration my current supply and certainly should have spelled a great big message to the creator of the drink that they were onto some good and profitable.
But wait a minute … what happened? Recently, unannounced, the I Am Energized Drink suddenly offered a surprise change, from the familiar berry flavor to a new semi tart unfamiliar flavor with an unpleasant aftertaste and a change or two in their formula. Highly noticeable mind you. After my trip to Sprouts yesterday, once again wiping out the last remaining box of drinks after the first Sprouts store was out of stock, I had the first sip of the new change this morning only to be met with a big fat disappointment.\
I had heard the rumor of this flavor change from a friend who loves the drink as much as I, and was holding fast that the new flavor and formula would rock my world as much as the other. Normally a pretty tough advocate for health products regardless of flavor, I can overlook such an offense, but this new flavor, which upon some investigating, turns out to be an indistinct lime taste, was a deal breaker for me. Thankfully I kept my receipt and a trip back to the store to replenish the empty box that sat from my purchase, is definitely in order.
So the emails began to the customer service contact. Reading the response from the company that my friend and I wrote asking what had happened, they tried to convince us that the effect of the drink was the same, that other customers had written the same complaint, and that it was just the flavor and other ingredient change that had taken place. Once this large supply of lime was sold out, the berry would be soon reintroduced again to the store shelves. Not sure how long that will be, but I can guarantee, the shelves won’t be emptying from the word of mouth sales I used to do on the product, nor my own pocket book, and can’t imagine the demand for this particular flavor being nearly as high as the previous.
So how should this have been handled differently for a wildly popular drink? I wonder, why would they not have put a different colored label to indicate that flavor offering rather than the switch of flavors in the same bottle? How about asking their favorite stories like Sprouts to give the new flavor a spin on a test market to see if it would be well received? And for certain, not announcing with one single word on the label as the to change, just proved to be another bait and switch and made me wonder if the company were having financial issues or something close to that effect. I imagine if funds are tight the addition to the line in a totally new bottle and color of label might be cost prohibitive, but certainly pouring something new into a bottle labeled the same can literally and figuratively leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth and now a loss of sales from a dedicated consumer such as I am – pun intended.
Example B. The other company I wanted to mention was the Invoiceable.co website that did the old surprise bait and switch into the newly developed Invoicely. co, https://invoicely.com/ that offers an on-line invoice service for business. Wow I loved that previous site, full of easy end-user buttons maneuvers, handy widgets, easy to function items for tracking sales, visually easy to read, and simple entering and updating client information for use of ease, and more.
One night while catching up my invoices I had literally logged out of the website that was Invoiceable.co, only to log back on an hour later to finish my work, to an entirely new format, new business name, new colors, and new website. I think I logged back out and in about three times to make sure I had not made a mistake in typing the URL. There was no inbox email as a warning, no formal announcement anywhere on the home page, and a sudden new heart racing panic as I searched for my previous three years of invoice transactions nowhere to be found. My company had done well into a million dollars in sales and believe you-me, there were more clients just like me with higher and lower business income that were facing that same shock and disgust as I was during that change.
Consequently, many went on a rant on social media, shared our infuriating experiences of having to figure out on our own how to merge our old records into the new, with only social media and an email to the new company inbox to get any answers as to what was what and certainly no answers as to why. The company gave a measly weak Twitter response apology and a link to the old website so we could at least “temporarily access” our old records to be sure things were transferred correctly to the new site as there were numerous glitches to the new set-up that even to this day, a full year later, I am finding.
Customer emails and entire accounts disappeared and even reappear, and there is really no way to reach anyone in customer service. They don’t respond well to your inquiries on line, with a natural concner that this could happen again. Since they didn’t handle the first steps with grace and a wide-spread stronger response to their paying clients, I doubt that they will handle our money and trust any better from the lessons they should have learned. I also learned that I needed to do more homework on this type of website as I am unable to transfer my data to Quickbooks or any other system to be sure I have a back up file.
Invoicely.co – BAD MOVE, this is the quintessential “no no” in business and the lingering comments on social media are there forever for anyone to read. Maybe you thought the quick change artist maneuver might have saved you some customers from a mass exodus when you were about to make your stealth changes in the night, when in reality it proved quite opposite – you did nothing but make good paying customers angrier than hell. To reference my notes above, the feature you might want to add for good measure and to make up for you poor customer service, is a way to merge our records off of your website into an Excel Spreadsheet or downloadable file so we can leave you, customer info intact, and go on to another safer and more dependable on-line service or at least allow us a form of back-up in case your company tanks without a word. For now we are stuck with you and I still can’t find some of my customer information that mysteriously disappears.
