Tuesday Inspiration 11.25.14

I have never felt so torn in my professional life. Last I wrote here on the blog I was going to take a leap of faith and accept a new job opportunity. However I was taken on an all new journey when I went to my boss to give my two-weeks notice and he matched the offer I was being given from the other company and promised me a promotion.

Here is the update I posted on my personal social media page earlier today:

Ultimately after Sunday’s sermon I have chosen to trust God and not rely on my own “vision” or what the world or my peers might think is the obvious choice. The sermon discussed two blind men in the Bible (Matthew 20) and how they called out to Jesus. They couldn’t see it was Him but they knew it was Him. And Jesus asked them “What do you want me to do for you?” and when they asked for sight He gave it to them. In much of the same way I feel like I am two people. I’m the employee at [Current Company] and the prospective employee of a corporate giant, [Prospective Company]. I don’t know which was better and could weigh the pros of both. I toiled a lot over this. I felt ashamed for signing an offer and possibly changing my mind. I felt worried about leaving a place I love for the unknown. I went back and forth and back and forth. And ultimately decided that I want to be the kind of person that makes the unpopular choice. That goes for the underdog. That goes with my heart and you all know how much I love the people I work with now. But of course part of you feels foolish at the same time for turning down a huge, rich, corporation. I was ready to make my decision and found out the Hiring Manager in HR was out of the office today. Rather than waste any more time, although it was not ideal, I decided to leave him a voice-mail and a corresponding e-mail. I pray that this ends any anxiety now that I’ve made a choice. Here is what I wrote and thank you all for your prayers and listening to my worries about this whole situation:

“I tried to call your office line in the hopes that you had an OOO number to reach you but unfortunately I think you are probably on your way somewhere for Thanksgiving.

I just wanted to keep you up to speed in the decision making process after my conversation with the CEO here at [Current Company]–which as you may recall—was when I called you on Friday. I’ve spent the past four days truly grueling over the conversation with him and my decision to accept the position at [Prospective Company] and feeling torn between the two. To be completely honest as I mentioned on Friday it was a very hard conversation to have with my CEO and I was 100% prepared to give my two-weeks notice and start with [Prospective Company]. The conversation ended up developing into one I was not expecting and we spent over two hours in his office discussing why he needed me to stay and his plans for me to better the company as a whole..

I just want to take the time from the bottom of my heart to thank you so much for offering me the position of [Prospective Position] at [Prospective Company]. It has been an absolute pleasure speaking with you, and [names withheld] and learning more about your company. It was undoubtedly an easy decision at the time to accept such a wonderful opportunity.

Unfortunately, after giving a great deal of thought to this over the weekend, I have decided that it is in my long-term best interest, as well as [Current Company]’s, to turn down your gracious job offer. I have recently decided to remain here at [Current Company] because I believe the CEO’s desire to elevate my position and incorporate me into a lot of the business development and decision-making processes will ultimately be a better fit long-term for my abilities and skill set. It was quite a shocking thing to be offered full-reign of particular developments and projects considering I have been here for such a short time, but rewarding at the same time to know how much faith they have in my work here. I have the utmost respect for their counter-offer and it has caused me to analyze and re-evaluate what kind of employee and leader I hope to be and ultimately their guidance in this new venture here at [Current Company] has confirmed my decision to stay.

I am so sorry for any inconvenience my decision may cause since you may have told other prospective interviewees that the position was filled and thus I was hoping to be able to speak to you this morning over the phone. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all the time you have invested in speaking with me, answering any questions, and listening to my situation once I met with my CEO on Friday.

I continue to be impressed with all of the new developments and industry recognition [Prospective Company] continually receives and particularly with the great work the team is planning to roll out with [confidential information] through [Current Company]. Ultimately it comes down to the tough decision to turn down your generous offer, for the equally generous offer from [Current Company] in desiring to keep me here.

