Christian Growth

I seem to have come to a crossroads of my life. I feel very strongly I’ve been prepared all my life for this. But still I am very terrified to offend my God by making wrong choices and cause Him to grief. I am on the verge of taking on possibly a more leadership role (and a more public point) in my life. I am ready for it. How could I find the balance between working to please him and not be “polluted” by the world? My new role could be under pressure of inter-religious sensitivities, I may have to water down my religious bias but still serve a certain community with good works. Like with a subtly “hidden” agenda? It might mean I might never ever could reveal my identity with Jesus, except with my co workers. Could anyone of you precious people offer me any of His word as guidance and, possibly, comfort?

Torn.

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Hi Priscilla!

Hoo boy, can I relate to your dilemma. The Lord took me through various opportunities to learn and thrive - only to require me to leave each of them for His purpose. It was challenging to navigate, but I’m so so thankful for both the yeses and the [many] no’s in my life! Of course every story has multiple outcomes, and I’m certainly not commenting to sway you in any direction. I’m hopeful I can be of support and encouragement to you as you seek our Master’s will and purpose in your life beginning and continuing with this “crossroad”.

I apologize for the breadth of my reply; I sense it beneficial to provide some context with my own story. If you’d like to just get to the point, feel free to scroll to the bottom. :smiley:

My [Back]story:
I was a TV Host and journalist and at one time, I loved my work so much that I almost put it above anything else. The Lord used it to teach and develop skills in me, but then through a series of discipline (to correct my priorities) He directed me to leave it. I obeyed and He blessed!

Following that, I worked in Public Relations and became the Executive Director for a local non profit. The Lord had me to serve this term for almost exactly 1 year and then again it was His will for me to end. In that year I had an exciting opportunity to be introduced to a prominent congressman by someone he well respected, to be the PR Manager for his upcoming campaign. I marveled at the opportunities that would bring me, but in prayer I knew the Lord was telling me to pass and trust Him that He had something better. So I did.

Right before exiting the above, I was blessed with an opportunity to build a business online to help entrepreneurs create video marketing plans. It was perfect as I could work from home and was able to support my husband and give our children the attention they needed.

The business ( I had for 4 years) were going VERY well. I had connected the dots in my head that the Lord was going to bless my business and then use it to support the ministry I knew the Lord had for us. I had dedicated my business to Him, and sought Him at every juncture - from little to big decisions.

In 2018 I completed an exciting 3 day shoot with a new crew I hired, and I had significant leaders in the burgeoning entrepreneurial scene in my city on board to bring me clients for in-person video coaching and done-for-you video marketing. Finally I was going to reap the reward of my labor! Then in just 2 days, I developed a bad feeling.

Taking it to the Lord I felt as if yet again, He was telling me to go no further. I was crushed! Why would He bring me this far again, only to want me to stop again? When will I be able to finally complete all of the work I’ve been doing for a decade and taste the fruit of my sowing?
I felt as if all my work was reduced to rubble and I was sifting through the piles.

However, our Lord, always faithful, didn’t let me remain dejected. He affirmed and confirmed that the ministry that I was waiting to start (thinking after I get my business successful) was ready to begin the planning stages.

My Challenge with Being Open with my Faith

The most difficult part of transitioning into ministry for me was going public and telling all of my intellectual friends. I had been operating under what you call: “a subtly hidden agenda.”

I can’t say that working that way did much for my or anyone’s faith. While it did “keep the peace” often, it came off as condoning and kept me silent, internally wrestling to respond but I was afraid. For you it may be quite different, but for me - I said it was to work from within but I knew it was really because I was afraid and I didn’t want to seem foolish to the communities I was in.

God has a way of getting us through and growing us up in this area - He may have us there for a time but it will not last! It is very difficult to influence without becoming influenced and He has purpose and plans for His people that are so far past our meager plans for ourselves!

That was almost exactly a year ago and while I’d love to tell you that I’m a highly successful Director of a million-dollar grossing film, I’m still in the early stages of developing it. That’s exactly where God wants me to be and I love it. That took time.

Also, the Lord has since placed people in my life that have been arrested, beaten and persecuted for following of Jesus and I have been convicted of my cowardliness.

Through this, I’ve grown more comfortable with being the one in the room who is different - not by my own merit nor charisma or worldly success, but because I’m an ambassador of Christ - and everyone desperately needs Him!

There’s no peace like the peace I have moving onward, openly. His clarity in His will is my unshakable confidence. The greater the project becomes, the more the Lord reminds me that only He can do it and I boast in my inability to do it on my own. I used to worry how this project would unfold, but I was reminded: Isn’t that what we’re asking for when we say “thy will be done?”

To many, I’m sure I look indecisive. I know my old business contacts look at my plight and think, “what a shame - she was going so far.” I used to worry about that, now I say “let them marvel!” It’s a work in progress.