To conclude, one of the worst business moves a company can do for their own name and longevity, is to mess with customer loyalty, their money, their favor, their tastebuds, and their trust. Reputation spreads fast and thankfully for social media, comments and feedback are kept at the touch of the fingertips for a quick search to see what your track record has been. True they can gain a new following and certainly they can regain the trust of the old client base, but is it really necessary to go through something like this when an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?
Here are some tips for change I would recommend to any company getting ready or even considering to do a change;
Get a test group and do a trial run. I’m talking people who already love your product and services, and not just an employee who is looking to say “yes” for the sake of job security. See what they say, work out the glitches as much as possible, to avoid a rash of angry and frustrated feedack.
Announce changes before hand when possible. Recalls on car parts that are dangerous are often announced and major car companies make it known that they are about to do an improvement to their line when they need do. Your company might not be that size to do a media announcement, but if you have an email or phone number, or business mailing address, giving your client the courtesy of a note that change is coming, it will say volumes about business etiquette and the fact you even care about those that spend money on you.
Address the issues on line as well. Go public with social media and let people know what is going on, creating a buzz ahead of time.
Hopefully this will be helpful for those reading it to learn that communication of changes to come or even an option to give feedback with a demo of what changes could take place that are favorable, could save a company in the long run from a disappointed and enthusiastic end-user list. May you continue to be busy and prosperous.
I learned something a long time ago … a fact that I am still applying to certain undeniable areas of the mind, heart, and soul.
That fact is this – Satan will establish a platform of a lie in our life as early as he can — for his wiles and modus operandi to kill, steal, and destroy. The earlier in our lives he can plant his bitter root – the better. He works diligently at keeping his agenda in place in our mind that naturally floods down into the heart. Over time, he and our own minds, our flesh, remind us of his and other’s damaging messages to keep us defeated and ineffective in God’s realm of work. If he can convince us to exchange truth, or even our lack of wisdom and knowledge of truth, for a lie that is highly self-and-other-destructive, then he spins well and with skill, his web which can be so difficult to escape. Jesus titled him the father of lies so many centuries ago (John 8:44). He is a master demonic manipulator and the king of smoke and mirrors.
Because our DNA is wired to be filled with love and acceptance, we are like sponges with the potential of complete saturation to the point of overflow into influencing others. We crave to be needed, useful, to belong, to be accepted, and in that quest, we can potentially hold fast to multiple tiers on the platform of deception we have banked on that are all in the name of “self-fulfillment”.
Once we land on, or, are even placed by another, on a foundation of error, we build an entire belief system investing heavily in that platform which leads to our daily decision-making, behavior, lifestyle, our choice of peers and vocation, and choice of coping mechanisms dealing with life’s issues. It can either introduce us to a life of joy and unending satisfaction, or it can lead us to the contrary as is so prominent in the lives we witness every day with drugs, abuse, impurity, chaotic relationship patterns, any form of addiction imaginable, and on the list goes into a variety of entanglements with a destructive ending if there is no intervention to rescue us from destructive cycles of managing our mental patterns.
Personally I never have believed that addiction is a disease, because the Bible, the infallible absolute beacon of inarguable truth, teaches us something quite opposite. Addictions, poor choices and more come from the bottom line of believing a lie, and since our bodies are set up to search for the fulfillment of our need to be nurtured, nourished, loved, and for a routine, it can mean a vulnerable empty soul devoid of the proper direction to go, to end up in the danger zone. We can quickly latch on to something that looks promising, but will eventually kill us rather than heal or fill us as our bodies crave more of whatever we use to medicate our wounds and needs. We are starving and thirsty for that place of wholeness. The more we grapple with filling ourselves up with things that never satisfy, the more we search and experiment and become indulgent in whatever new or old behavior seems to promise peace. It never works, until we learn to grow roots in the promises of the loving Lord God. Our omnipotent, powerful, Warrior, and wonder-filled Father always has our best interest at heart and there is nothing more adventurous and exciting than a walk with Him. There is no addiction on earth that can do what a loving Father who loves us can do.
So how is the initial lie established in order to trick us in to believing falsehood in the first place?
