Somewhere around 1999 I had a very strange thing happen to me. I was a career-minded woman and had a great job that I loved. Actually, I had two that I loved. The second one being a self-employed artist. I was getting older and worked by day and painted on nights and weekends.
My daytime employer had given me another promotion. The job was challenging, but I was doing well. One day, while sitting at my desk, I heard the voice of God. The voice was not truly audible, but more like hearing distinct words, but not hearing a sound. I knew it was God, because I did not talk like that, nor have a reference for these words…but, I knew what he meant. He asked me, “What kingdom are you building?”
My job was exceedingly rewarding. I worked for a financial institution that was member owned. From when I first began, our company grew from a little company to a large thriving one. We truly cared about our customers and as a supervisor, my job was to provide customer service and marketing. Because I am creative, it was a wonderful outlet for me. And, I loved helping people. The people I worked with and for were wonderful and they were like a family. Our customers became like family. My employer valued me, but God asked me a question. And, I began to contemplate it.
When we started the call center that I supervised, I worked very hard. I got new employees, new space, new desks and drawers without pencils or any other supplies. We closed on a Friday and on Monday the phones were live. Because everything was new, new, new for the whole company, it was a challenging time. I remained in that position for about three years providing customer service and helping with marketing. We had gotten past the initial growth pain, and things were flowing well. All the while I worked by day, I continued to pursue my art career.
So, about my day job that I cared about–great pay, valuable benefits, and fulfilling–why would I leave? Beside the fact that getting older meant that I had less energy to devote to two loved careers, the short answer is that God turned up the heat until I said uncle. As I remember it, it took about nine months for me to get to the point to step out of the proverbial boat. We were heading for a major system conversion, and I knew that it was time for me to obey God and resign.
People often say that God’s timing is perfect. I love looking back and seeing how He works things out.
The amazing thing is that at that exact time, our church that I helped start five years prior, built our first building. We had been meeting in schools and other borrowed and rented places. When I retired, my husband and I decided I would do volunteer work at my church and pursue my art career. Guess what? When I stepped into our new church, I began to build the Welcome Team and our Info Center to provide “customer service” to our guests and I got a new space, a new desk and without even a pencil it in.
Deja Vu or God? God! So much of what I learned at my job was transferable to serving within a church setting. People are people and God has called us to love and serve each other.
What about the art part? I dreamed for years of being a full time artist and having the chance to paint in the day instead of nights and weekends. I got it! It was more than I can ever express. I’ll never be able to thank my husband enough, for the gift that he gave to me to follow my dream. Thank you Awesome Husband.
God AND art! Creator and creating and me in the middle.
There was a time that I asked God to help me. I still do, but it is different now than then. Then, it was that I asked Him to help me with what I was doing. In 2000 when I began my full time art business, I understood that I didn’t ask Him to bless me as if He worked for me. He was boss, not me. And in an act of gratitude, I put a banner over my studio door that stayed there for 14 years. It said:
“And let the beauty of the Lord my God be upon me: and establish the work of my hands. Yes, make my efforts successful! CEO God. Psalm 90:17”
Because of the gift I had been given, I wanted to acknowledge that I worked for Him, NOT that He worked for me. Lately, God had been doing a new thing. It started about eight years ago and He keeps driving this truth down deeper.
I studied abiding in Christ from John 15 for about nine months. I continue to live from that place of resting in Christ. This year I discovered a verse that made a profound impact on me. The verse from Colossians 3:4 says, “Christ who is your life”. I knew God was so much more than an employer and about eight years ago, He became my Husbandman and my Gardener, but now He is my life. I still don’t fully get it, but I am understanding more and more as time goes on.
This week, I changed my banner to:
“Christ who IS my life. For the glory of YOUR name.”
As I continue to step out and into becoming fully uncovered, I am reminded of the verse from Matthew 5:15 about letting your light shine and NOT hiding it (under a bushel basket which holds 8 gallons!). Not much light would leak out from under an eight gallon basket. I want to be surrendered, uncovered and shine!
Christ, you are my life. All I do, I do for the glory of YOUR name.