Saturday, March 11, 2006

Be all that you can be!

Since I last wrote, I have had a time of very intense lows, followed by my current state of...somewhere in the middle, climbing toward higher ground.

I have had a lot of disappointments where business is concerned, and have become incredibly frustrated. This is a difficult business to get established in, and having poor leadership only makes matters worse. However, after talking with a couple of my superiors regarding my concerns, I am feeling confident that the issues will be resolved.

I so much hate that so much of my life right now is dominated by the mundane world of business and numbers and money. I crave life and color. But, things are what they are, and I am learning to embrace where God has me at this time.

We just started studying the book "The Bondage Breaker" by Neil T. Anderson, and it has already given me a new perspective on my business.

He shared the illustration of a suit salesman who, while a Christian, demonstrated anything but Christ-like character in how he conducted his business. When a sale did not go as he hoped, he would become angry to the point that his non-Christian boss would have to pull him aside and tell him to calm down. The more he chased sales, the worse his sales record became, and the more damage done to his witness as a Christian.

Then, he took on a new perspective. He began working from the perspective of simply being the salesman God had called him to be, bearing the fruits of the Spirit in how he conducted his business. He found himself even talking men out of buying suits, because he realized it was not what they needed. Surprisingly, his sales figures increased dramatically, his boss noticed the change in his demeanor to the point that he even asked him if he was feeling alright, and as you might imagine, his witness was greatly improved.

As I listened to this illustration, some of the events of the past week took on a new look. I had an enrollment scheduled on Wednesday, and I was anticipating generating an income from that income I badly need. Well, that morning, the contact person for the account called me and said they were cancelling the appointment, and not rescheduling at this time, as nobody appeared interested in buying anything. I do not think I could have been more disappointed. A couple of hours later, I went into the account and attempted to find out what happened. The contact person said she wasn't sure why, but she was uncomfortable with adding benefits at this time. And so and so forth...the bottom line being that, at the end of the day, the enrollment didn't happen, I didn't make a dime, and I was incredibly frustrated, disappointed, and a little angry.

Since then, it has occurred to me...what if I just focus on being the agent God has called me to be, focusing on the person and not the dollar? What if I make being a vessel of God's love my focus, doing what I know is right in His eyes? Wouldn't it stand to reason that the rest will follow? Isn't that what God promises, when we seek first His kingdom?

This is all utterly contrary to everything I've been taught by my immediate supervisor. I have been asked to lie and ask others to lie for me in order to close deals, and I've not been willing to do that. It has cost me some business, and I have not generated nearly as much in sales volume or income as my supervisor would like. This conflict between doing what I know is right, and being asked to do things that I know are wrong, has been a source of tremendous stress for me.

I would never lie to build my business. That is not even an option. However, I have wondered how I am to build a book of business at all when there are so many out there who are willing to manipulate the facts in order to increase their income. I now know the answer...and have known it all along, but needed to hear it from another's mouth, I suppose. I am to be who God called me to be, and all other things will follow in His time.

God continues to send me "kisses from heaven". He continues to supply my most basic needs as I am working to build my business on His principles. I've been able to pay off my car, keep my phone connected, keep gas in the car, and so forth, because of His provision. He has sent me provision from some very unexpected resources, and it is for this reason that I am still convinced that He is blessing this path and I am not to waver from it.

Regarding the move to Petoskey, it is on hold indefinitely. I have concluded that the plan to move to Petoskey was perhaps a bit...over-zealous...on my part. Surely God would have made a way for the move to happen, if it had been His will. As it is, the doors that have been opened have stayed open, but with no way as of yet for me to go through them. I think I perhaps was looking for a change, and the church plant opportunity gave me a reason to look in that direction. That is not to say that such a move may not take place down the road, but I do feel there has been a chastening, in that I took something I desired and made it something that looked like God's will, when in fact it was not. However, we serve a gracious God who is in the business of forgiving and letting go, allowing us to learn along the way. He's good like that.

I think Christians tend to spiritualize things that are not spiritual in nature, but merely life happening. I think I did a lot of that in this Petoskey thing. I blame it on my Assemblies of God upbringing.... :)

I'm so glad to read you again! I've been praying down here. I like what you said about life happenings vs. spiritual happenings. Although I wouldn't venture to say where the line is drawn between the two.
So much of God's movement in our lives is seen in retrospect. I think we get disappointed when we assume their meaning and purpose and then things don't go as anticipated. But truly, I believe as children of God all of our lives' events are overseen and guided by Him. I have no doubt that the open door in Petoskey is for a purpose even now, if nothing more than to anchor your emotions with the security of a possibility for the future.
You're learning some powerful things. I'm very impressed with your integrity under pressure.
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