Christian Life

“You can’t do it!”

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Has anyone ever told you that “you can’t do it”? Has anyone ever doubted your abilities, skills or intelligence? You are hurt. You are angry. You begin to doubt your abilities or skills.

Stop! That is exactly what the enemy (Satan) wants. He wants to paralyze you with doubt and fear. He wants to stop or stall God’s plan for your life and he will use others to spew his hatred and venom to do just that.  John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” This is a spiritual battle, not one of the flesh (Ephesians 6:12). Yes, it is normal that we will get upset at others for spewing venom. However, we need to recognize where it’s coming from- the enemy.

In my life, I have come across many naysayers- family, “friends”, acquaintances and colleagues. Back in the day, I truly cared because I thought their opinions mattered. The only opinion that matters is God’s. He is the one who is going to judge you, not man (Eccl. 12:14). There is no denying that negative criticism hurts and even paralyzes us (it’s happened to me!) to the point where we don’t move forward with our plans in business or ministry, to name a few.

On a positive note, God sees in you what others cannot see. You are special and there is a special task for you in His plan. He believes that you can do it.  Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  This scripture tells us that God thinks differently than we, humans, do. He sees in you what others don’t. He sees your potential, your talents, your skills and the best part of all- you will use it all for His honor and Glory. Where it truly counts!

“Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” Matthew 20:15

Sadly, individuals think that the power they have via money, status, and  position or title is important. None of that matters in God’s eyes (Phil. 1:9-11). What truly matters is what’s in your heart, your obedience to God, your relationship with God and your love for others. Nothing in this world will last (1 Cor. 7:21) and it doesn’t fill you the way God’s love does.

You may be wondering, “How should I deal with these people and/or this situation?”

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Pray for your naysayers (Matthew 5:44):  This is the best thing that you can do. Prayer works wonders! God listens. He cares. And He will take care of you and your situation. He will heal your heart and mind.
  • Let go and let God: Forgive and forget (not easy, but necessary for healing!). God  will humble your enemies before you (Mk. 12:36).
  • Be confident in your ability: God gave you talents (Rom. 12:6-8). Why would God give you those gifts if He didn’t believe in you? Hone these skills and use them for His honor and Glory. Where it really counts! 
  • Don’t be discouraged: Do not allow naysayers to stop you from living that life that God has planned for you, whether in business or ministry. And never stop honing those skills. Keep moving forward. God is with you and He will never leave you (Deut. 31:8).
  • Lean on Jesus: He is your rock and where you will find strength (Phil. 4:13). Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Believe in your ability! I am using the talents that the Lord gave me  to move God’s plan forward. Don’t allow anyone to ever tell you that “you can’t!”

God bless you and yours,

Ivette

Christian Life

What I learned about business planning, failure and letting go…

” by Stuart Miles

Nothing ever turns out the way you plan it. You hear some people say, “If you are confident and you believe in yourself, then everything will work out.” That is great; however, we have no control over external circumstances (market, financial collapse, unexpected family events etc.) that may delay or derail our plans. You can plan and plan, but if it isn’t meant to be, it won’t be.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

As an entrepreneur, you have a vision, a plan, and you work tirelessly toward your goals. You make it happen! In some cases (like in mine), it doesn’t always work out the way you envisioned. You are taught to revisit plans and tweak them; to continue tweaking until something works. But there comes a time when tweaking doesn’t work anymore. That is what happened to me!

I had a vision, goals, and a business plan, and then life happened.

Esperanza Publishing is the name of my, now defunct, start-up. Unfortunately, this business idea/plan didn’t work out for personal reasons. As hard as I tried to make it work, it didn’t. It wasn’t the right time (for me and my family).

Let’s look at the bright spots! Not all is lost. I gained new skills, met new people, learned what not to do the next time around (God willing, there will be a next time!), and learned a few things about myself. This is important- with every failure comes a lesson learned. At least, that is the hope, right?

This is what I learned from my experience:

Jump in when you are ready– You don’t have to be 100% ready to jump into “shark-infested waters”; however, go in knowing that your plan will not go as planned. Be comfortable tweaking your plans, daily.

