How do you connect with God now?
(Compared to the past)
For me, it’s through dreams. This week I was going back through my past journals - from like 10 years ago - and one of the things that stood out is how differently I related to God back then. In terms of direction for my life, it was always viewed through a lens of how God wanted to use me for something.
That has shifted so dramatically. Maybe the response could look like the exact same profession or same place in the world, but the perspective of my heart has shifted. It moved from, “God what do you want to use me for? To, “God, what have you designed me for?”
Because He designed me in perfect love.
It’s a simple language shift, but it changed my heart so much. It was a movement from a servant or slave mindset where I always had this sense of duty to God. It was out of a longing to love and serve Him, and it did serve me well for a time. But now it has shifted to this security in the goodness of God.
Whatever He designed me for is good and it is for my good! Before, it was just for the good of the world. Now I see that I wasn’t just put here as a tool for others, but I was designed for love and in love.
I think that for me the transition is somewhat similar to Rach, especially in the performance side of things. I grew up consistently hearing how God created me for a purpose. I still believe that; He has created me for a purpose, He created all of us for purposes! But I think the real transition was from a distant relationship to seeing that the dreams, visions, and places I want to go are all things He placed in my heart; getting there is just the journey we get to go on together.
I think that through the different processes of inner healing, [RTF or FH Schools] there has been a bigger measure of freedom developing in my heart. It’s been a transition of really understanding who I am. As I understand more of who I am, I’m able to have a much more real relationship with Him.
I’m kind of redefining my relationship with God; I’ve come to realize that it was never Him who was wearing a mask, it was me. Now, I get to explore areas that maybe I thought I wasn’t good at! That was part of the mask I used to wear; whether it was business or creativity, there were all these things I just thought I wasn’t made for. Now I’m learning that they are actually gifts He has placed inside of me!
Where has God brought freedom into your life?
Through the process of personal inner healing, there’s been the removal of a lot of lies I used to believe about myself. As those things are washed away, there’s been an unlocking of what I actually have inside of me. So, freedom has come as I continually break the habit of believing lies that I believed about myself and receive the truth of who I actually am. If I don’t go through that process, then it’s easy to get stuck in that trap of believing those lies again.
Specifically, God has brought a lot of freedom in the area of intelligence, and more specifically business intelligence. Recently I’ve been seeing – through my MBA – that there are a lot of things I just naturally understand. Other people will have no idea how it works, but it just clicks for me.
I agree with Jesse; freedom has come through these different stages of seeing some things that were holding me back and then getting freedom from them. Now I’m actually coming to the other side of it all, and I’m beginning to see that there’s a redeemed side to some of these things, too!
For me the best example is perfectionism; that was so defining in my life. It wasn’t serving me well; I had deeply tied my personal value to what I could deliver on. I wanted things to be delivered perfectly, and it felt like that was an indicator of my worthiness.
Whether it was receiving an A+ or winning a piano competition - everything was tied together. In the business world, it was really hard to consider something finished because my value was tied to the things I did and how perfectly I could deliver them. It became hugely limiting! It became increasingly difficult to finish things because there was such a big fear of failing.
As I allowed God and Holy Spirit to show me some of the areas I needed freedom in, I began to realize where my identity and value were really coming from. It was such an important and freeing process for me. I was able to start practicing it too; I would set dates and finish things, and then it had to be finished! Even if something wasn’t perfect – and I needed to change it later - it didn’t affect my value anymore. It took years of really intentionally practicing that and detoxing from my old ways of thinking.
What’s so cool is that now I can see the redeemed side. I really like things to be beautiful! I like things to be excellent and good quality! I believe it’s just an expression of a part of the heart of God.
Now I can experience and enjoy and celebrate excellence, without the pressure of my security coming from my perfectionism. For a while when I was going through all of the healing stuff, I almost felt a bit lost. I felt like I was letting go of so many things and patterns and beliefs; it was like, “Who am I now?” And, “Was everything inside me bad?”
I don’t know if anyone else had this experience, but sometimes with all the healing stuff, it made me wonder who I was. I didn’t really know what the good things were that I inherited anymore.
Now I focus more on asking God what the blessings are – the things I get to stand and build on that are good. How can some of those things be redeemed? God weeded out and overhauled so many things in my life; now He’s bringing things back that actually were beautiful, but they had been tainted. Now, He’s releasing them in a freer form.
What do you feel like God is doing in our midst right now?
For me, I see how everything fits. So, this time we're living in right now isn’t disconnected from where we’ve been, or where we’re going. Of course, this time is very unique, but I do feel like this pandemic is just a continuation of what God’s already been doing at a more intense level.
