Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Being A Change Champion

Years ago when God was quietly and patiently calling me into ministry, my employer at the time required me to begin leading training sessions all over the Southeast, teaching employees about improved work performance, customer service, and other business-related topics. What I didnt realize at the time was that God was equipping me through that responsibility to gain speaking experience and a comfort level in front of large groups. Even though I was clueless, He knew what He had in store for me. Isnt it cool when we can look back and see what God was doing!

After deciding to leave my corporate position three and a half years ago, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work as a contract Corporate Trainer.

I love doing training for business groups, and motivating them in all areas of their life, not just work performance. Although I am obviously not allowed to interject my personal beliefs into the sessions (which is very hard to hold back at times!), I can still relay Gods truths in more subtle and 'politically correct' ways.

For the past few months I have been teaching a session about how to deal with major changes in life, whether they are work related or personal. All of the employees who are in these sessions are faced with the possibility of a layoff as a result a recent merger. They are worried, anxious, frustrated, and resentful, which are normal reactions we all experience when our fears become a reality.

There are many tips that I give people about dealing with change, such as being resourceful, networking, utilizing resources, establishing goals, being proactive, and so on. There are lots of ways to help them build self-confidence and remember that even if they lose their job, that their future is bright and that many other opportunities are out there for them.

All those are great suggestions and tips and most people walk away from the sessions a little more optimistic than when they came in, but what I really wish that I could talk about is how Jesus is there for them, to help them get through this journey they are trying to prepare for. I wish I could help them find the courage that they are seeking by sharing with them where true courage comes from.

Jesus understands that change usually requires courage. When Jesus told Matthew in Matthew 4:19 "Come, follow me,and I will make you fishers of men", He didnt merely invite Him to come with Him. He gave him an opportunity to make a decision that would affect His entire life. A decision that would require a change of heart so that he could embrace the new life that Jesus had in store for Him.

Any time we make a change a life, whether we initiated that change or it was forced upon us, we have some choices to make. Either embrace it, or fight it. Either let it build our trust in Christ, or destroy our faith. Either find courage in Christ, or fall apart inside and out. Either be an eternal optimist, or a perpetual pessimist.

Sometimes the latter of each of those statements is a lot easier to do, which is why it is so important that we look to our heavenly Father when we need a little pep talk, motivation, and courage to cope with the changes in our life.

Thinking back to when I gave my resignation to quit my job, I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was excited about following Gods call to ministry, but on the other hand, I was fearful and anxious about walking away from my career. Little did I know the huge blessings that awaited me as soon as I embraced the changes that God brought me to. It wasnt until I depended on God for my courage, that I was able to step out in faith and have a change of heart.

When we choose to follow Jesus, He makes a commitment to stay with us forever - including during times of small and big changes in our lives. Whenever we are faced with a change, a decision that will result in change, or a change that may be forced upon us, God knows about it, and wants to help us through it - but we need to ask for His help. And if you dont know what to ask for, the Holy Spirit will intercede for you, and lift up the words that you cant seem to utter from your own lips but that your heart has hidden deep inside.

Just like with Matthew, Jesus can change your heart attitude so that you can begin living a new kind of life and embrace the changes God has brought you to, instead of fighting them. The Lord will be with you in any situation.

The word "champion" means several things, including being an fighter or warrior; a defender; a supporter; and to champion a cause. Overall, it means being a winner. We can all be winners when Christ is leading the race in our life. We can be winners if we embrace the situations in our life, instead of looking for all the reasons why we dont want them to happen.

Do you want to be a change champion today? Ask God to help you have a change of heart. Ask Him to help you see His will for your life and your situation. And lastly, try to be an optimist, and begin to see the opportunities in the difficulties, instead of focusing on the difficulties in the opportunities.

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Angie said...

Since beginning my walk with God and now having a relationship with Him, I am amazed at the way He provides that little exrta push just when I need it.
Providing that little extra bit of guidance that I need, just when I need it.
There are things in my life that need to change, that will be hard to change, and Satan continues to tell me that I can't do it. I can't do it because I have never done anything like that before. I can't do it because it is stepping so far out of the box for me. Courage from God to have a change of heart. The "I can't" change to "I can" because He will give me the courage and be with me every step of the way.
Thank you for my little extra guidance that I needed.

Love in Christ,

B His Girl said...

Hi Tracie,

"Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" was one of the first verses I memorized as a child. I can look back and now see the significance of that verse planted in me. God reminded me of that not long ago. I used to be in outside sales. My background was prep work for speaking in front of people. I am also involved in Toastmasters because I want to grow in my gift. He does use all things to work out His plan. Corporate people see the light shine in you whether you speak directly about Jesus or not. Our light cannot be hidden. They know. One time I was dropping off my son at a birthday party. I talked to the Mom of the birthday boy while they played. Eventually something about Jesus came out of me :) She said 'I knew it. I could see your glow as you came into the room. I knew you had something going on.' It was a reminder to me that God opened her eyes to speak to her. She had drifted in her walk. She felt God arranged our conversation. I love it that He is working in AND through us. If we lean on Him we will have the courage and strength for the journey. You are a great encourager. I feel Him reminding me that He will help me as I continue to come out of my shell. May God do something 'out of the box' in your life Tracie that lets His light shine BRIGHTLY to the world and glorify your Father in Heaven. I pray also for a freshness in His word to open up new things and places for you to go. May His blessings overwhelm your family and His healing hand touch your sister. In Jesus name,
Amen. B

Joyful said...

"Whenever we are faced with a change, a decision that will result in change, or a change that may be forced upon us, God knows about it, and wants to help us through it - but we need to ask for His help. And if you don't know what to ask for, the Holy Spirit will intercede for you, and lift up the words that you can't seem to utter from your own lips but that your heart has hidden deep inside."

Thank you for this word of encouragement tonight. Today my family has been faced with a change in location for my Dad's care. We are seeking God's direction. Thank you for reminding me that when we don't know how or what to pray the Spirit will intercede for us.

Trusting Him,