One prevalent way, is that it can come in the form of a comment or years of exposure to comments and actions made that settles like an arrow into our soul from someone we value and love and trust that can instantly evaporate a healthy belief system about our own worth and our value to others. Be it a teacher, classmate, family member, spouse, boyfriend, business associate, or anyone else for that matter, words and actions have immeasurable power to break us or heal us.
Secondly, Falsehood can come in the way of messages told by our world around us, a world also in search for truth, that are highly contrary to what the Lord truly intended for us. We are told we have to make this amount of money, be this size, drive this car, go accomplish this or that, in order to have value.
Thirdly, it will further be poured into concrete with negative thinking and destructive living when we choose to re-expose ourselves even more to those that create damage in the way of seeking chaos as the norm. It’s what we have known, and how we respond with our self-talk when we are hurt or are damaged by someone or something in any form that happens to us, lands us by default back to the original platform of messages that are set up like a tape in our mind.
This is how a dark stronghold is established.
A stronghold is a fortified haven that we run to, and the Lord meant for us to use Him as the stronghold. However, often the enemy mimics a place of safety that holds within it’s walls the lies he has always told us and the ongoing messages we tell ourselves. Within that brainwashing we will be compelled to act on our feelings to deal with pain. A stronghold can grow to enormous proportions with deep deception even incorporating half-truths that can lend to even more lack of clarity and this mess of confusion, and invariably will always lead to a dead-end of more pain. Where there is confusion, there is often the work of the enemy of our souls. Piercings were never meant not to hurt us.
This is why it is so vitally important to run into the stronghold of God Himself, and swap our investment of beliefs out from the 401k of deception, and into His golden vault of the Word. It is His will to destroy strongholds and to reject that plan is in direct disobedience to His Word because He has something far more supernaturally rewarding for us.
Isaiah 23:11, “He has stretched His hand out over the sea, He has made the kingdoms tremble; The LORD has given a command concerning Canaan to demolish its strongholds.”
It’s without saying equally vital that we set proper strongholds up for our children. We can know healing and what HE says about our calling, our value, our body, our dreams, our families, our spouses, our income, our friendships measured by His Word, which brings the sweetest peace we can ever know. Not only that, but this investment has a fat return in treasures that are stored up for us in glory. Psalm 94:22 further proves, “But the LORD has been my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.”
Teaching our younger generations those truths and to be quite diligent and patient about that mission is critical.. Those next generations of souls are our future. Being obstinate in telling honesty in love is critical for that to happen, but first, we must start educating and praying for and surrendering ourselves so that we are healthy and pure in order to spread the word on the Word of God. There is no better substitute. No drug, no relationship, not money, nor power, or anything else, can replace what Christ can do in our lives as the only and best form of healthy addiction.
That old haven of destructive stronghold thinking can be quickly dissolved by steeping deeply in the knowledge of the Word, and is highly effective even if it takes a mother load of work to undo the damage that was set up for us from the start. Becoming untangled, is possible, and painful, yet, gloriously freeing and heavily rewarding. We can safely leap confidently on to the life-preserving foundation of Jesus Christ our Lord. We can never go wrong investing our mind, heart, and soul in the RIGHT thing, the right internal messages, and taking our eyes off of self, and others, and placing them onto the Father and His mission for our lives. Life will take on an entirely new meaning and we can never go wrong paying it forward to those around us while we work through our own pain and are healing to become a warrior and overcomer.
When we deflect the arrows of the evil one with truth, no matter what form those arrows present themselves as, we begin the very healthy journey of tearing down destructive old ways, and those that could be established later on and even passed down to our children and children’s children.
As I have had deep life enriching encouragement from the Bible and wise counsel from those that take charge over my soul, to undo the work of the destructor himself, I have learned to combat the lies and even have mercy and pray for those that revel in a carnal approach with their lack of wisdom and unhealthy expectations place on me from the past and the present. They didn’t know the truth to begin with in order to pass it on, and with a warped outlook on life, they did what they thought was best. Once I was introduced to the real deal of Christ’s picture for me, oh my word, the difference was staggering, and the changes were radical in my thoughts and behavior. The old ways have been tough to undo, but the Lord has consistently been giving me a long rope of loving patience to come around for His purposes.
II Corinthians 10:4-5, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have the power to diminish strongholds.We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Be encouraged and never stop surrendering to the truth. I want you to free!
I’VE NEVER BEEN MARRIED, BUT I’VE NEVER BEEN DIVORCED EITHER.
