Take Ownership or Fool Yourself

Have you ever had a project or a goal that just didn’t seem to move forward? It could be because you haven’t given it attention, or it seems too difficult. Whether at work or in our personal life, we all have these moments.

The first time I felt this way was on my first engineering internship. During my mid-summer review, my manager at the time told me that I needed to take ownership of my biggest project. At first, I was insulted by the feedback. How could he say I wasn’t owning the project?

The more I thought about it, the more I could see that he was right. Unconsciously, it didn’t matter to me whether the project succeeded or failed. I felt it was too complicated for an intern and I couldn’t see an obvious solution – so I just took a casual approach to it. After he told me that I needed to take ownership, I could see that it was exactly what I had avoided.

If I didn’t “own” the project and it failed, my mind could believe that failure was outside of my control. What a sneaky trick. The truth was that if I didn’t OWN it, the project would never have a chance to be successful. When I got more serious about ownership, creativity and passion flowed around the project and I was able to find a solution in time.

I have applied this principle of ownership again and again. We can never be reminded too often about taking ownership. Former Navy Seal Commander, Jocko Willink, is a popular speaker on the topic of ownership. In his book, Extreme Ownership, he says, “Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”

Whether you lead people, projects or initiatives, you are a leader. If we don’t own what we need to, we will always have excuses that stand in the way of our creativity and success. We must take true responsibility for results if we want to see them. We can’t let excuses take the lead.

In the Bible, God prepared Queen Esther for a time when she would need to take a risk to accomplish what she needed to. She was uniquely positioned and God had prepared everything, but it was up to her to own what she had to do. Esther took the risk. She took ownership and God saved her nation.

God has a path planned for each of us. He has designed it. He is always guiding, shaping us, and preparing us. Remember, we must be faithful even in the little things if we want God to use us for the big things. Sometimes we understand every detail and other times it seems like we know nothing. We need to learn how to trust what God wants to do through what He brings to us.

So, what do you need to take ownership of? Results? A relationship? A tough project? A broken process? Whatever it is, make certain that you are not fooled into making the same mistake I did years ago. Take ownership.

Colossians 3:23 tells us to do everything with our whole heart and to do it for God and not for man. Big or small, what will you take ownership of today?

Focus On Process, Not Outcome

Most people have something about themselves they wish was different. We want to be more patient, more kind, more loving, less temperamental, less procrastinating, more productive, better time managers, and a long list of other ideals.

It is good to desire these changes, but it can be frustrating when we just can’t seem to reach our desired result. We often just try harder or look for a new technique to achieve these changes. But is that approach to change the right one?

I recently listened to a podcast that God used to reshape how I think about process. In the podcast, Graham Cooke said that “God loves to be with us in all the small actions of building us up. It’s the process that makes us rich, not the outcome.” I hadn’t realized how much I just thought about waiting for the outcome, rather than the process to get there.

This concept made me take a step back and see how much we need to value the process God desires to use. All the little things that come up can be used by God to shape who we are. They can be used to make us more like Him and into what He wants us to be.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the fruit of the Spirit. They are the FRUIT of the Spirit. Not the ROOT of the Spirit. They are the result, not the origin. What we need to do is focus on our relationship with God and trust Him to make the changes. These changes are made from the inside out, not the outside in.

If we really want our lives to produce fruit for God, the key is to carve out the time with Him. It’s part of the process. Whether you read, worship, reflect, journal, or whatever else you want to do, God will use whatever is in front of you to take you deeper with Him. Whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re trying to accomplish – God will use it. We need to stop thinking only about the result and we need to let God use the process He designed uniquely for each of us.

God doesn’t just want us to get everything done asap. Rather than thinking about how we are so far behind on what we planned to do, we should focus on our need to spend time with God. If you’re behind on that Bible reading plan, just start again and let God meet you where you are. While we need to become familiar with God’s Word, often times, we can get more out of reflecting on just one verse than we can from speed-reading through five chapters.

To be clear, I’m not saying that we have the freedom to be lazy. The key is to have a deeper experience with God, not just consume information. Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. He doesn’t expect fruit to just show up suddenly because we really want it to. Fruit comes through a process of spending time with God and letting Him shape us.

For a garden to flourish, it must be given regular attention. It needs to have water added and weeds removed. It’s the same with us in our walk with God. Focus on the process and enjoy the process. Let God use these things to facilitate growth with Him. Don’t just wait around for the outcome.

What process might God be using in your life today that He wants you to enjoy? Try taking a step back and realize that life is inside the process, not only in the future outcome.

One Resource With All the Answers

Do you have go-to person or resource for when you’re not sure what to do? Could you imagine if that resource had all the answers and knew all the outcomes before they arrived? What if using that resource also guaranteed that whatever you were going through would not be wasted?

As a follower of Jesus, we have exactly that kind of resource available to us today.