I sincerely hope you go not feel any ill-will towards this decision I have made and that both our companies can continue to deliver great work through our partnership together.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

It’s scary to post this. It’s scary to think that this company could find my blog. All of these things are fears. All of these things are anxious thoughts. However I’m choosing to be bold. I’m choosing to believe in the wake of my fears that somehow this is still from God. That I can declare over my anxieties that God is bigger than any corporation. That no matter what decision I make or don’t make, God’s plan for my life will be fulfilled. The good news is..I can’t blow this. I can’t ruin my life. I can choose to refresh my spirit in knowing that His hand is still on me.

Have you ever had to make a tough decision? I’d love to hear in the comments. I pray that if you are facing a tough call today that you choose the option that will make you into the person you believe God wants you to be–even if it is an unpopular choice among your peers.

Found on quotediary.me

Have courage and be kind.

“I have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life has to offer: have courage and be kind.”

I saw this movie trailer today and it brought me unexpected encouragement. For those of you who keep up with my happenings on this blog you know that I was approached about a potential new job. I was filled with a combination of curiosity and guilt. Curiosity because it is a fantastic company with lots of potential to figure out what I really want to do with my career and guilty because I feel very loyal to my current employer and genuinely love all the people I work with.

Well all of this resolved yesterday when I received a call from the potential new employer and they offered me a substantial raise. I had prayed to God, God I only want this job if it is from you. You brought me to my current job and I love it here, but if my time is up–albeit sooner than I ever thought–make it clear to me. I want them to either choose someone else or offer me a significant raise. And much to my surprise they offered me the latter.

I still have to break the news to my boss during our weekly meetings together tomorrow and I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t very nervous to disappoint him but ultimately I believe this opportunity is too good to pass up and more importantly I believe it is from God. I didn’t look for it. It came to me. In the same way that this current job came to me. God’s ways are not mine, and part of being a Christian is learning to go when He says go, and being okay with being uncomfortable.

I actually found another WordPress Blogger who feels the same way:

“Those times when you feel so led and so scared at the same time….THOSE are the opportunities God wants you to pursue and not because you can handle them alone, but because you can handle them with Him.  And when you choose to obey God and go down those scary, unknown paths….it is then that He knows how much you truly trust Him” – http://michelletraudt.wordpress.com/tag/getting-uncomfortable/

In other words some people love singing the song “Oceans” by Hillsong but not all of them are comfortable in the deep end. I definitely don’t like it..figuratively and literally. But Jesus calls us out on the water into uncomfortable terrain:

Matthew 14 (MSG):

24-26 Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”

When He calls us out we can take courage in knowing it is Him calling out to us, and therefore we don’t need to be anxious in where we walk out to. If He called us we can go.

I also like Isaiah 51 (MSG) which begins:

1-3 “Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living
    and committed to seeking God.
Ponder the rock from which you were cut,
    the quarry from which you were dug.
Yes, ponder Abraham, your father,
    and Sarah, who bore you.
Think of it! One solitary man when I called him,
    but once I blessed him, he multiplied.
Likewise I, God, will comfort Zion,
    comfort all her mounds of ruins.
I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden,
    her moonscape into the garden of God,
A place filled with exuberance and laughter,
    thankful voices and melodic songs.

in other words I am one solitary woman. But God is calling me and blessing me and multiplying me. I used to loathe going to work before this current job. I have spent many days over the past five months here being transformed. I was in some ways beaten down and discouraged because of the verbal abuse and stress from my last job that in comparison this place was a cakewalk. It restored me to better health. And honestly, I would have been content to stay here for a long time, I was happy to no longer have to look for another job. To rest. But God is never done. He’s not content to leave us in any one condition for too long. My God, the God of the Universe and everything and everyone, He wants to transform everything including me. He wants to make what I see as dead into an Eden..into a paradise. He wants every place to be filled with “exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs”. 

While Disney gets it right to an extent by turning what is “dead” or poor or unnoticeable in Cinderella is what God already authored in my life and has been writing into every human heart since the beginning of time. Through taunts and tears and discouragement in my past my Father finally brought me to a green pasture. And being who he is, He’s not content to leave me there. He wants to bring me to the “castle” not because I need Him to, not because I asked Him to, but because He has the power and desire to.