One of the things I was sensing in general [before Covid-19] is that this season is a time of discovering our initial design. It’s interesting; because that’s something I’ve been feeling for a while. I’ve been reflecting on what having a ‘childlike heart’ means, and what ‘being like a child’ really looks like.
I’ve been asking questions like, “What are some of the things that got me so excited as a kid?” “What were things I loved?” “What were my dreams?” That was the place God was already bringing me into, and I felt it was an invitation for our whole community. “What are the things that you were more in touch with at a young age - because you were closer to heaven at that time - that have gotten quieted or ignored?” Especially as you started to do all the things expected of you or the things you were more accepted for. What are those things that He put inside you? Designed in you?
The things that were breathed into you– the very life put in you with your original heavenly design? Right now, it’s happening in this space where everything is stripped down, shut down and disrupted; God is giving an opportunity for people! Maybe those things were being stirred up before, or maybe things were coming alive, but we couldn’t afford to step off the treadmill and pursue them.
Now, the whole treadmill has stopped. It’s giving everyone that opportunity to ask, “What are those things inside of me?” or to think, “Maybe I can dream again!” “Maybe I can revisit those things deep in my heart that I’ve ignored for so long.” It feels like this pause is giving space for that.
I agree. I think to put it simply, the most tangible thing I’ve seen right now is God slowing this city down. You can even feel how the atmosphere has calmed down from this state of extreme busyness we existed in before.
We’re seeing people engage with family, go on walks, and just generally be present. I’ve seen how that’s the good side of this; reducing busyness and kind of forcing time with family.
I think it’s an opportunity for working through a lot of stuff. Imagine parents on the verge of divorce or something – in this season suddenly now you’re trapped in the house together. You either make the change, work on your relationship, and see love grow; or you end up really struggling through this time.
It feels like something new is happening. I know spring is finally here, but it really feels like a change in seasons; something new is coming. I think it’s an emergence of the kingdom of God, and I don’t think that has changed in this ‘Pandemic time’.
I think the physical side of things has changed, but there’s also a correlation between God wanting to launch new things, and Him allowing this slow-down to happen. It’s enabling us to step into what He is trying to do, or maybe even catapulting us into it!
What is in your heart now?
I think the deposit God has put in my heart has been really through a business lens. Recently I’ve even been seeing the validity of the model and the vision we use for Hope Cleaning so much clearer: why it’s so important to provide employment.
During this season I actually got to hire a family member who had been on unemployment for a while. I witnessed first hand what employment can do for a person; how it brings life & joy back to someone. A simple job can bring all those things to the surface! I have a passion to see people continually supported.
During this crazy time, how do we still create revenue? It’s great to see the government rolling out subsidies, but that’s such a short-term thing. If we can keep people getting paid, it really reduces the amount they have to pay back when the pandemic ends.
I’m seeing how God can reveal people’s inner value and bring life to them through something as simple as work. I’m also realizing that the ability to be a Christian leader in business is massive. I interviewed someone recently who owns a $1.4 billion business - the whole culture of the company is about Christian values, and it’s so amazing because it’s all built on relationships.
If we can do that really well, then it’s more than just providing revenue for people, it’s actually seeing healing come into their lives. As an employer, we get to create space to talk through the lies they’re believing and then instill the value God has for them.
In this time of craziness, God is giving downloads – really powerful downloads as far as creativity and innovation go! There’s so much more dreaming happening. I’m asking big questions like: “What can a community do?”, “How do we change what the workforce looks like on the planet for the better?” And, “How do we see healing come to people in avenues where they didn’t experience it before?”
I think what it really comes down to is our heart behind business. We want to use resources in a way that activates people to believe that they can carry out their original design. That’s ultimately what Jesus did on the cross; He redeemed us back into our original design. My heart is that so many resources would flow into the kingdom in order for that to happen!
In both the business realm and in daily life, I really feel like God is awakening dreams in people. I can’t begin to explain how crazy of a process this has been for me, personally. To make a long story short, during a prayer time we prayed through a lot of stuff around that topic… and someone discerned that there was a curse over my life around dreams and the limitation of dreaming.
Honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure that anything was going to change or shift. But afterwards, all of a sudden it was like life came back into my dream tank! I woke up and realized that I had been feeling like a part of me was dead - only 50% of me was living! And I realized I had this wrong sense of ‘duty’ to let this part of me die; these were things I had told myself I had to let die. I continually told myself, “you can’t,” and I did it so often that I thought I was right. I thought that was the right way to think! I realized how often my internal dialogue was saying, “Don’t hope, and don’t dream. You can’t.”
Now, I don’t know what will happen with my dreams! It’s honestly still really terrifying and unknown to me. But I feel like I have to try; I have to dream. It’s a vulnerable place to be .... when you just try for something.