I Corinthians 7:8, “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It isgoodfor them if they remain (single) even as I am.”
Years ago Elisabeth Elliot spoke at a women’s conference at my church where I served as her tech attendant for speaking at the podium. In one of her sessions, I nearly fell off of the front row pew when I heard her say that she didn’t care for “dating” and that it is a man-made tradition no where found in the Word of God. Suddenly everything I ever felt about dating and the discomfort of the expectation of that made perfect sense and I nearly jumped up and applauded her for making my life whole at that moment. She was a great proponent on the providence of God when it comes to marriages in her writing, supernaturally put together by something other than the exercise of dating, based on her own experiences. That moment in time was a life-changer for me and took all the pressure off of explaining why it (dating) never gelled with my spirit. Thank you Elisabeth – we who met you, cannot wait to convene with you again in glory
Having “never married” for my nearly 53 years of life, by choice, I have gained some vast first-hand insight after being on the receiving end of a broad range of assumptions from those who often make a swinging attempt to sum up the world of “single-hood”. Much of this ideation by others sits somewhere on the grid from absolute encouragement and confirmation all the way to the opposite end with preconceived notions falling totally short of reality. If I may, much of the time it’s even down right insulting with ridiculous conclusions boiled down to “why aren’t you married – what’s wrong with you?”
My response is: “You meant to ask what is RIGHT with me?”
How is it a wrong thing that I haven’t made an error in marriage and divorce to add to the world’s statistics? How is it wrong that I followed the leading of the Spirit and am truly at peace and enjoy, if not further covet, being free!
As someone who doesn’t like to be branded a “type of” other than a highly unique individual, I get a bit weary of being classified as married, or single, or widowed, or divorced, as if the only way to file a person’s identity is by their marital status. When I walk in to church service, an event, or dinner out, I don’t look around and think “they are married, she’s divorced, that couple is engaged, I’m single and self-aware of this, etc., etc., etc.,” as if that’s the critical funnel by which I see things. I don’t even think “marital status” about 99% of the time until I have to fill out a questionnaire and unless it’s for tax purposes I would rather write a big line through these questions, along with my weight and height, that it’s “none of their business”.
Aren’t we all valuable persons, above and beyond that of a marital status? According to God’s Word, there are benefits to marriage AND singleness. Yet the scales tip far heavier when it comes to the stern warnings and guidelines in particular for those that are in a covenant bond of marriage. There are numerous verses on the bride of Christ, the church’s role as a spouse to Jesus and her conduct and preparation for His return, as well as our conduct as individuals making up the collective body of the bride.
On behalf of those that have encountered the same, my objective is to give a few responses to these assumptions and questions shedding light on the heart of at least this inner person I am that has been a life-long single female.
How many stories of those that got married thinking that this was the next step in life, and the cure for their ailments, find out that they have now compounded their existing issues with involving another imperfect human being into the equation? Being whole as a person long before marriage is a highly favorable state to be in as it allows us to function as an individual dependent on the Lord as our source of completion, but is a state we rare find in reality as it’s usually the nuptials and all that ebbs and flows with that experience that ends up being the teacher. Marriage comes with it, a huge spotlight where faults and strengths are quickly revealed.
Fortunately some of us had that one figured out a long time before we were faced with the decision to marry, yet still, we are dealing with some pretty interesting thoughts from others, and felt like it was necessary to address what I have personally encountered with the following responses designed to give understanding. Bear with me if you are married, you need to see this too …. True story, I have heard these very words from people throughout the years.
RESPONSES TO WHAT MANY BELIEVE ABOUT SINGLENESS:
“You are still single (or single again), so you must be anxious for marriage. Isn’t attending weddings hard for you? You are attractive and funny, but not married, what’s wrong with you? You must not be ‘ready’ yet for marriage (aka; mature enough).”
My response: I stand in awe and in deep solid respect for marriage, so that is one area I simply choose to approach with a reverent caution, not only to allow God’s perfect timing, but to allow myself and someone I may meet, to evolve to that place of being ready. And oh please, aren’t we all adults here and able to think outside the box? This is the 21st century folks. By now, have we not seen that the average age for marrying has shifted onto “much later in life” than ever before? And news flash, much of singleness can and is by choice and not because there is something wrong, or that we aren’t mature enough, or that we are secretly gay, or that we aren’t good enough, or whatever other thing is assumed about someone else who is not just like the others that want to head to the altar. Some of us have had some rip-roaring tough interaction with the opposite sex in our lives and marriage looks more like a noose around the neck, rather than a haven of partnership. Tough as that sounds, it’s true.