Tuesday Inspiration 11.18.14

Isaiah 45:23 (MSG)

23 I promise in my own name: Every word out of my mouth does what it says. I never take back what I say. Everyone is going to end up kneeling before me.  Everyone is going to end up saying of me, ‘Yes! Salvation and strength are in God!’”

Numbers: 23:19 (MSG)

God is not man, one given to lies,
    and not a son of man changing his mind.
Does he speak and not do what he says?
    Does he promise and not come through?

There’s nothing more frustrating than when someone tells you something but acts another way. Or promises you something and doesn’t remember doing so. Fortunately God doesn’t work that way. I love the description that “every word that comes out of His mouth does what it says”. There are no loop-holes. God always comes through, God always keeps His word, and God does not change His mind.

Today we can be grateful that the God who rules everything is trustworthy.

Photo Credit: Found on spiritualinspiration.tumblr.com

Monday Inspiration 11.17.14

 

Isaiah 4:5-6  (MSG)

5-6 Then God will bring back the ancient pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and mark Mount Zion and everyone in it with his glorious presence, his immense, protective presence, shade from the burning sun and shelter from the driving rain.

Daniel 3 (MSG)

16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

19-23 Nebuchadnezzar, his face purple with anger, cut off Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace fired up seven times hotter than usual. He ordered some strong men from the army to tie them up, hands and feet, and throw them into the roaring furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound hand and foot, fully dressed from head to toe, were pitched into the roaring fire. Because the king was in such a hurry and the furnace was so hot, flames from the furnace killed the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it, while the fire raged around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

24 Suddenly King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm and said, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound hand and foot, into the fire?”

“That’s right, O king,” they said.

25 “But look!” he said. “I see four men, walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like a son of the gods.”

I’ve been in a good mood the past few days. I just feel extra happy. I feel God’s presence and every song I sing or play on my iPod from church fills me with joy. I feel closer and closer to God. I don’t know the book this quote is from but it struck me as interesting today. When you have that spark, when are filled with the fully formed fire of the Holy Spirit, that is when you are truly unstoppable. I believe the second you accept Christ as Savior you are filled instantly with the Holy Spirit but that doesn’t mean you have its full potential right away. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, but I definitely think there are periods in time where your spiritual furnace could use more fuel and times where you are at full roar. I was actually Googling this a moment ago (thanks Jesus) and found some information on the four stages of fires:

  • Incipient – This first stage begins when heat, oxygen and a fuel source combine and have a chemical reaction resulting in fire.  This is also known as “ignition” and is usually represented by a very small fire which often (and hopefully) goes out on its own, before the following stages are reached.  Recognizing a fire in this stage provides your best chance at suppression or escape.
  • Growth – The growth stage is where the structures fire load and oxygen are used as fuel for the fire. There are numerous factors affecting the growth stage including where the fire started, what combustibles are near it, ceiling height and the potential for “thermal layering”.  It is during this shortest of the 4 stages when a deadly “flashover” can occur; potentially trapping, injuring or killing firefighters.
  • Fully Developed – When the growth stage has reached its max and all combustible materials have been ignited, a fire is considered fully developed.  This is the hottest phase of a fire and the most dangerous for anybody trapped within.
  • Decay – Usually the longest stage of a fire, the decay stage is characterized a significant decrease in oxygen or fuel, putting an end to the fire.  Two common dangers during this stage are first – the existence of non-flaming combustibles, which can potentially start a new fire if not fully extinguished.  Second, there is the danger of a backdraft when oxygen is reintroduced to a volatile, confined space.

