So What If You Had The Guts To Let Go Of Fear?

Lessons Learned From a Career Crisis

learning

Although it was a dark rainy night in fall, in my mind everything was as clear as day.  That was back in 1994, a year into my first career in Montreal, Canada and I was having the most difficult, in fact the most traumatic experience of my life.  It was I who made the decision to change my life completely.  I migrated to a new country, started a new career and a new life, all on my own.  But on that dark night, the rubber hit the road and I had every good reason to be afraid.  However at the end of another dreadfully difficult day at the office, I was determined to stay the course.

I was struggling in a professional field that was not quite the right fit for me.  My colleagues were unhelpful in an unhappy work environment and it was affecting my performance.  I was in a foreign country with no close family, a very limited social circle and no professional network to help steer me towards other opportunities.  This had never happened to me in my life.  I always fit in, rose to every challenge and succeeded.  In spite of it all, deep down in my soul, I knew I had to keep going.  I wouldn’t “just quit.”

What was ironic was that I really was letting go.  I was letting go of the fear-driven “what ifs?” that had been scaring the living daylights out of me.  On that dark rainy night, I made the decision to change my inner dialogue by courageously answering my “what ifs?”  with “so whats!”

“What if this job doesn’t work out?” – “So what!  I will find a better job.”

“What if I can’t pay my bills?” – “So what! There’s my savings, unemployment insurance and… my parents.”

“What if people think I am a quitter?” – “So what! What people think about me won’t change the world.”

I was determined to allow the Universe to let this messy situation unfold and to make sense out of it.  I just knew that I would be okay.  Here’s what I learned –

  • We all know our truth. Being authentic can be difficult.

The fear and angst were rooted in my struggle to fit the bill of an educated, young, confident professional.  I was supposed to live up to everything I was taught – strive to achieve my goals, to never ever give up, be strong in the face of adversity.  The reality was that I wasn’t being authentic, even though I already knew my truth – I was not in the right professional field and my soul was dying.

Many people don’t live authentically.  We live in a world that describes what success ought to look like.  By staying in a job that was not right for me, I was keeping up professional appearances and what I thought were other people’s expectations.  It takes guts to step off the beaten path and take the road less traveled.  Not everyone will understand why, and they will tell you that you are making a mistake.  If you listen to your inner voice, you will find your truth – what’s right and meaningful for you.

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  • It’s not worth the effort to hang on because of the fear of losing what we think is valuable.

The job paid well and I could afford a very good material quality of life.  On the other hand, I was holding on to a job in which I wasn’t able to give of my best talents and gifts in a work environment that was wrong for me.  My soul was dying a slow, painful death.  If I quit, there was the real risk of financial hardship.

So it was decision time. I had to choose between fear and courage.  I chose courage.

It was the courage to see beyond the surface and to dig deeply within to find out I really wanted, what really mattered to me and what were the next steps I needed to take.  I knew that I had to leave that job and get on my own path.  And I did.  Once I had honestly confronted my fears I was ready to take a leap of faith. In the face of uncertainty and risk, I made some responsible decisions about how I was going to leave and move my career forward.  While introspection was the starting point in all of this, I actively sought help to support the process.  I was amazed at the number of people who were willing to offer good advice and who had “been there, done that” and could help me find the things I needed to get through this crisis.

courage

  •  Never let a crisis go to waste. There’s always something to learn.  Some good will emerge in the aftermath.

As it turned out, this personal and professional crisis not only taught me some important life lessons, but I gained some very useful work experience.  I eventually moved on to another company where I had a very satisfying and rewarding career in marketing.  I can safely say that much of what I learned in my previous job has given me the business acumen needed to make critical decisions, manage budgets effectively and lead with greater confidence.  All of this has taught me to never let a major crisis go to waste.

crisis

Throughout my career, these three lessons have guided me to make decisions that are right for me.  It’s all about finding my life’s purpose and living authentically.  The organizations where I have worked, their clients and the community have all benefited because I am offering my best self, serving passionately and using my talents to the fullest.