You hear stories of entrepreneurs who just jump in and get things going and are successful. And you think, “I can do that too!” What may work for some, may not necessarily work for others. Do what works for you and your business!

Passion is key- Make sure that your passion overflows into major aspects of your business. I am passionate about spreading the Word of the Lord and I like to write.

Are you  okay “living, breathing, eating and sleeping” your business? If you aren’t, then think long and hard whether or not that is the direction you want to go in.

Be prepared financially– Have a sound financial plan. Make sure that you have saved enough start-up capital, especially if you are in an industry that isn’t high-growth (publishing).

I didn’t save enough! I wanted to jump in right away and get started.

Unfortunately, with student loan debt (who doesn’t have those?!) I knew that I couldn’t afford to borrow money for my start-up. How was I supposed to pay it back while I got the business going?

Meet with a financial planner, if you need to.

Is this too risky?- Know how much and what you are willing to risk. That means different things to different people. The most common being financial risk; among others, valuable family time, exposing yourself by taking on a new task (Am I doing this right? Are they bad-mouthing me?), or shutting down a business (I am a failure! I am the talk of the town).

Do what is best for you, your finances and your family. It is not a one-size-fits-all situation!

Know when to let go- We can’t ignore the fact that not everyone is willing or able to risk everything that they have for a business. One

lesson I learned from one of my aunts- she knew when she had to let go. She didn’t sulk or continue to sink money into a business that wasn’t producing.

This is important. Learn to let go. It is okay to grieve for this loss. It is a loss that is important to you.  Take your time to grieve.

Ultimately, I made the right choice  for me and my family, at this time. I thought about my decision long and hard  and mourned for months. Perhaps, the reason why I felt relief when I made it official (filing appropriate paperwork with the state).

Believe it or not, life goes on and you will be just fine. You will come out stronger! I decided to continue blogging about life and my passion- Jesus. I learned to lean on Him more.

Life happens and I am okay with it (now!).

 

God bless you and yours,

Ivette

 

 

Faith

Keep your word

“Image courtesy of Frame Angel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Keeping your word is important. How do you expect to build credibility if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do?

We hear about broken promises every day. It’s disheartening, disappointing, frustrating, infuriating, and you are left with many unanswered questions. For example, you question whether or not you are worthy of someone’s attention, does your parent love you or are you good enough for that job, among others.

It is only natural to go through various emotions. Understandably, you will be angry, sad, and question what you did wrong. Some people decide to “get even” and others shrug it off like it doesn’t matter. The way you feel does matter and you should address this disappointment.

However, aim to address your disappointment in a healthy manner. What good is it to keep it bottled up inside? Seek revenge?  Have anger toward someone? Take this as a learning opportunity and move on.

How should we handle a broken promise?

It is okay to be angry, but as Ephesians 4:26 states, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Don’t condemn yourself because someone hurt you. Pray that you will be able to forgive the person who hurt you. Forgive and forget.

I know, you are saying, ” I will forgive but I will never forget what that person did to me.” I thought that way for a long time, but when you ask God for forgiveness and receive it (1 John 1:9 ),  He no longer remembers our sins.  Why can’t we do the same?

Treat that person as if nothing ever happened. Remember,  John 13:34-35 commands us to “..love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” It’s not easy, but forgiveness helps you heal and move forward. Trust me! I have been there many times.

Some individuals allow anger to control them and they seek  revenge. In Leviticus 19:18, we are instructed not to seek revenge: Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. God will take care of your situation. (Psalm 37:17; Phillipians 4:19) Perhaps, not right away and not how we imagined, but be comforted that He will take care of you.

Others decide to bad-mouth the person or an organization. Let it be. God will take care of you and the situation. He is God. Gossip will only add fuel to the fire. (Proverbs 25:3)   Let it go. 

What does the Bible say about keeping your word?

But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” Matthew 5:37

James 5:12 says, “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

In biblical times, all you had was your word.Sadly, not many people honor verbal commitments anymore. We have pre-nups and contracts. There is no trust.

But not all is lost; let change begin with you. You can make the difference.

