Professional Christians by Trish

dreamstime_xs_28809741

A professional exemplifies one who is skilled or well trained in the work in which they do.  A true professional has the ability to hold one’s composure so to maintain an expected image of what they represent. While we celebrate the professional mindset in the work place let us look at how this “professionalism” can easily affect our lives as Christians.

When you are an employee of a company you are provided with a code of conduct, a set of rules if you will, that mandates certain behavior in order to represent the company well.

As Christians we have been given the ultimate handbook on code of conduct and while it is imperative that we live a life pleasing to the Lord and choose a lifestyle that reflect holiness, I can’t help but notice how many of us, myself included, have easily become “Professional Christians”.

To better explain, I’ll use myself as an example. I grew up in church and in essence it’s all I’ve ever known. I don’t have the stories of wild parties, drunken weekends, promiscuity and rebellious teenage years. My testimony is that I was kept…not by any means perfect but nonetheless, kept.

I thank God for my journey; it is to no credit of my own that is for certain. While grateful that I have been kept from a lot of foolishness, I have also been subject to religion and rules. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I crave structure, I have to have rules and boundaries.

I was once told by a previous boss to not get uptight if rules were bent. That goes against my nature, if I don’t know the rules, I don’t want to play the game and I will be the first one to make it known when a rule has been broken.

While there is safety in structure there can also be missed opportunities for true growth, development, relationship building and yes, ministry if all we ever do is focus on rules and regulations and not cultivate a lifestyle that values relationships.

Having been a believer for most of my life, I know how to act, what to say and what “rules” to follow. I know the code of conduct necessary to withhold the image of what and who I represent. But what happens when I focus so intently on the rules instead of directing my passion towards my walk with Christ? This, my friends, becomes the life of what I call a “Professional Christian”. Trying to maintain an image or keep all of the rules is exhausting and can lead you straight in perfectionism.  You trying to do things on your own will end in disaster every time.  We are all in need of a Savior! Truly His grace is sufficient and it is all too amazing!

The Bible says it like this, there are those who have a form of Godliness but deny the power, meaning it appears as though they follow the blueprint of what a Christian should look like and they keep those rules but there is no power because there is no relationship. There are those who honor God with their lips but their hearts are far from Him.

How does this happen and how can we stay in proper alignment?

1)      Understand that God is interested in a RELATIONSHIP with you

His Word has provided us with structure and it is not to be ignored. We are grateful for grace but we don’t abuse it! We obey and follow His principles out of our love for Him and relationship with Him. If all we do is follow the rules to be seen or noted as “good” then we have completely missed the mark and misunderstood the depths of what our relationship with Him should look like.

2)      Be Sensitive to the Holy Spirit

For some, you may not understand what that means. When Jesus left the earth, He gave us an incredible gift called the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our guide or our inner witness.

It is imperative that if we’ve invited this gift into our life that we then make room for His presence to lead us.

I love the story in the Bible where Jesus healed on the Sabbath day. He broke a religious rule to come to the rescue of someone in need. Religion said you can’t heal on the Sabbath but Christ who was a man under submission was able to discern what was necessary in the moment and obeyed even if it meant breaking protocol.

Religion gives you a bunch of regulations which can result in a prideful heart. Be cautious of this, it can and will destroy. The Spirit brings LIFE!

3)      Be a Grace Giver

Understand everyone is at a different place in their journey with Christ and many don’t know Him at all. Who are we to throw stones at those just learning how to crawl in the faith? While I don’t believe in compromising the truth or altering values for the comfort of another, I do believe in being an extension of grace and God’s love. While I may not agree with those around me, I still have a choice to be a reflection of His love and in that choice pray that God be revealed and His truth be made known.

Ladies, let’s choose to not “play the part” of a Christ follower but rather BE the part. There is no room for Professional Christians among us. Instead of focusing on upholding an image, let’s focus on investing our time and energy in an authentic relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  In doing so, the rest will fall into place including a genuine representation of the One who has changed our lives and loved us like no other.

 

I Got All My Sisters With Me

It’s hard to believe that is has been five years since I got the call from Trish asking me to be a member of the Ladies on Life team. I told her “yes” right away and then after we laughed at my quick response, I told her I would pray about it, you know, just for due process sake. It was not a difficult decision to make at all because I trusted Trish as a friend, and I was so humbled by the opportunity to be a part of something that would extend beyond me. It was right in line with what I knew I was made to do, and judging by the many trials I was facing and had already overcome, I knew I had plenty to write about.

