I write this blog post through a whisper God gave me. It might sound like a rant but hey, I write from real experience. Bear in mind though, we all have our own story. Although our stories are as different as our thumbprints, each of us can ask God to be the author. We can trust in God in our own way. Let’s see whether you can relate to these simple guidelines.
There are lots of advice on how to overcome the fear of starting and running your own business. Remember the risk and uncertainties? In other words, we are scared of making money. Ironic right? And if you observe, the most common advise from any guru is to ask you to trust yourself. In contrast, in God, I am learning how not to trust myself.
Starting anything can be fearful. Including starting a new way to make some cash for yourself. Do you know that any hobbies part time or full time that brings money in for you, is a business? Although I am blessed with a profitable small trading enterprise now, I had the experience of managing a loss-making entity. I recalled the ecstasy in 2008 when we decided to form a joint venture bakery with our distributor. I was a Business Unit Manager then with a Christ-centered food company. Prior to building the JV, the top management held a prayer session. A director prayed that to let God’s Will to decide whether to open or close the door to the possibility of the JV entity. Nothing turned out right from the beginning.
Our partner started squabbling with us from the smallest of issues like the amount of petty cash to major decision making such as the way we should run the distribution. Our capital expenditure exceeded our original budget by at least 30 % due to our inexperience in building a plant cum distribution center in a new location. I was so naive then. The JV never broke even. Our partner that ran the new plant sold all their stake back to us after 3 years of loss-making. Now came the irony. The top management entrusted me with the responsibility to bring the business into the black. Boy, when they promoted me to General Manager, I knew trouble was looming. It was this time that God took me into His helm, from a Buddhist to a God-fearing man.
When God closed a door,don’t force it open.
I realize this from the jv experience. When the Director prayed to ask God to decide whether to open or close the door to the new business….we were just paying lip service. From the word go, nothing was smooth. There was never a time of peace from planning to running the startup. Let’s go through the list…
a. We could not decide on a location. Our partner insisted to use one of his few properties as the manufacturing plant. One was too small and the other one was in the middle of nowhere.
b. We could never find a suitable manager to manage the company. All new managers never stayed longer than 6 months.
c. Both parties cannot agree on anything.
At this stage, we should have gathered that God had spoken, and yet our ego forced through all these “obstacles” to start the company. Now when I pray for God to open or close a door of opportunity, I wait and obey.
Stop the worry when you want God to take over
I try to go a step further. Stop scheming and calculating. These actions are all signs of fear and worry.
Isaiah 52:12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your reward.
Matthew 6:31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Matthew 6:32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Try this simple prayer exercise. Pray for His Wisdom and Peace every morning when you wake up and thank Him every time before you call it a day. When there is a prolong nudging feeling to do something, do it. When you worry about somebody or certain issues, ask Him to take over these problems and keep them. Those problems are His after you surrendered to Him. Don’t take them back!
Trust Him to catch you when you take a leap of faith
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The biggest irony in the Bible happened when Moses lead the Israelis out of Egypt. The Jewish practically refused to acknowledge God’s graceful intervention despite numerous miracles like the traveling cloud and the fire pillars; manna the bread from heaven; water oozing out from rocks; the drying up of the Red Sea; the promised land of milk and honey and much more.
When I was alone managing a manufacturing plant, God was the only company I have. Ok, I was staying with my in-laws but none of them understood my feelings running a thankless entity. When I pondered about leaving the job, the story of the Exodus immediately ran in my mind. I was confused about whether God had wanted me to stay or otherwise. Anyway, while feeling dejected, the movie “Exodus: Gods and Kings” played right in front of me when I had lunch. And guess what? Right at the scene when Moses brought the Jews through the Red Sea! I quit three days later.
Work hard to enter His Rest
Look through the scripture. The only time God asks us to work hard is to enter His Rest.
Hebrew 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Now, look at those tootsie gurus on the internet. Do they ask you to rest? No, they ask you to hustle. “Be a hustler when you run a startup” or “You have to work 10 hours a day and please work on weekends”. You see all the same genre of advice everywhere in the market, both online or offline. Nobody asks you to relax except the Almighty God.
When God provides for you, He will give you joy in your work. Don’t ever dream of having no troubles when God is in charge. There are lots of challenges even when He is with us. The only difference between us and the unbelievers, God stands in front of us to face our challenges. And we stand on His Right Hand.
Not many people can accept what I wrote today but I stand by my name that all the above happened. Remember, the Bible is an operating manual on the Way to conquer life. When we live according to His Words, God’s wisdom and courage take charge. Even now, when the going gets tough, I let God gets me going. For when I am weak, He is strong. Amen.