When my youngest son was preschool age and his older siblings were in elementary school, he ran everywhere he went with his head down, facing the ground, and his arms behind him. He ran as fast as he could, full-speed ahead, banging himself into everything in his way! He was CONSTANTLY running into doors, chairs, tables – you name it.
I laugh and say his name wasn’t Gregg, it was Gre-Gre-Gre-Gregg-GREGG!! People saw us coming from a mile away.
Ahh, PTA days. Taking him up to the school with me to be Room Mom for his sister was always quite an event.
I say that to say this, inspiration doesn’t come subtly, does it? Sometimes I find myself running as fast as I can with my head down and my arms behind me. Do you ever do that?
When you get an important idea, at least when I do, I want to run and make it happen right away. I can hardly wait to get to the next step. I realized last year that in the process of trying to manage a growing business, I had to create better systems if we were going to be successful.
Maybe you’re noticing things that could run smoother in your business, too. In my case, I knew that I had a choice – sure failure, or damage control. I didn’t like EITHER of those options. Option # 3 was to improve my systems. Right away. And that included service changes I couldn’t avoid.
It also included:
- Analysis of the most effective strategies for the businesses we currently serve, and of their competitors.
- Packaging those core strategies to accommodate customers of every size business.
- Rewriting several pages of copy outlining new services.
- Devising communication that would share the new services with customers on those programs.
- Developing a sequential method, in writing, for each task – we use Deskaway.com by the way – for project management.
- Connecting the dots with our current email campaigns and new campaigns for prospects.
- AND developing better reporting methods that would give us the data we needed to continue making the best choices for our clients.
I had a short period of time to implement these changes, and started to feel like my little boy used to run. (He’s not so little now!) I had to make changes that worked, and had to do it quickly to keep everything running smoothly. Well, that’s hard to do when you’re looking down. That’s the analogy I’ll use to describe NOT looking up for my answers. Oh, I prayed for guidance, and then I ran, ran, ran, ran as fast as I could to accomplish my goals.
I was getting tired. It was hard to do that on top of a regular days work and keep my clients happy. It seemed like they were constantly asking me questions that needed immediate attention. I thought to myself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and I kept my nose to the grindstone, again, looking down.
I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do it faster. I couldn’t understand why no one seemed to understand a word I said. I thought I was just facing obstacles I had to push through. I got so tired I wanted to cry. I told God I trusted Him. I thanked Jesus for providing for us and opening the doors I saw ahead. But that frustration kept coming up in my Spirit. I shook it off, and it came right back. I told myself this was what I had to do to be strong.
I got lost going to places I knew well. I found myself looking at people who talked to me and not really hearing them or understanding what they were saying. I just didn’t get it. After everything I’ve been through in life, how could THIS be a setback??
Then I heard T.D. Jakes talk about how God orders your steps. I always thank Him for that, but used to believe the Psalmist was talking about direction. I never understood what it truly meant until it was explained like this (consider the parallels):
He said that when you’re young, you run up the stairs all the time, often taking multiple steps at a time. Why? It’s how you get to the next level. You can do that for a long while, but as you get older, and more mature, you realize you’ll ruin your shoes or clothes or hurt yourself when you miss a step. Missing a step can be a costly mistake.
He went on to say that when you’re maturing and growing, you start to realize the value of the steps. That each one is necessary to get to the next level. It’s the only way you’ll get there wisely. You take each step, one at a time. And then he said that God is a God of order, of completeness. He directs each step, and it’s in our best interest to take them. We may see the next level very easily, but each step is carefully devised to teach us how to continue to climb. It takes complete reliance on His ordered steps to complete the journey He inspires you to dream about. He allows you to see the next level, and to know you can get there, but you have to take each step.
I sat there and thought about that for a long time, realizing what I had done, and just getting real with the Creator of the Universe about it. I had NOT looked up. I had prayed. I told Him I trusted Him, but in reality, I had trusted myself more. I hadn’t shut up and listened to His guidance as He was telling me it was all going to come together just fine.
I had become wrapped up in the ‘doing,’ when I’m mandated to be wrapped up in His arms – in His rest. That agitated spirit wasn’t from Him, He was telling me to release my faith and trust Him with every single aspect of this company and my life.
Did it all need to get done? Yes. Did it? Yes, it did. And I didn’t have a heart attack or get sick or lose my mind, either! Because I finally stopped long enough to listen. I had to still my mind. In those still moments He showed me the costly mistakes I was about to make both in time and money. “Let go and be still and know that I am God,” rose up in my Spirit.
No, I didn’t do it perfectly. I still had some kinks to work out, and He still held my hand and walked me through it all. Only then I could sense His presence, His peace. I have great peace knowing my steps are ‘ordered’ by God. He knows exactly what steps I need to take to become the woman He has planned for me to be. He has a very precise plan for your life, too. Are you living it?
We’re gonna have to go through some stuff in this life, and we’re not gonna like it all. But when I stop my own thoughts long enough to hear from Him, I can be truly joyful knowing that His plans for me are good, no matter what circumstances look like. He doesn’t use me to build a business, He uses the business to make me. I’m totally OK with that. He’ll only make me better.
Doing it His way means I get to enjoy my family, neighbors, loved ones, and mentors along the way. It releases my white-knuckle grip off of details that He’s delighted to show me how to complete. In that breathing space, that secret place of The Most High, ideas are unleashed and answers flow easily into your processes.
I hope this encourages you today. We’re told to fear only one thing, that we fail to enter His rest. (Hebrews) When you find yourself in knots, ask yourself if you’re really listening. His peace will guide you in business, and fire you up with the Power and insight to do it in light of a GREAT GOD who thinks REAL BIG and loves you immensely.
Seek peace, my friends, and take the steps necessary to grow your business right.