It is a wise approach to seek help for solutions to issues we face. To talk to people, seek advice, search online, learn more, get direction and to get information for making decisions. I do this practically every day. But there is another resource that we can not forget. It contains all the wisdom necessary to navigate life. That resource is God’s Word.

We must feed ourselves regularly on God’s Word. The benefits are both practical and supernatural. In the Bible, we see wisdom stated directly and we also see wisdom through how people handle situations together with God. Do you read your Bible with an eye to see this wisdom?

If not, I want to encourage you to do so. The Bible is much more practical than most people realize. It is not just a list of commands but a love story and the history of a nation. That love story is about how people were separated from God and how God came to earth to rescue and reconnect humankind to Himself. Jesus didn’t die for us just so we could follow rules and fend for ourselves. He wants to support and help us through everything. He wants us to rely on Him. He wants a relationship.

You must have a living ongoing relationship with God’s Word. After all, Jesus is the living Word. As we use the Bible, our senses are sharpened. There is a supernatural effect that takes place. The lens we see through and think through becomes more and more infused with God’s perspective.

I often spend time researching ideas for solving problems and getting input from others. But I then take it to God to see how to best go forward. Even though situations can be complicated, He will always simplify it for me and give me a clear next step. He will even set the situation up so I can take that next step. But I must give Him the time for Him to speak to me. God wants to do the same for you.

Knowledge is what we can get when we seek help for solutions – wherever we happen to look. Wisdom is what we get when we rightly apply that knowledge. God can give us both, but we need to come to Him to receive it.

We can often spend a lot of time mulling over decisions and possible actions in our mind. It can feel cloudy and complicated, like a glass of water with mixed with sand. But if we stop stirring the water and let the sand settle to the bottom, we will quickly see through the clear water. It is the same with our minds. Things can get complicated, but we need to let the dust settle so we can see clearly to move forward. When we come to God and learn to relax, our minds can settle so He can give us clear direction.

God speaks to us in many ways. He can speak to us through other people, through situations, through an impression we get and many other forms. But the primary way that God speaks to His people is through His Word. We learn to hear His voice specificly for us through spending time with Him and in His Word.

Pastor Bill Johnson once said, “In the natural you get hungry by not eating. In the spiritual you get hungry by eating.” This means that the more we pursue our relationship with God, the more we will want to do so. The more we know God, the more we will want to know Him. So, how hungry are you?

What is going on today that you can seek God for how to move forward? Bring it to Him and His Word and watch your hunger grow. He is the ONE with all the answers.

A Thriving Work Life Starts With a Relationship

There is one key relationship that must be in place for you to thrive in everything you were created to in your daily work. Just one that needs to be right. One that needs to be maintained and one that needs to be nurtured. This one relationship will enable you to thrive in your other relationships.

It is your relationship with Jesus. Without it, you will never become all that you were created to become. You will never experience all that you were created and designed to experience. Knowing Jesus is the fundamental starting point of a thriving spiritual life. Its the Gospel. The Good News.

But once we start the relationship, it must be cultivated. Just as you would spend time to get to know a new friend.

This is the one relationship that feeds everything else. It feeds everything. Without it, you are like a water fountain that was designed to bring refreshment, but without being hooked up to a water source, it cannot refresh anything or anyone.

Just like the water fountain, we must be plugged in to our source of refreshment. We must stay close to Jesus if we want to have the life we were created and designed to have. That is where our real spiritual life starts.

We often try to solve problems on our own and when we are at a point of desperation, we finally think to ask God to intervene. Have you been there? I know I have. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can involve Him at every step of the way, long before the point of desperation.

I like to compare it to standing in the ocean near the beach. We can get hit by waves and keep taking a beating, wondering when it will stop. Our daily work can often feel that way. But if we have a surfboard in the ocean, we can stay on top of the waves and enjoy whatever comes at us. We don’t have to control the waves to enjoy the ride – we just need to stay on the surfboard. Waves can hit us all day at work, but if we are close to God, we can ride on top of them. We don’t need to control everything at work – we just need to stay close to Jesus.

Staying close to God makes it much easier to stay above circumstances. To have our mentality remain unaffected by whats going on in the whirlwind around us. Of course it is reasonable that God would set it up this way – for us to stay close to Him as our source to have sustained peace and joy. But just knowing that truth alone won’t get us there. The ONE relationship will.

I can tell you all about my wife and how amazing she is and how great it is to know her. But me telling you about her is not the same as you actually meeting her and talking to her. It is the same with Jesus. You must know Jesus personally – you can’t just know about Jesus. He is the one relationship that must be right.

With that relationship in place and being cultivated continually, you are ready to thrive spiritually in your daily work and all other areas of life. I want to encourage you to spend some time reflecting on this ONE relationship. Do you already know Jesus? Would you like to be closer to Him?

Just take a step toward Him. You don’t need to hit a home run every day. Make a small commitment and keep it. One step closer. Soon you will be partnering with Him in your daily work in a whole new way.

