GOD IS MY SUCCESS: Transforming Adversity Into Your Destiny
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Author Talk -- October 2005
From Introduction - Discovering the Perfect Partnership
"A few years ago, I was hired to coach a director of a large team in order to develop her leadership skills. Although her technical skills were beyond question, some of her leadership practices were causing dissent and difficulty within her team. Tragically, one week before our coaching process began, her husband died of a massive heart attack while they hiked together on vacation. So there we sat in her office. I was expected to coach her professionally while her personal and spiritual life was in complete chaos.
"Do you see the irony? Most of us do the same thing. While you might not be facing the same degree of tragedy, you're probably trying to isolate your professional life from your inner obstacles. We compartmentalize our lives into work, home, and spiritual categories. But is there a better way?
"I believe the integration of faith and work is more appropriately expanded into the integration of faith and life. We cannot be genuinely successful if God isn't integrated fully into who we are. In this difficult coaching assignment, I had to coach the entire person, not just her professional self. Rather than categorize our partnership with God into segments (such as work, home, and church), our partnership with Him applies to our entire lives. Many are "successful" at work and failures at home, while others struggle at work and succeed at home. Embracing your partnership with God will bring you success-wherever you are."
From Chapter 4 - Overcoming Lack of Confidence
Discovering the Courage to Fulfill God's Call
"Each year my family is invited to spend the Fourth of July weekend at my brother- and sister-in-law's cabin. It has become a tradition that the first night we make a fire and then barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs over the grill. What has also become a tradition is the way my brother-in-law, Steve, lights the fire. Always in a hurry to get dinner started after a long drive from the city, he quickly throws huge logs in the fire pit, douses them in gasoline and, as we stand back at a safe distance, tosses a match into the pit. I'm sure the residents of Battle Lake have come to expect the traditional mushroom cloud that billows over the lake as the official start to another Fourth of July! With singed eyebrows, the family sits down to a tasty dinner of charred burgers and hot dogs.
"It was July 2002. I woke up the morning after our arrival to a cold, gray, and damp day. It felt more like October than July. I grabbed my coffee and went down to sit by the lake. As I sat by the fire ring, I watched my seven-year-old niece, Kaitlin, tinker with the cold, wet ashes from the previous night's fire. She was stirring around, searching for any remaining coals to restart the fire. I gently told her that we would need to build a new fire because last night's fire was definitely out. I should know. At the end of the night, we had poured buckets of water to thoroughly douse the flame. If that hadn't done it, then the steady rain through the night surely had. Kaitlin politely listened to my years of fire-building expertise, and then quietly continued her search for burning coals.
"Like a detective at a crime scene, she meticulously rooted through the old ashes with a stick. I watched as she carefully turned over each wet log and stirred though the charred ashes. Miraculously, she spotted a tiny red coal on the underbelly of a small, very wet, very charred log. She got down on her hands and knees and started to resuscitate the tiny coal by gently blowing on it. Talk about the patience of Job! It seemed like she was blowing for a half hour! I thought she would pass out. But Kaitlin had a quiet, patient determination that was admirable. She found little twigs and placed them strategically next to the tiny, yet now glowing, coal. She then found an old cardboard box and folded it into a fan. When she got winded from blowing on the coals, she used the makeshift cardboard fan and waved it back and forth at the coal. When her arm got tired, she went back to blowing on it.
"Finally, a little flame emerged from the murky conglomeration of muddy ashes, wet logs, and slimy twigs. Over the next hour, Kaitlin nurtured this little flame until it grew into a roaring fire-a fire that would serve the entire family as our primary source of fun, warmth, and cooking for the rest of that cool, cloudy day. Kaitlin's quiet perseverance served us all.
"As I look back on my life, as well as on many of my business clients who struggle with confidence, I can respect how some challenges douse the gift of God that burns within us. For some, major defeats have washed out our plans like a cold bucket of water. For others, it has been a slow, tortuous drip of one discouragement after another. Over time, it becomes easy to forget that we have the power of God within us. We pray to God for courage, inspiration, and power, but we fail to recognize that we already have the gift! The gift of God is there, buried under our defeats, discouragements, self-imposed fears, doubts, and lack of confidence. The next step isn't God's-it's ours! We need to fan into flame the gift that God gave us: the power to conquer our obstacles, the love to serve Him and others, and the self-discipline to focus on the mission and not the obstacles.
"Kaitlin's experience provides a good example of how to re-kindle the Holy Spirit that perhaps has been doused by life's hardships over time. It's all about focus. Kaitlin was determined to find that spark hidden under the ashes. She believed in the unseen rather than the seen.
"Your direction in life often depends on the lens through which you see the world. You can focus on the ashes of your life-or you can search for the unseen, hidden spark that stirs you to overcome, like a phoenix rising from ashes.
- "She focused on the hidden spark, not on the ashes.
- "She anticipated its arrival. She had an attitude of expectancy. She wasn't swayed by logic or convenience. In spite of my rather eloquent pronouncement that the flame was dead and my suggestion to build a new one, she remained steadfast on her quest to find that hidden spark buried within the wet ashes.
- "Once she found the spark, she fanned it into a flame. She did the work. She worked hard at resuscitating the flame. She was patient. She nurtured it, fed it, and brought it back to life.
"Remember the Lord your God and His faithfulness. Fan into flame the gift of God that lies powerfully within you. Focus on God and allow His calling to transform every obstacle into an opportunity to display His greatness. Your Promised Land may be closer than you think!"
Excerpted from GOD IS MY SUCCESS: Transforming Adversity Into Your Destiny © Copyright 2017 by Larry Julian. Reprinted with permission by Warner Faith, an imprint of Time Warner Bookmark. All rights reserved.
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