I do believe that we’re all in constant evolution and that it is through life’s events – whether times of crisis or calm – that we somehow find direction for our life’s journey.  It takes courage to confront the fears that compromise our well-being and prevent us from living authentically.  It’s well worth it.

Stay committed to God’s call. You will be shocked at what God can do through you.

In an earlier post, I provided some practical suggestions on how to discover your gifts and talents. Now, once you’ve discovered your gifts and you understand how God wants you to serve, it’s important to stay committed to God’s call. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks and obstacles. God offers great victory when you stay the course.

Let’s look at the example of Deborah. Deborah was a prophetess and Judge in Israel. She had a well-respected position and was the first woman Judge in Israel. She was judging Israel at a time when the people would do evil and fall away from serving the Lord, then God would judge them and deliver them into the hands of their enemies, then they would cry out and return to God and finally He would deliver them. Unfortunately, the lesson was never permanently learned and there was a cycle of evil, judgement, oppression, repentance and deliverance that was going on, over and over again for the people of Israel.

Within this cycle, Deborah ruled while Israel was under God’s judgment. Israel was under severe oppression for twenty years. She would sit under the palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. She was very well respected. The sons of Israel – men – lined up to receive her judgement. When she was told by God to fight the enemy, the Israelite warrior leader Barak said he wouldn’t go to war unless she, Deborah, a woman, went with him.

Now isn’t that funny! A man not wanting to fight unless a woman is with him! And just in case you think that Barak was a wimp, he was not! In Hebrews 11: 32 Barak is listed in the Hall of Fame of men of great faith. Well Deborah agreed to go to battle, but insists that all credit for winning the war should go to God and not to Barak.
What strikes me most about Deborah is that she was committed to do God’s will in the context of a sinful and oppressive situation. She was confident about God’s call and she was unwavering. She was very plain spoken and direct, honest, decisive and courageous. No waffling here and no shirking from God’s direction to go to war. She was not intimidated by men and she made it very clear that God, not man, was to be glorified when the battle was won!
The result of Deborah’s firm commitment to God’s call to be a judge was that the cycle of evil, judgement, oppression, repentance and deliverance was broken and that peace reigned in Israel for forty years!

If God calls you to lead – then you must lead, like Deborah, without compromise. It really doesn’t matter if you are soft-spoken and have a more gentle way of communicating than Deborah. What really matters is your willingness to have a firm, uncompromising commitment to God and like Deborah, be very decisive when judging between good and evil, relying fully and completely on God’s guidance, direction and resilient strength, giving Him full credit for the work that He accomplishes through you.  In this way, you will bring glory to God and accomplish His will on earth through you.

Practical ways to uncover your God-given gifts and talents

Acts 9:36 -42, gives an account of the death and raising to life of Dorcas, a faithful follower of Christ. She was a Christian. That’s the first thing we are told about Dorcas. It’s true that she did good deeds, including using her sewing talent to help other people. It’s noteworthy that we are told that she is a Christian first, not what she does, or what her career or actions are. There was great weeping in the community when Dorcas died, because of the admiration and affection they had developed for her. She was a humble and kind Christian woman.

Dorcas did good work making garments for other people. What about you? What good work can you do with the gifts and talents that God has given you?

  • Don’t spend a lot of time looking for your gift by comparing yourself with other talented people. If you aren’t quite sure what gifts and talents God wants you to use to serve Him and other people, you need to spend time in prayer with an open heart and open hands to Him, ready to serve. You could do spiritual gift inventories or ministry/servant passion profiles. I know that The Salvation Army encourages the use of these tools to help you as you seek to understand how God wants you to use your gifts.
  • Think about the interests you have. Consider the opportunities you have to serve – not only in the church, but in other places. Ask yourself and ask God to show you the unmet needs there are in your home, church, your job and community and if there is any possibility for you to serve Him in any of these places.

Here are some specific ways you can explore your talents and know what God wants you to do.