Once she made the call to assemble the team, we were off and running, writing two articles a month on any topic of our choosing. Everything was going great and the excitement was truly palpable. As the years scurried along and we began to receive feedback from ladies all over the country, I think each member of the team while elated, began to feel the intensity of writing something that could possibly help free another lady. Personally, I started to write from a place much deeper than when I started out. So much so, that there were many nights sitting at my laptop that tears streamed down my face as I typed each word. Something incredible started to happen. God was ministering to ME as my desire increased to minister to others.

Those moments have greatly added to my life and I would have been satisfied with them alone, but there is more to this story. Not only was I gifted with a chance to express myself through the ministry of writing, but I also gained new sisters in the L.O.L. team. The reason I say “sisters” instead of “friends” is for a particular reason. When I think of friends I think of people who, as the Bible would say, tend to love you at all times. They are your friends because you have something in common and it just works. However when I think of a sister or family, I think of people that were chosen connections for you before there ever was a “you”. It is a bond that is much stronger in the sense that you choose your friends, and at any point you can un-choose them, but with family, there is no undoing that tie. That is what the Ladies On Life team has been to me, family. My sisters. We have been through thick and thin and have gotten so close over five years even though our connection was chosen for us. We are all so different but we have been able to agree on one thing, women need love, encouragement, and a place to unwind, grow and learn in Christ.

I thank God for Ladies On Life and the members of this team. As we celebrate 5 years, I look forward to the many more to come, and knowing that I get to do this alongside my sisters, helps make for one amazing journey.

The Last Five Years Of Ladies On Life

I still remember getting that first call from Trish telling me about starting and joining Ladies on Life. I hung up in shock telling myself, “She’s got the wrong girl, and surely God didn’t tell her that I was a part of this group of great women!”

These past 5 years have proven to be faith building. Little did I know that I would even be here at this moment writing this in celebration of all that God has done! Through these years I have faced so many, many hardships. I thought that I might not make it through in one piece let-alone have something encouraging to share with someone else.

God’s plan and timing are so perfect. He has plans beyond our wildest dreams! God knows my heart. He knows that I love to be a part of things that are so much bigger than me. I love to be an encouragement. He knew that I would need sisters to back me up through my hard times. Overcoming times of deep depression, an eating disorder, and a horrible divorce. Even though my L.O.L. sisters were not by my side every day physically, I knew that I could count on them to lift me up in prayer and encouragement. My most memorable time thus far was when I called up Trish one hard night. I fought through the tears as I told her that I had nothing to say to anyone, that I had no encouragement because I was so empty and full of pain, and that I should not be a part of L.O.L. any longer. Her response was “I understand if you need a break from writing, but Bombi I’m never letting you go.” WOW! Incredible!

This team has echoed that same message to me. The power of agreement and unity, my goodness it’s a force to be reckoned with! To know that I have sisters backing me with the attitude of “Satan, you’ll have to get through us if you think you’ll destroy my sister. We are our sister’s keeper!” The scripture that says the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man/woman availeth much? Psssh, this must have been written for Kenika, Devon, Sonya, and Trish. I am so full of gratitude to them more than I can express. I am thankful to God who is the author and finisher of my faith who knew JUST what I needed so that I can be held up, and then in turn hold others up. Thank you Lord for the first five. To you Lord, be all glory, honor, and power.

Ladies, let’s do this!

I Want To Be More Like You

There is a short song called – “I Want To Be More Like You”, and in one part it says, “I want to be a vessel you work through”. My favorite memories over the last 5 years of Ladies On Life include when a person was touched!

Several years ago when my mother-in-law was getting ready to leave her job and relocate to another state, she shared with me that she was touched by something Kenika wrote on the site. She was really ministered to in a time of transition when she needed guidance and peace.

I personally remember two different times Sonya’s articles on parenting seemed tailor written for me. It’s like we were having a follow up conversation online after a phone chat! I was so blessed to have some questions answered through her article and also to receive encouragement as a mother!

One time Trish prayed over me, the words she uttered still ring in my spirit, and I am continually uplifted as I go about my daily routine as a stay at home mom.

Last year when I was seeking God as to what to share at our L.O.L Push and Deliver Conference, I felt He gave me some specific verses. Afterwards, a couple people came up to me to ask me about those verses. Praise God! I want to be a vessel you work through, I want to be more like you.

I know as many of you read this, memories from the last 5 years come to your mind of how you were touched or able to touch another life. Ladies, shine on, you are beautiful and God needs each of us to be His hands and feet as He is the head and we are the body. He works through us each as vessels of His love as we draw close to Him.

Lord, I want to be more like you! I want to be a vessel you work through, Lord I want to be more like you!