I’m hopeful that somewhere in my story you might relate to the conundrums I had. The fact that you bring up your fear of the Lord right after you state that you’ve been prepared for this may reveal an area you want to take to the Lord.

Lastly I encourage you that while the adversary loves to make us think we must decide immediately, the Lord’s timing is always perfect for His obeying children!

Questions for You:

I don’t claim to know your situation entirely nor where the Lord is leading you. However I invite you that as you continue to seek the Lord and His plan for you, consider:

1] Is this the Lord’s path for you? (If it isn’t I promise you He has a better path!)“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

2] Either way, why do you need to be subtle? Perhaps there are legitimate reasons you must be neutral, that’s understandable. Yet we also know it’s important to seek to please the one and only Lord of our lives, Who is worthy of everything we have and everything we are. We have to give an account so we want to be sure.

3] You state you’ve been prepared all your life for this. May you expand upon what “this” is?

4] You state also that you’re “ready for it”. Is this position what you’re ready for? If not, what is it exactly that you’re ready for?

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“Hoo boy!” jz like the way you said it, Jessica!!
Indeed I identity very much to many of the conundrums that you have gone through. Praise Him to the Highest for He himself promised He wont leave us abandoned and orphaned and we are to truly seek His answers for our lives (“His Kingdom come…”).

I shall keep those questions you gave candidly to me, in the back-burner of my mind. I’m most appreciative. Only the one who has gone through the myriad uncertainties and turmoils of life has the most scrutinizing questions to ask! Someone once said the cleverest of them all give the smartest answers. It is only the wise who ask the right and most apt questions! I say Amen to that.
I guess at the end of the day I have to ask myself, “Have I entrusted unto him all that I have prioritized for that day?” and to “TRUST” Him more than ever for the rest.
I am not quite a disciplined person. Neither in my work ( I am a dog portrait artist) nor in my time allocations (impassioned, I could work till 3 am) and being a skilled artisan, I look forward to recognition more than anything (not money, a large clientele per se), except in my love for Jesus and my desire to please Him in all I endeavor to invest in and work hard for. I wish to receive from Him these very words from His sweet face “Well done, good and faithful servant” that one fair day in the distance. I am right now learning more of discipline in my life and my work. Thanks to every one He has placed strategically into my life, like you, Jessica!
I shall keep your story graciously spoken into my heart. I shall also keep you in my prayer, that you too will receive that accolade from His very sweet face, spoken lovingly to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Thank you for your very timely and thoughtful reply.

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Great insight @mutts! …and thank you for your kind words.
A dog portrait artist sounds like the funnest profession ever!

I too consider myself to not naturally be inclined to discipline. A few years ago I began to grow weary of not completing things. Therefore, with the Lord’s help I learned to choose carefully what I pursue and commit to finish it in full. Great ideas if not fully executed, will remain only ideas! (I find that terrifying - don’t you? :see_no_evil:

Also a few other observations I’ve had:

  1. Asking God to shut doors is just as important (and perhaps more relieving) as asking Him to open them. I’m so thankful for closed doors as they bring clarity to the picture!

  2. I imagine that you like me, have hundreds of ideas at any given time! We need the Lord’s hand to keep us focused. Therefore daily (as often as I can remember) I ask the Lord to order my steps, but also order my thoughts that I may accomplish what He has for me in full.

  3. Some of us feel oppressed by systems and a lot of order. Yet we know that order is important (our God arranges all things to order!) and necessary to complete large tasks. A system can be anything we create to make ourselves more efficient. It’s okay if it doesn’t look like someone else’s system - as long as it gets you getting the job done.

  4. When we offer up every decision to Christ, He is faithful. He knows our desires, because He embedded them into our being. Jeremiah 29:11 is quite popular for this, but verses 12 and 13 are vital to the whole picture:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

*emphasis added

He knows who you are and has such big plans for you Pricilla! You can trust Him to fill that desire to “arrive” at the destination you know you’re headed.

I really get those feelings. Although I have much peace with where I’m going (and hellooooo) there’s so much to the puzzle I cannot see, He knows and that’s [finally] enough for me.

Prayers for you as you apply the great benefits of discipline and wait upon the Lord! May He show you who you are specifically in Christ, and more importantly, reveal more of His great Character to you along the way. :pray:

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Hi Priscilla,

Wow!! Thanks for sharing your current journey and dilemma. I did not go through similar dilemma as having to deal with “hidden agenda” and having to “water down my religious bias (or beliefs I should say)”. However, I have come across a few crossroads in recent years too; 1) to continue my career in a Christian charitable organisation despite changing culture and values; and 2) career opportunity in a secular, non-religious organisation.

The verse the Lord led me to in this season and journey is Ps 32:8 (ESV)

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

I am holding on to this promise that whichever decision I made and whichever path I take, as long as my eyes are fixed on the Lord, He will instruct and teach me in that path and will counsel me.

Pray that this verse will bless you as you make the decision in this crossroad that you are facing.