If anything, waiting for the right time and place to marry in our lives, even if much later, is a strong indication of wisdom, depth, and character about approaching carefully a decision that can shape the rest of a person’s life. If one happens to marry earlier and it’s successful, praise be to God, but, for those that have a mission before and outside of marriage for the time being or even for life, as well, praise be to Him. We can be the most mature people in the world, but marriage requires a much steeper demand on those that are feeling particularly drawn to it in the immediate realm. Two different callings, with two very different lists of what is required for both – so the lesson here, and please let it stick >>>> being single doesn’t mean something is broken, and that marriage is the fix.
Let’s not forget one other factor. Life is vastly different from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s and we surely can’t exclude the blended family life out there. Blending lives can be a major gift for some and yet a tough area forced upon others. That can and does influence us vastly as to decisions on even wanting to look at marriage as an option for ourselves due to the “what-if” factor. Realistically, what is woefully apparent here is that we teach that marriage is easy to get out of with an attorney with dissolving of a marriage, but in the spiritual realm, it truly is a tearing asunder and it changes the fabric of a person’s history to one they didn’t plan on encountering, especially when children are involved. Anymore, we allow an easy out and it’s not unusual for someone who has reached middle age to have been married and divorced more than once by the age of 40. So pardon me if some of us decide that it’s not necessarily the best option in the world for our every day-in and day-out of existence.
For me personally, having witnessed first hand or having seen the fall out of sixteen divorces in my immediate family, including that of my own parents, my enthusiasm for wedded bliss has been curtailed to a sobering reminder of the 50/50 statistic that marriages will survive. As I said before, I respect it, I’m just not sure it’s for me right now, or ever. Not everyone will respond such as I have, some will embrace marriage and have a successful and balanced experience with it, however, some have known the plague of the aftermath of the generational curse of divorce.
“Maybe you are afraid to get married – aren’t you lonely?”
One of the most critical and rare truths that we might completely forget and seem to look down on is that SOME of us are actually CALLED to singleness and are vastly fulfilled in that calling. Didn’t Paul pose this fact in I Corinthians that it is “good to remain even as I” – meaning single, and focused on God’s work and that it is indeed meant to imply that there are tremendous advantages to being untethered to another life. Look up the word “good” in the passage Paul wrote on the subject and you will be met with a deep definition in the Greek that will set the record straight – “good” καλόςkalós, kal-os’; of uncertain affinity; properly, beautiful, but chiefly (figuratively) good (literally or morally), i.e. valuable or virtuous (for appearance or use, and thus distinguished from G18, which is properly intrinsic):—X better, fair, good(-ly), honest, meet, well, worthy. (Blue Letter Bible). https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G2570&t=KJV
“Unwed” means time for the work of the Lord (aka: fun, travel, freedom, peace, etc), although marriage itself is also the work of the Lord, yes, more often we are busy trying to please an imperfect partner as opposed to being able to please a perfect God. This is exactly what Paul meant in the Word. Often times when I have given a relationship a spin, I have found it to be a complete distraction and almost invariably a means to an end for heartbreak I never wanted to invite into my world to begin with – I have learned a great deal from both bad and good relationships.
Recently in the news, Vice President Mike Pence was criticized for being so “extreme” in his conservative approach about honoring his wife. The man is remaining pure and true to his bride, and naturally, the media who is blatantly liberal, would make a mockery of such an incredible gesture of depth and wisdom. The current media has a habit of twisting something sacred into a sin. If I may take the liberty, fellow Christians, you also have a tendency to turn the call to singleness into something “extreme”, or wrong, as if it’s a sin or that we aren’t settled down or avoiding true bliss of holy matrimony. But some of us just don’t feel that marriage is a place of bliss … I see more work than I do harmony in most marriages. Let’s not twist God’s goodness and providence for another to look like a handicap when in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Chew on that for a bit.
“You are divorced. What happened you failure you?”
So much goes into the reason of divorce, and often we hear that one person wanted out while the other fought hard to keep it together. What if the single you are making remarks toward had indeed wanted to stay married? What if they are in anguish and feeling trampled on at the moment with being rejected? What good does it do to remind them of what they don’t have and have longed for?
