Making God Your Boss | a five-minute talk
|Written by Amber -|
You may have seen our previous post about being at the CONNECT Retreat in Georgia a couple weeks ago. It was CONNECT Retreat's second year in existence, and Chad and I were thrilled to be there again. It's a marriage retreat for couples in photography business together, but ends up being so much more than that. Yes, we get to rub shoulders with industry leaders and gain inspiration from others in our field, but It has truly become a community for Jesus-loving, like-minded people in business around the world and a space to share advice and experiences with each other on a personal level.
This year, one session of the Retreat was for five couples (who attended last year) to share—in five minutes—the one thing that impacts their life / marriage / business the most. Chad and I were humbled and honored to be selected. We got to use this opportunity to share about our intentional, daily focus on listening prayer and its effect on our lives. We've chosen to make God the "boss" of our business—and lives—and so we spoke on that very topic.
Since giving that talk, we've received quite a bit of positive feedback about the topic and have had follow-up conversations with others who have called this "life-changing," so we thought sharing the information here on our blog might be beneficial for others, too.
Making God Your Boss
Intentional steps to actually make God #1 in your life
We've been talking a lot about setting our priorities straight: God as #1, our spouse & families second, and our business third. We can say that God is our #1 priority, but if we don't actually take intentional steps to make God first, it's just lip service. When we started our business three years ago, it was something we knew God was calling us to do, so we considered Him our boss—and we still do.
Think about it: in a corporate setting, wouldn't it be ridiculous for you to make EVERY decision for your job without EVER consulting your boss? Usually your boss briefs you on what he wants you to do, and then you report back once you've done those things.
Before confusing the day with our own ideas, plans and task lists, we start every day by reading the Bible (individually). God wants a personal relationship with each of us, so we take ownership of that. We then have a time of prayer together on our knees, listening for God's voice just like Jeff & Julia lead us through Monday night. (See "Listening Prayer Activity" reference at the end of this post for the context.)
And God really does speak and lead us! The Bible tells us that God knows the desires of our hearts and works everything for our good and His glory. (See Romans 8.) We are stronger as a couple when we are on the same page as our Creator and we are most joyful when we are right in the middle of His perfect will for us.
So what does this look like practically? Here are four steps to help you start this life-changing habit:
- BE INTENTIONAL.
Set a time and place like a scheduled meeting to be briefed by your boss. Don't be late!
We have time scheduled for this every morning. Starting our day this way is of utmost importance and our highest priority. If we have to get up early, we meet with Him even earlier; there are no excuses. God is always waiting for us, we just need to show up.
- START WITH THIS 30-DAY DEVOTIONAL:
The Art of Listening Prayer by Seth Barnes walks you through what listening prayer is, how to do it, and how to discern God's voice.
Here's a PDF of the devotional to download or if you prefer purchasing the hard copy, check it out here.
- KEEP A JOURNAL.
It's imperative to record the conversation (just like you'd take notes of what your boss tells you in a meeting).
Here are a few questions that we ask ourselves to discern if the impression we write down is really from God: Does it exalt Christ? Is it Scriptural? Do other Christians confirm it? Will it produce good fruit & spiritual growth? ...If you answer 'no' to any of those questions, it is not something God is actually guiding you into.
After confirming God's words, actually follow through on what He tells you to do, otherwise it's just lip service.
James 4:13-17 warns us that it is a sin to know what to do and not do it.
Now, we don't always hear specific commands or steps from God, and sometimes He doesn't answer at all. Sometimes we ask the wrong questions or we're not ready for His answer. Sometimes He gives us insight we couldn't have had on our own. There's no real science behind it... It's a matter of your willingness to be still & patient, your heart, your expectations and your faith. We've grown in this area of our lives over the last three years, and it has become easier with practice.
We have so many stories about how God has used listening prayer to change our lives. We've experienced more personal growth, more confidence, more joy and more adventure since we've been intentional about listening for God's voice in prayer. We hope this has helped encourage you to begin this same habit in your life.
REFERENCE: Listening Prayer Activity
On Monday night of the Retreat, Jeff and Julia Woods shared on the topic of being present in faith, family and life. They talked about our need to dream, risk and create, as well as our need to identify the reasons that may be holding us back from reaching our dreams. They challenged us each to think about "the voices" we listen to and to consider their source. After their talk, they posted three questions on the screen for us each to ponder in prayer on our own. The direction was to sit in prayer with God, talking with Him a little bit, and then to ask each question, silently waiting & listening for His response to us. As soon as He laid something on our heart, we were to write it down.
God, how do you see me?
What is the main voice I have been listening to?
What is the one thing I need to offer my spouse?
We were then directed to get together with our spouse and share the responses with each other.