  • You can explore your talents by taking a course in a community centre near you. At the beginning of every year, most community centres send out announcements about courses and activities they’re offering. There are all sorts of activities – arts and crafts, music, sewing, gardening, cooking, sporting activities, book clubs, etc.
  • Check out opportunities to volunteer in your neighbourhood. Is there a hospital near you? Is there a seniors’ home or nursery, women’s shelter near you? At your workplace, do they offer opportunities to serve in the community? Volunteer. Very often training is provided to volunteers. You can work the reception desk, help with filing, serve in the kitchen, volunteer at events, visit patients, organize games for the kids… you name it!
  •  Have a chat with other people who are doing things you like, or would like to do. Learn from them. How are they using their talents? How did they discover and develop their talents? Don’t be shy. Many talented people like to encourage other people who are interested in their talent.
  • Having said that, I want to reassure you that once you step out in faith, God opens and closes doors in your life which lead you in the way He would have you go. Be sensitive to that leading and use the gifts and interests you already have to serve Him.
  • Spend time in prayer asking God to use you as well as other Christians around you to reach others for Him. You’ll be amazed at how many opportunities to share Christ will come as a result. Colossians 3:17 says, Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Women of faith, be like Dorcas in the Bible. Arise! Use Your gifts for Christ and bring glory to His Name.

First things first … know who you are before you know what you are to do!

Women are doers. We’re always doing things. We feel good about ourselves when we do for other people. We do things without questioning why and what we’ll get in return. We have a heavy schedule and routine that affects other people. If we don’t cook, the family doesn’t get fed. If we don’t go to the grocery store, the fridge is empty. Sounds familiar?  Speaking for myself, I love to tell people how many things I can do in a day – and how good it makes me feel when I get through everything.

Yes, I will have written several blog posts on the topics of uncovering our gifts and using the gifts in service to God.  I love to exhort you and encourage others, particularly women, to do great and mighty things for God. BUT, and this is a big but, before we think about what God wants us to do, we need to understand clearly who God wants us to be.

Without knowing ourselves and who God wants us to be, we live aimlessly, following traditions and social rules that really separate us from the blessings and enriched life experiences that God wants for us. It’s easy to follow a crowd that’s following God. People who follow a crowd that’s following God are probably doing the all the right things. They’re going to church, singing on the choir, helping out at the church dinner, going to Bible study. These are all good and right things to do. But what I want to do in my first session is to really help us all understand who God wants us to be, as women of faith.

Understanding who God wants us to be comes first before we understand what God wants us to do.

In his letter to the Colossians 1:9 – 10, Paul says:  For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, SO THAT you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, (NIV)

Paul made two points in these verses (i) each person needs to know God’s will for his/her life, so that (ii) he/she will live a life that is pleasing to God, a life that is fruitful and filled with good work.

Throughout Paul’s letter to the Colossian Christians, he emphasised that Jesus Christ is supreme and sufficient. He pointed out that knowing God – having a personal relationship with Him, leads to doing good work for the Lord. I want to drive home the point that before we think about what we want to do for God, we firstly need to understand who God wants us to be.

Understanding who God wants us to be requires us to:

  • Get rid of some false beliefs and ideas about women and their ‘place’ in the church and in the world.
    • God created women equal to men, capable of understanding His will, of developing their talents and serving effectively in all areas of ministry.
    • Women are not in the back row, we are to come forward to do God’s work, as we are directed by God to serve Him and the world.
  •  Understand what the Bible teaches about women.
    • The Bible exalts women. The Bible applauds and honours women as they take part in the home and in the society.
    • We are all beautiful – fearfully and wonderfully made by God
  • Accept ourselves as being created by God to do good things. Our strengths can become weaknesses and our weaknesses can become strengths.
    • Let no one downplay who you are or make you believe that something is radically wrong with your personality.
    • Your personality traits make you who you are so that you can do the good work that God intended you to do. On the other hand, your personality traits can become destructive and offend God and people.
    • Know the difference between personality traits and talents. Personality traits make you who God created you to be. Talents are the gifts that God has given you so you can serve Him.

I will expand on these points in subsequent posts.