I hate divorce, it has been a huge part of the fabric of my life with a dozen and 1/2 divorces in my immediate family, but just as much, I have seen some that never truly wanted a split have to face the fact … it’s over. It’s a sad day when a certificate of divorce is issued, and my advice to others, is to take some time to imagine what it would be like if their spouse decided to part ways against their will, or if even something extreme happened to tear them apart. Putting ourselves into the shoes of another with situations that are different from ours can help us use a little sympathy and consideration to keep quiet and not blame and point fingers. Also, even if you did survive a tough test and your marriage is in tact, not everyone may have the same fortitude to hold it together.
“You are a widow. Have you thought of dating someone else? You can love again – let’s set you up on a date.”
What if they are a widow, and it’s a wickedly raw time for them grieving the loss of someone not even wanting to entertain the thought of remarriage, yet, everyone around them is trying to push them into something new before they are ready? The word says to watch out for the orphans and the widows but it doesn’t say to get them a “hook up”. More widows are taken advantage of by financial predators than we can imagine.
Zechariah 7:10, “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother.'”
Screening well someone that comes into a widow’s life is very important and being a friend to speak truth BEFORE they get involved can help prevent a problem. Some remarry after widowhood and it’s lovely, but it should be approached with loving prayer and serious separation from one’s own perception of what they would want compared to what is best for the widow and widower.
Give people room, to not have to owe an explanation and to not have to prove anything with being in a relationship. My mother when she was first widowed was approached by someone who knew she had spent years caring for my step-father, and said “well now maybe you will have time to work your business.”
Wow – although this was not about dating, and instead, about a business situation instead, it hit my mother’s broken and raw heart, very hard. Needless to say, my respect for that question asker dropped a few notches – (long story) she knew better and let the greed of money rule her motive for asking above the voice of the Spirit that said “approach with caution”. Being widowed, for however long it takes to grieve, does not amount to having the zeal to get up and run a business, or work a new hobby, or date. Grieving carries with it a demand for just “being” and not having to go and do and more. Let them heal and please don’t make sweeping judgements in a place that can turn out to be an act that is completely absent-mindedly, insensitive.
“You don’t have children, you must feel empty and sad. You never gave your parents children, they must be grieving.”
If there has ever been one that is as stinging and wickedly demeaning, but not for reasons you might think, it’s been this type of ridiculous assumption that blatantly proves a lack of basic 101 manners. Maybe a man or woman was married and is single now and had a harrowing issue with infertility to the point they divorced. Maybe someone truly wanted children more than anything else, and they DO want marriage FIRST before babies, but God has not brought that into their lives yet. What if someone has had to survive and look back on an assault in their lives that yielded an unwanted pregnancy they elected to allow to come to full term and then gave up that little one for adoption? The list goes on and on of the what ifs. What a field of landmines we step onto when we make such strong judgements of others we know so very little about.
My advice to those that don’t understand – just don’t go there.
Remember Hannah in the Word who was in earnest pain over wanting a child and was constantly harassed by Peninnah over Hannah’s lack of ability to conceive. Hannah was far more holy than I would have been, as I probably would have knocked Peninnah backwards for her verbal heckling. Be careful about inflaming a wound … steer clear and don’t be a Peninnah … a source of greater pain and immature annoyance, for you might warrant a response you weren’t prepared to receive.
Then there are those of us that never were really given the basic DNA to desire children. Yes, it crosses our minds, and yes we have the makings of a mother’s heart, but it’s not something we feel we missed out on. I am abundantly aware of the work that goes into marriage and parenting, but often if one is called to other things, the Lord gives that one a very satisfying life that even viewing children as a part of, would be an impairment, rather than a necessary part of the picture. The desire has simply not been in the womb to want to procreate and I know for a fact that myriads share that same viewpoint. If one wants children, generally they are wired for that calling and want to live up to all the demands that are required for parenting.
Rarely do I share this and am careful for the sake of respect, but for the topic at hand someone else might be able to identify with my experience. One of my beloved family members gave me a look years ago, sneering about my proof of lack to provide a grandchild for my parents. Yes, I forgive, but truly, my respect dropped a hundred notches for them for their unwarranted and demeaning comment that nearly sliced me in half. God was about to usher an amazing season into my life after that, and had kept me to Himself for that very reason. I wouldn’t have skipped what the Lord was about to bless me with for that of a wedding ring, even if it were wrapped in Tiffany blue with a dazzling man to offer it to me on one knee with a Bentley as a getaway car. There will be time for that later, if it’s meant to be. The gift God gave for the time being, was and still is far superior to my being married.