– See more at: http://journeytofirefighter.com/4-stages-of-a-fire/#sthash.akxEssjp.dpuf

I think this is actually really cool when thinking about our spiritual fire. When we first come to the knowledge of Christ and are in our beginning steps of accepting Him or getting to know Him, calling that phase “incipient” is perfect. A quick Google search will define this as “(of a person) developing into a specified type or role”. In other words we are in the process of heating up. We’re in a kind of a slow-cooker. We aren’t boiling hot yet, but we’re warming up to our spiritual transformation. We aren’t fully formed. I like to think about this as if my heart (where the Holy Spirit lives) is actually a living room with a fireplace. The Holy Spirit is at home..literally…and there is a few logs resting in the fireplace. By asking Jesus into your heart you allowed the Holy Spirit to start rubbing two sticks together. A small flame has begun to burn but if you want it to really sustain the flame you’ll need to feed the fire.

This brings you to the growth stage. Every time you read the Bible, you add more fuel to the fire. Every time you praise God with your breath, you add more oxygen to the fire. Every time you go to Church, you are encouraged and add more fuel to the fire. Even though this is the shortest stage according to this blog, it is also the most dangerous which makes sense. Either you keep moving forward or you loose that initial ignition that sparked your interest in God. The cool thing is there is something called a “flashover”. I think in spiritual terms this is being as a crossroads. You can take the easy way or the hard way. You can choose Jesus or you can turn back to your old life. You can lean into God more than you have ever before, or you can stay in your comfort zone. When flashover occurs, everything combustible erupts in fire and temperature reaches its maximum. It’s sink or swim. This is usually when people question their walk with God and think about if the journey is worth it. Or feel alone in their current struggle. Or feel overwhelmed and hopeless. You can choose the perspective of that you are trapped in this fire and can’t escape or you can choose the Daniel 3 option which is that you will be unharmed in the fire and that the protection of God is all around you.

The fully developed stage is fairly self-explanatory. You are at the peak of danger. The fire is at it’s hottest. Everything around you is up in flames. Similar to the growth stage you are in danger now. The gauge is fully turned up. There is no turning back.

Finally there is decay. You either have survived a fire with God and therefore have become stronger and more secure with Him because of it. Or you are dying out. You went the other way. You saw the smoke and sparks coming and ran off in the opposite direction. The good news is whether you survived the fire or ran from it, that in the decay there is a second chance. You are either ready for round 2, or you are willing to endure the fire for the first time, knowing there is more to be learned, more trust to be gained, more strength to be had.

I feel like even though I feel like I am on a fully developed high…there is always a possibility that life could tame the flames. It’s up to me whether I want to let the enemy extinguish it, or to let what seems to be dry spells flicker on, and not be worried because the Holy Spirit can keep me aflame. Things are not always as dead as they seem. God desires to always fill us with “His glorious presence”. We need to be confident no matter what our circumstances that this is always our portion. We are always able to be reignited through His word, His people, and His presence. And on top of that, people who are dying down in Church, or those of us who have yet to meet God are relying on our flame. They need a beacon of hope in the darkness. Jesus said in John 8 (ESV):

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

So be encouraged today. Whether you are riding a high or trying to keep your fire ablaze you always have access to His fire which will fuel you at whatever stage.

Friday Inspiration 11.14.14

 

Isaiah 56:6-8 MSG

“And as for the outsiders who now follow me,
    working for me, loving my name,
    and wanting to be my servants—
All who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it,
    holding fast to my covenant—
I’ll bring them to my holy mountain
    and give them joy in my house of prayer.
They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the ‘insiders,’
    to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar.
Oh yes, my house of worship
    will be known as a house of prayer for all people.”
The Decree of the Master, God himself,
    who gathers in the exiles of Israel:
“I will gather others also,
    gather them in with those already gathered.”

 

I respect this quote. So often people can hear the name Jesus and assume this means the judgement and wrath of God. The name of Jesus should conjure up freedom, love and acceptance. This verse in Isaiah shows us that God is a fan of the outsiders. He does not look upon them as humans can with disgust or judgement. He welcomes anyone who follows Him, who is fearlessly pursuing Him, He is all about restoration. He does not keep record of wrongs.