 “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Ghandi

 

God bless you and yours,

Ivette

 

 

 

 

Christian Life

Healthy body, healthy mind….

Image courtesy of Suat Iman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over the summer months, I formed part of a study group (at church) that focused on “The Daniel Plan”. It made me think about the manner in which I cared for my body and learned that everything we eat affects our mood, mind and body, eventually affecting our every-day-life and the ability to serve our Lord. One of the scriptures that caught my attention is found in 1 Corinthians 6:20, “Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” In my mind, this scripture referred to being sexually pure. It never dawned on me that in order to serve Him, we should also watch what we eat.

Why should we care for our bodies? 1 Corinthians 6:19 says,  “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit takes residence in our body (Temple), we no longer belong to ourselves, we belong to God.We should seek to honor God in everything, including our bodies; “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all of the glory of God.”  (1 Corinthians 10:31)

As I meditated on these scriptures, it all became clear to me. I should honor God by eating well. I need to be healthy physically, in mind and spirit to be able to serve Him, my family, and partake in daily activities. How will I have the energy to serve the Lord if I am feeling sluggish, stressed and spiritually weak? How can I ask my family to eat healthier, if I don’t?
Continue reading “Healthy body, healthy mind….”

Christian Life

Guilty as Charged!

 

Something that I am guilty of doing is running to individuals and seeking their advice on various matters.  Whether the advice is on raising a child, running a business, or relationships,  I go to everyone, but God. Why is it that we tend to run to others and not to the One who has all the answers?

After listening to my Pastor preach, I meditated on the message and thought, “Why do I do this? Why is He the last being that I run to for advice?”

Below are my reasons for doing so:

Living in a world of experts
If you’re like me, every time I need an answer to “x”, I run to Google or reach out to an expert. Not saying that it is a bad thing, but should it be the first thing that we do when seeking advice?

No one knows us better than God does. No one has the patience or knowledge that He has. As I think about this, Jeremiah 29:11 comes to mind: ” For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

What a beautiful promise! He loves us, wants us to prosper, and knows what is good for us.

My learning #1: Run to God first. 

Time-sensitivity
Society values instant results- fast food, iTunes (quick downloads), etc. Talking to someone, in- person, yields a quick response to questions or the advice we seek. However, we don’t want to wait on God to respond. We don’t want to give Him time to reveal His decision based on His plans for us.

Psalm 62:5 urges us to wait on Him, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” He will answer; just not on our time, but His.

Waiting is hard! It has been about 10 years that I have waited for the Lord to provide direction on how I will serve Him and what career path to focus on. It has been a long wait, but now I understand His reasoning for the wait.

We are taught that time is money and we need to move quickly before those opportunities cease to exist (for us). Again, it is hard to wait on the Lord because we need to make decisions right away. I find comfort in Isaiah 40:31,  “ But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” As we (learn to) wait, our strength will be renewed, we will continue to prepare and we will prosper when the time is right.

My learning #2: It happens on His time, not mine. He knows the preparation I need.

Not what we want to hear (from God)
Our dreams blind us to reality. We are so passionate and in love with what we desire for our careers that when God says “no” (I am not talking about “not, yet”!), we don’t want to accept it. It isn’t easy to leave that “life-long” dream behind.

My first career choice was to become a pop singer (secular) and when I learned that it wasn’t in His plans for my life, I was upset. However, as I got wiser (in the Word), I understood why He didn’t want that for me. I am where I need to be right now. (Not saying that I will not sing for Him- I am! Just not the way I imagined.)

In the book of James 1:19, the author makes the following recommendation: “ Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” This is not easy to do either. We pray and wait for an answer. If the answer doesn’t meet our expectations, we don’t listen and continue to do what we want.

My learning #3: Listen to God. He is all-knowing and knows you better than anyone else. He wants you to succeed.

It isn’t an easy road for any of us. There are many times when I make  decisions without praying and I find that things become difficult. Can’t help but wonder, if I prayed, would it be this difficult? Who knows? Right now, I find comfort in knowing that God is in my driver’s seat.

Can you identify with any of my reasons? Why or why not?

Blessings to you and yours,

Ivette

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