“You are single, you must struggle financially and need a man to take care of you. Your knight in shining armor has yet to come along.”
Eyes rolling and a sigh. Let’s make something clear, it’s not that women don’t want or need men, it’s rather the fact we have more opportunities open to us to make money in this particular day and age than ever before, married or not, so finances really aren’t going to be so much a part of the decision to marry like they used to be. So many women from long ago jumped from home with their parents as caretakers into a home with a husband as a caretaker. Not that this is bad, it could have worked out great for many, but sometimes women got married, just to get married, to escape the home, and then ended up in very unhappy situations, even abusive ones, and with few learned skills in order to make it on their own if faced with that challenge later after divorce or being widowed. It’s a bitter pill to rely on someone else when it’s not God’s plan or His best.
Personally, I just cleared well over seven figures in my little company in revenue. No man did it, but God and God alone through my fingers, through ridiculously unmercifully hard work, and with the aid of incredibly talented souls I have hired to do it along with me. My clients are fabulous and I serve them with zeal and commitment, as a perfectly imperfect woman. I have much to be grateful for in this growth cycle, but not sure if marriage would have aided or hindered this amazing business experience for me and so many that benefited from it.
Most of the small start-up businesses in America, are founded, run and managed by … women. The majority of women outlive men, so at some point, they will be single again even if they marry. Statistics and data speak for themselves! Does it mean, we wouldn’t welcome some relief financially along with the blessing of companionship and someone to love at some point? Not at all, but the options for truly Godly men to marry any more, are pretty rare. Women have been forced to do what they have to in order to care for themselves, because we don’t teach our men to be strong but gentle men, and women to be strong but submissive ladies as much as we should. Chew on that one one awhile. Far too often, women have no choice to be strong – either single or as single parents, and men are threatened by that fact.
And can we please drop the knight in shining armor -life of paradise falsehood? People, that is the world of Barbie and Ken. Yes, I know there are some tremendous marriages out there, but we set our girls and boys up for a huge let down and unrealistic expectations teaching them to pin their hopes on a person alone, rather than that of the man Jesus Christ who never disappoints. Then when spouses disappoints, we bail out! No we should never settle, but again, we need to be careful about making someone fit the role of a saint that is just as capable of the same issues of failures and triumphs we ourselves have – no one is called to fix another person. Also along that line, let’s stop pressuring individuals we might set up, as if they need to walk out of their first date with an engagement ring and a wedding date set. It’s ridiculous and I personally avoid being “hooked up” on dates because of that type of pressure alone. The last time I did, I allowed myself to stay in a relationship far too long as to not disappoint everyone around me and it ended up being a very painful ending for he and I when we realized this was not the right match.
Having once been the people pleaser I was, yes it can really go that far – I was engaged as he was an excellent candidate for a husband, but we simply were not compatible over all. No one can choose for me what only God can with the perfect fit.
My hope is that your brief read through this will give you insight and open new understanding that marriage isn’t a fit for everyone just as singleness isn’t either. Let’s support each other, not put a label of inferiority on either situation, as we all have a calling to fulfill be it with a spouse on earth or THE heavenly Spouse that is perfect out of heaven. Pray and think before speaking … and … remember what “assume” spells …
Countless people have approached me and asked about “how to” steps for their ownideas and interests for starting and managing a successful business. As an entrepreneur for over 20 years, aiding others in, or spear-heading my own start-up businesses, ranging from one-of-a-kind creations all the way to service-oriented ventures on-line, I opened up my “portfolio of collected experiences” and found three vital steps that have carried me from the inception of a new business idea all the way through to the launch and continuum of growth in any new or growing venture.
Oh what we miss out on in blessings and what could have been prevented, if only we had participated in the language of prayer. One area of prayer is about timing, about when and even if it’s right to start and execute a new endeavor especially under the guidance of the Creator of the Universe. Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a “season fore verything” indicating that timing is a critical part of life and that there is a rhythm to the law of the harvest that intertwines with this truth. Knowing how your idea or product would fit into that rhythm is vital.The Lord may have an idea He has lent to you, but maybe it’s not until next fall that would be on point to get things rolling, maybe it’s tomorrow He wants you to start, or maybe your product idea could be a million dollar winner, but needs to be tweaked and placed into a specific niche market that could only be understood through the process of listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit of God. Proverbs 1:20-33 says that wisdom is “shouting in the streets” and whenever Scriptures says something in a dramatic fashion such as “shouting”, it’s best to understand that we need to be completely open and quiet and listening to God’s voice.