Part 3 : Overcoming obstacles – The limitless potential of the child of God

This is the third in a series of blog posts on The Limitless Potential of the Child of God. In Part 2  I wrote about finding your purpose.   In this, the third and final part of the series, I speak about overcoming obstacles to the fulfilment of your purpose.

A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE ON FAILURE & SHORTCOMINGS

From my own life experience, there have been times when I have failed tests, made mistakes in my job and I have “fallen short of the glory of God.”  Nonetheless, I can safely say that whatever pain I may have experienced is miniscule in comparison to the spiritual growth, the material prosperity and the new, relevant skills and talents that I have either gained or developed in each situation.  All of this consistently paves th way for me to achieve consecutively higher levels of spiritual consciousness and to live more abundantly.  God has never and will never put me in a situation to make me feel like a failure of feel that I am anything other than who he created me to be.  Everything that happens to me heightens my awareness of God’s purpose for my life and propels me to achieve my highest good.  Paul states that “He (God) who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6)  So this clearly means that there is always room for improvement and the need for more lessons to be learned, and it also means that there is no limit to my God-given potential.

I want to encourage you to grow in the awareness that every life experience – success or failure, adversity or prosperity – is worth having as long as we can understand that through it we are being propelled to a higher level of spiritual awareness and achievement.  Nothing can be more precious than the knowledge of Christ and the limitless power which is available to those of us who abide in Him.  This truth led Paul to affirm that “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8).

MAKING IT HAPPEN

Do not be daunted by apparent failure.  Take what you have learnt from each experience and move on to bigger and better things.  Abandon right now any doubt or disbelief in yourself.  Reject every suspicion that you will always have doubts or that you have limited abilities that prevent you from fulfilling God’s purpose for you here on earth.  You are one with God and endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit.  You are never separate from God.  In Him, you live, move and have your being (Acts 17:28).  Through God’s grace and power, you have access to His limitless supply of power, prosperity and success that God wills for you to have.  As Peter puts it, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3).

Erase every negative thought of lack and limitation and integrate Paul’s words in your thoughts and speech “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).  This means that you can do all that God assigns you to do, not what you want to do that is not in God’s will.  So the statement that there is no limit to your God-given potential, is based on your understanding of God’s specific will and purpose for your life.

DILIGENCE

It is essential for us to realize that we have a duty to put our faith into action through diligent effort.  The diligent application of our talents, skills and abilities results in glory being given to God, and His blessings of spiritual and material prosperity.  In Proverbs 13:4,  we are told that ” He becomes poor who works with a slack and idle hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”  Diligent and ambitious thoughts and actions lead to prosperity.  Again in Proverbs 21: 5, we are told that “The thoughts of the [steadily] diligent tend only to plenteousness,…”  We must apply as much diligent effort to the pursuit of material things as we do to gaining spiritual understanding and building up our faith as “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].” (Hebrews 11:6).

It is a fact that those who work hard, achieve success, earn the respect of man and bring glory to God.

“Do you see a man diligent and skillful in his business? He will stand before kings;…”  (Proverbs 22:29)

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

Leave a comment.  Visit my website www.camilleisaacsmorell.com

Part 2: Find your purpose: The limitless potential of the child of God

FINDING OUR PURPOSE

This is the second part of a series of blog posts on The Limitless Potential of the Child of God.  In Part 1, I established that we have the divine nature of God and that with the mind of Christ, we can understand what our God-given purpose is on earth.  In Part 2, I will share my thoughts on how to find our purpose.

You will realize that you are not limited in your potential when you find and pursue your God-given purpose on this earth.  Generally speaking, most people find their purpose when they come to an understanding of the events in the past and the present.  Can you see a common thread of God’s direction in your life?  Are there skills which seem to be more intuitive and natural to you?  Is there something that you really love doing?  How has God brought you to love what you do?  Your purpose is usually the thing(s) that you love doing.