God longs to bring you close. To give you joy. To worship Him and to welcome you home..no matter what you have done. He wants to gather all the lost and bring them in with those who have already found Him. Like Jesus says in Matthew and Luke “How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” Isn’t that the Jesus, the God you should know? One who is feverishly trying to rescue, find, and protect His children but is not always accepted?

Today I am thankful for God. I am thankful for His Son. I am thankful that even when I pursued wrong things, Jesus was desperate to gather me back from the distances I had gone. I pray that no matter what you are facing that you stop running and let yourself be brought back into His loving protection. His acceptance. His grace and His love.

 

Photo credit: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/06/proust_cusack200806

Thursday Inspiration 11.13.14

Galatians 5 MSG:

23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

I love this reminder. So often it can be disappointing to see Christians behaving badly. What I mean is that, we’re not meant to police everyone and everything. There’s a difference between leading people to the light and pushing people into it. There’s a difference between shining the light to guide someone out of darkness and turning a flood light towards everyone and interrogating them with it. I don’t think Christianity was meant to be excessively judgmental and law-abiding. Granted everything we do as new creations in Christ should be a journey into becoming more like Him and behaving better. But I also think people fail to remember grace. Just because we’re saved now doesn’t mean we’re suddenly positioned high enough to look down on others. Or to abuse scripture or laws in order to beat people over the head with it. Or to justify our actions or prove our own righteousness.

I like the fact that the MSG translation talks about being saved as more than a head or a heart thing. God and salvation in general might make sense to you in your mind, and feel good in your heart..but these are still bodily reactions. Because our souls were saved and because that is a matter of our essence–our Spirit— we need to be all in when it comes to God and live it out as opposed to relying only on our feelings or thoughts. These things are fleshy. We need to avoid comparison as well. None of us are on a scale–this isn’t a competition. Each of us have our own lives to walk out–our own journeys with God–our own unique purpose. God knows how long certain sins or habits will take to overcome. Your colleague might not. Your pastor might not. Your bible study leader might not. I think it’s dangerous to rely on the opinions of others in equal measure to the authority of God. God’s word is always true—your human peers’  opinions are not. While I think it is valid to fruit-inspect and not just blindly believe everyone I also think people are going into each other’s orchards with a chain saw. You aren’t responsible for God’s authority and judgement. He is. As it says in the Bible:

Deuteronomy 32:35 MSG:

Don’t you realize that I have my shelves
        well stocked, locked behind iron doors?
    I’m in charge of vengeance and payback,
        just waiting for them to slip up;
    And the day of their doom is just around the corner,
        sudden and swift and sure.

Ultimately God is the judge. We’re called to be the light. We’re called to spread the good news. I’m not saying you can’t confront but we need to follow Jesus’s way which was to always protect people first, to always be gentle first, and then correct. It’s all in the approach and it’s all a matter of the heart. Are you reacting to someone our of pride? Out of disgust for someone’s actions? Out of judgement? Out of validating your own good works and salvation at the expense of someone else’s? You should always be acting out of love. Easier said than done in some cases—trust me—but it’s something to put as a high priority. Love your neighbor as yourself and love the Lord with all of your heart/soul/mind. Both of these involve being full of the Spirit and relationally sound. I encourage you to focus your attention on filling yourself with as much of God as possible. By being full of Him–You can’t be full of yourself. You are kept in humility and are able to therefore treat others with the same compassion Christ has had for you.

Photo Credit: http://bogdankipko.com/

Wednesday Inspiration 11.12.14

It’s been a long day. I feel like I haven’t had a full moment to myself. I’m finally getting a moment to write my daily post and I just wanted to say something simple. Yesterday I posted at 1:35 pm and I got a missed call regarding my interview at 1:39 pm. I think that’s kind of wild. Now I don’t know if that is a sign that I’m supposed to go after this position or not..but at least I am reminded that God is always responding to me. He is always listening.

1 John 5:14-15 MSG:

And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.

No matter what happens with this interview I know with 100% confidence that my God heard me, because He always hears me. I look forward to what He has to show me.

Photo Credit: Found on scoutmob.hardpin.com