I think He has to shout because we are too busy talking and our minds too enthralled with plans, to slow down and hear Him. We can get so carried away by enthusiasm that we get ahead of the process, miss out on ingredients that make the final outcome a smashing success, skip inviting others in to help, and then spend time in bitterness and anger bewildered as to how we flopped and lost out on the investment of time and money, simply because we didn’t pray, didn’t listen, and didn’t plan accordingly for the right timing. If this has happened to you, learn from it, and get up on your feet and try again the right way.
2. Seek out a personal Elisha:
II Kings 4:1-7, tells us the true story of a desperate widow who sought counsel from the
well known prophet Elisha, as to how to prevent the creditor from taking her children as
slave laborers to pay off a sizable debt she owed. Elisha quickly pointed her in the
direction of what she already owned, a pot of oil, that became of value after she put it to
use via God’s hand. It was multiplied nearly over night and cleared her debt entirely, but
the point is, she needed to have someone point her in the way, and then she had to get
busy with that small pot of investment to get the maximum benefit it had to offer.
When I see a true story like that, it whips me to attention! The Lord loves to use people
to help other people as the mutual reward in any relationship, and seeking out
experienced counsel has a vastly rewarding dynamic we could miss if we didn’t reach
out and ask for help. Imagine if the widow kept trying to fix things on her own. There are
experienced gurus in business that would love to indulge in teaching us in the way that
they have learned and could prevent us from making collasol mistakes, not to mention,
as Elisha did the widow, teach us how to cut corners for a vast and faster profit. If we
skip this opportunity, not only do we miss out on gleaning methods of high return, but
we could also miss out on contacts and privileges in ways that we would otherwise not
be given simply through the connection itself. We don’t need to go in as a know-it-all,
and humbling ourselves to learn from a fellow willing entrepreneur dynamo could make
all the difference in the world.
3. Do your due diligence: This means do your home work fully before you embark.
Following after step two, one pivotal area I learned from, from one of my personal
Elisha’s in business has been the great Robert Kiyosaki #RichDad. This man has been
one of the single greatest influences in the marketing world to date. Having adhered to
his principles of laying down the proper ground work of due diligence before launching a
business, such as researching what is working in the market and how I could duplicate
that idea instead of reinventing the wheel with a new product, seeking out tax advisors
and setting up tax entities correctly, preparing for and planning for economic down
turns, and so much more, I am ecstatic to report that my business sales have soared
from the thousands in income, to well into seven figures collectively over a shorter time
span than I could have ever imagined. This wasn’t learned at home from my family, it
was learned through Robert while putting his teaching into action.
I highly recommend Kiyosaki’s books as part of your process of due diligence, ‘Rich
Dad Poor Dad’ and ‘Cash Flow Quadrant’, to gain life altering insight. I was enlightened
to information never heard of once I cracked open the cover of Kiyosaki’s work of
wisdom and further indulged in audio recordings of his talks with fellow gurus in his
sphere of influence that helped him along the way. What a learning curve to realize we
can go from clock punching employees to a business owners and investor viewing
money as a means to an end and not as a god that rules our lives because we don’t
have any. But what won me most about Kyosaki’s leadership was that he teaches
making the Lord your business partner and being faithful to tithe and give of our profit
where others can benefit. Having the Lord as a Business Partner, that is the best
alliance I can imagine.
When we involve our Lord God, the One Who owns it all anyway, and humble ourselves
as a student of others far more advanced than we are, then we will know when to
venture out at the right time, in the right place, having done our calculated risk
assessment through due diligence, and can invest our energy, time, talent, and
resources to make a business everything our Father meant it to be.
Stay tuned for my upcoming series of blogs that will teach the next steps of advice in
order to create a million dollar business.
For hourly individual or project consulting services – feel free to contact me directly:
Photograph by John Kucko Digital A recent windstorm in freezing temperatures swept across Webster, New York earlier this month, causing a house on Lake Ontario to become entirely encased in ice. The amazing sight was captured by John Kucko Digital who shared the photos and videos (embedded below) on Facebook. They have since gone…