With an attitude of self-acceptance, you won’t first consider what others think you should be doing, rather the priority will be to do precisely what feels right for you.  Even if the negative, doubtful reactions of people seem to make sense to you, if you’re seeking God’s perfect will, you will know what is true and right for you.  God in you will empower you to stand firmly in your awareness of your purpose.  You will know that you possess the inherent ability to do what you were put here to do as you will be convinced that there is no limit to your God-given potential.  You will make your dreams – that is, what you are sure of in faith – a reality.  You will think clearly and calmly and act creatively and effectively to make the transformation of that which you see through the eyes of faith come forth in reality.  You cannot do it without faith in God and in the confidence He places in you to do it!

LIMITLESS POTENTIAL

Take courage and liberate yourself from the limiting visions of this physical world.  Connect with the Source of all creation and all power through your  faith. See with the eyes of faith.  Use the mind of Christ within you to gain a deeper understanding of your purpose here on earth and fulfill it.  Paul implores us to “not be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and the perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Begin rejecting any limiting thoughts that are undermining your faith or telling you that you cannot believe.  You will find that as you see yourself abiding in God, your self-esteem and confidence will never be shaken.  By God’s grace, you are who you are.  You are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26).  You are therefore a clear manifestation of God’s perfect and infinite love.  You are empowered to act lovingly and in all goodness to achieve the unlimited potential which God has placed in you.  With your awareness of this truth, you cannot have a negative image of yourself.  You cannot feel disrespected, denigrated nor rejected by anything or anyone.

Armed with this awareness and conviction, success comes naturally and you live a victorious life in Christ knowing that the Kingdom of God is here on earth for you.

In Part 3, I will speak about overcoming obstacles to the fulfilment of your purpose.

Leave a comment.  Visit my website www.camilleisaacsmorell.com

Part 1: The limitless potential of the child of God

I am burdened that far too many Christians believe that they are limited.  I firmly believe that there is no limit to our God given potential.  The Child of God is a miracle – an expression of God’s supernatural transforming power, embodying miracles waiting to happen – as God continues to manifest his His power and blessings in you and through you.

Limitation is a carnal concept.  When people tell you that you don’t have the ability to achieve and succeed, it is because they are relating to what they see with their natural eyes.  They are describing your abilities and limitations in relation to human limitations, which are very often observed in this physical world.

OUR DIVINE NATURE

Let us affirm that there is no limit to our God-given potential.  We feel limited when we do not see ourselves as being endowed with the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Spirit of God.  Remember that we are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).  I am not saying that we are little gods, or ‘Holy Spirit jr.’  But we, being made in the image and likeness of God, are made to reflect His glory.  We can therefore understand spiritual truths, we can know God’s perfect will for our lives and we can achieve material prosperity and love other people, regardless of what may have happened to us in this world.

In the parable of the vine and the branches (John 15: 5-11), Jesus Christ, the Son of God Himself speaks of dwelling in the believer’s life, enabling him/her to bring forth the fruit of spiritual understanding and material blessings provided that the believer is embedded / has a personal relationship with God.  Remember, that “in God, we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST

“We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).  The mind of Christ is characterised by the ability to mediate and understand the truths of God.  We are told in Psalm 1:2 that the mind of the righteous person delights in meditating on the law of the Lord – that is, all of the truths of God written in the Bible, including the ability of mankind to receive abundantly and limitlessly both spiritually and materially.  Also, remember the spiritually minded person takes a spiritual perspective on past life events (Deuteronomy 32: 7); understands the purpose of chastisement (Deuteronomy 8:5), attributes prosperity to the goodness of God (1 Samuel 12:24) and learns deep lessons from observing God’s creation (Matthew 6: 28 – 29).

With the mind of Christ, we can know what God’s perfect will for our lives is.  We can look back on our past, we can understand what is happening in the present and see God’s clear direction and understand what our purpose on this earth is.  On this basis, I firmly believe that if we have the mind of Christ, we are inspired by God to ask for the things that are in agreement with God’s perfect will for us.  We can visualize in faith whatever we desire to become, without any thought of human limitation and receive it in reality – God willing!  That said, God will enable us and therefore there is no limit to our God-given potential.

In Part 2, I will speak about finding our purpose and using our God-given potential to achieve it.

Leave a comment.  Visit my website www.camilleisaacsmorell.com