Thriving Spiritual Life at Work

We were created to thrive spiritually in all areas of life. Not just at church, in our small groups or in our Bible studies. Should the biggest demand on your time help you thrive spiritually? I believe it should. Most likely, the biggest demand on your time is your work. Whether you work for a company or government, work at home, or you are an entrepreneur, you should have a thriving spiritual life through your work.

Somehow we find it so easy to separate our lives into spiritual and non-spiritual. More than likely most of us are unaware of the separation we have in our minds; perhaps we never even gave it a thought. But we don’t find this kind of separation in the Bible.

Everything is spiritual, so why don’t we treat everything as such? When we think about the idea that “everything is spiritual” obvious things come to mind like time with family, telling the truth, how we treat others, and perhaps even how we handle money. But what about that area we call work?

What if you came to the end of the day excited about the time you spent with God at work, tackling problems, developing relationships, dealing with difficulties, overcoming failure, and getting supernatural solutions? All while serving as a personal representative of the King of heaven to everyone around you. That’s the perspective we want to cultivate. The mindset we want to develop.

When Jesus entered the room, the odds for everyone in that room changed. People were desperate and hopeless, but when they saw Jesus, they were filled excitement. They simply knew that Jesus could solve the problem before them. Do we see Jesus that way?

It gets even better. If you know Jesus, you are filled with the same Holy Spirit. What does that mean? It means that when you walk into the room, the odds change. The odds change for everyone and every project in that room. The God of heaven who knows everyone’s heart has a direct line of communication with the people and the projects. The direct line is you.

That line is hot with power all the time, whether you are talking about Jesus and obviously ‘spiritual’ things, or talking about budgets and timelines. God can show Himself through you however He wants to. Why not – He used a donkey to  save the life of a prophet in Numbers 22:21-39.

The first step is to realize that God designed your work for you. God called you to it. God prepared it for you. Nothing that comes to you is arbitrary or takes God by surprise. Whether you are in your dream job or on your way to it. You must look to Him for meaning and purpose in it. All the time. Perhaps God wants to shape you through something? Perhaps He wants to shape others through your work? Or maybe He wants to display Himself through how you handle a difficult situation or relationship?

We must realize that our work is not about us. Our work is about God. It is for Him and His glory. God will not waste anything that comes to us at our work. Romans 8:28 is just as true in our daily work as it is in the hospital room or at church. “God will use all things for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purposes.”

So the question is, do you expect to have a thriving spiritual life at work? If not, its time to begin seeking one. This blog, along with the other resources that will be available will seek to help you do just that. To help you thrive spiritually in your work. To help you have a vibrant relationship with God that others will marvel at and want to know how to have the same.

Think about it. God doesn’t want to waste anything. Look to Him to help you move toward that thriving spiritual life we all want. Yes, even in our daily work.

Your Faith at Work – Join the Movement

Most people struggle to connect their faith to their daily work. It shouldn’t be that way. In reality, God cares deeply about our work. He not only cares about our work, but He is fully engaged in what we are doing. God even knows what is coming to us and how it will turn out. His plans include it.

Our work is not an arbitrary and random place we happen to find ourselves, even though sometimes it can feel that way. While there may be times when change is needed, one thing is for certain: our work is a place where God wants to meet us and partner with us.

Open your Bible and you don’t need to look far to see where God has partnered with His people. You will find that the partnership very often was surrounding things like business or daily work, not always related to church or Bible studies.

This may sound surprising, but take a step back. What about Daniel and honoring God instead of bowing to the king? Or Joseph when he interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream? Or David and Goliath? Do you recall these stories recorded in the Bible? Every one of them had something in common. Each person partnered with God right where they were. They had a relationship with God that allowed them to count on Him when they needed to. Wherever they were – it wasn’t only when they were in church or reading their Bible. It was when they found themselves in difficult situations with no way out.

In each of the stories, God was there. He knew what was coming. His followers trusted Him. God was fully engaged in what was going on in their lives. Is it the same for us today? Absolutely. God could not be more interested in our daily lives than He already is right now.

God wants us to share our daily work with Him. He wants to give us solutions to difficult problems, He wants to fix the impossible relationships, to meet the impossible timelines. He wants to give you a new idea that will give the breakthrough you have been waiting for. He even wants to give us the next innovation that will disrupt an industry.

All of this makes sense, right? The question is not whether you believe it. I’m sure you do. The question is whether you will live your daily life as though it is true. Will you expect God to move in your daily work? Will you ask Him to invade and take over the situation you are dealing with right now? Try it out. You will like the results.

I want to invite you to join the movement. The Your Faith at Work Movement. We won’t be misled anymore into believing that we aren’t doing “God’s work” if we don’t work for a church or a ministry organization. Just like God wanted to use people where they were in the Bible, He wants to use you right where you are today.

This movement will be a wild ride. We will see God show up and move like never before. We will see His supernatural solutions coming as we learn to rely on Him more throughout our day. As we learn to bring things to Him and to expect Him to move. So get excited and buckle up.

Welcome to Your Faith at Work.