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Looks like God placed @JEturralde here with impeccable timing to respond to your struggles! I was so blessed by this thread. Wow! Praying for you @mutts :pray:t3::heart:

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I must echo @sig that God provided such timely encouragement and wisdom from @JEturralde! I have been equally blessed by this thread - time management, discipline and focus are all challenges for me! Priscilla, your job as a pet portrait artist sounds amazing!

May God grant you wisdom Priscilla (@mutts) as you discern His will going forward. I will be praying that He reveals Himself to you in a tangible way and that He grants you clarity and peace through the decision-making process!

Blessings!

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Maybe I should tell a little of my own (back) Story…like how Jessica puts her so aptly. This might shed more light on my frame of mind and heart…Jesus’ light.
Like I had mentioned I am a pet portrait artist with my own website and social media accounts that are bases that store my work.
Someone came into my life, believed very much in me and how I could become a better human firstly, and then an excellent professional. That was more than 10 years ago. This man and I have developed a strong fren-lationship uniquely based on that between a vested mentor and his protegee (me). Indeed the Lord had sent me an angel to help me navigate treacherous waters in the commercial arena.

He happens to have been a Catholic when he was a youngster in a Catholic mission school but when still underaged, his dad converted the whole family to become muslims in that muslim country where he hails from. He is relatively young in his creative profession, a well-respected public figure and leader in his expertise.

How we managed to get acquainted with each other is strange and uncommandeered by men except by our gracious Lord who arranges the channels of great rivers effortlessly…jz like the way he influences the very hearts of kings (paraphrased).

Ours is an odd and unique relationship. I tend to have quite an impulsive and indsiciplined mode of operation (tho I do know my Lord intimately and commune easily with him throughout the day) but he is well known for his strong discipline and principles in the light of his professional work and leads a reclusive life. He is also known for his secular philosophies and intellectual capabilities. I guess we struck off quite well mainly because he observes that I am different. In fact our very first conversation started (I still remember) by my asking him whether he knew Jesus Christ personally! I had kept our relationship on a clean even keel, thanks to the might of the Holy Spirit, and my running to my Jesus whenever I faced any “difficulties” with him. The Lord always has the upper hand…He’s so real!
My friend has changed subtly through the years. He can be very receptive when I quote from the Psalms the deep intimate knowledge our God has of him. Still the barrier hasnt been completely removed. I pray for him daily for his eventual returning to the side of our Lord.

He on t
he other hand gets deeply concerned when I miss a Sunday Service or if I overslept and become tardy for Church (due to my late night’s work). He makes sure I keep to firm schedulings of my days which had been something that had irked me immensely before but now thrive very much on the new discipline and admit to the greatly improved quality of my work.

One thing that I am greatly cautious about. With him being a muslim convert in a muslim nation, and being a public leader, no matter how respected he could be, he is constantly watched and so am I, his protege, even though I am not at all interested in getting involved in their infernal (pun intended) affairs. That accounts for the reason why we must be as innocent as doves and shrewd like serpents and for me to be “neutral”. With him being slowly resuscitated (and oftentimes, quite reluctantly) in the faith, I must have wisdom given to me by His Spirit and for me to ask on his behalf.

I mentioned I’m ready for what I have been prepared for all my life. That is “Recognition”, for my work. Wonderfully by His grace, I had been a child-prodigy in the arts, blessed by a gifted dad. who had believed in me and fully spurred me on with my gift.

I have re-examined my priorities lately. Thereagain, fame as how the world understands is not important to me, nor all it’s trappings and vain glory. My obedience is still the most important “service” I willingly offer to Him who so loved me. I shall always recieve that due recognition from His very hands, in His time, His ways and that will feel so awesome!

As for my dear younger friend, recently he has felt the brunt frontally for his company (he is a partner there) as well as every professional in his creative industry - the advent of AI and Machine Learning. Every such industry all over the civilized world had been profoundly impacted. For a talented person who once claimed he hated Mathematics, he has to learn from scratch strange profound theories involved in Algorithms, Pure Algebra and what nots. I deeply was convicted that the Lord was pruning him and it is a painful process. The world has indeed changed for everyone instantly!

We remain very supportive of each other but I tend to look around us with prudence and wisdom. He has come to rely on my “stronger” anchor on Him, trusting me with my gut - feelings which actually has been put there by the Holy Spirit. He is willing to heed my verses quoted from the Bible. In fact he holds them in higher esteem than my mere words or exhortations!

I dont really know what the future holds for him or me. This is a perilous world we live in and often times prudence is a much valued commodity than proclaiming out thoughts and impressions indiscriminately. I’m sure you all, Jessica, Sig, Tara and that nice gentleman (sorry my bad, cant recall your gracious name…) understand my concerns.

That doesnt mean I wont boast of Him any chance I’ve got.
In His time, in His way, according to His grace, compassion and mercy, Jesus Christ, our best-est friend in the world!