I will never forget what it was like to quit the only career and job I had ever known and start a company from scratch. Throughout the entire process, there were a lot of emotions I experienced as the idea of my business began to take shape. But through that time, there was no emotion I felt more than this: Fear.
Yes, a start-up is supposed to be full of excitement, adrenaline rushes, passion, and drive. It was all of those and more. But more than anything, you need to know I was downright afraid.
Processing Fear in a Start-up
June of this year was the beginning of Adventurous Faith. My simple goal was to get as many meetings on my calendar as possible, to sit down and share the vision of what I was doing, and to begin creating a buzz behind it. To be honest, I was floored from the very beginning at the significant amount of response I was getting from those who heard about my little start-up.
Early in my meeting journey, I was given an opportunity to meet with an organization in St. Louis, my home city, that could provide a massive amount of growth to the ecosystem of my business. I was elated at even the possibility of sitting down and having a simple conversation. After an initial introduction, loads of fear began to settle into my soul. I began to wonder if this big meeting was ever going to take place. Days without even hearing a word went by, and the fear grew larger and larger in my heart.
I’m not sure what fear looks like for you, but for me, in a start-up, it looks like more work. I wavered, worried, and worked more hours to the point of being overwhelmed. I would write stories in my head and concern myself with things that didn’t matter. It not only inhibited my ability to work more efficiently, but it also caused me to believe things about myself and my business that weren’t true.
In the middle of this fear journey of trying to nail down one simple but crucial meeting, God reminded me of something that has since become one of the core principles of my company. It’s a simple promise found in Psalm 75. I believe if you allow it to do the work this promise is made to do, it can revolutionize your life and business.
“No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.” – Psalm 75:6-7
A Promise Left on the Table
A concept like this scripture is foreign to us. We spend our lives and build our businesses, living the complete opposite of the promise God is giving to us here.
We live in a cut-throat world consumed with getting ahead. We idolize performance and shame those who appear weak. We live to reach and achieve more because we believe it’s our godly right, and we make sure no one stands in our way.
While our behaviors have caused us to believe we have gone further, faster, it has left us believing a lie about our businesses and lives that is hard to break: we’ve built this all ourselves.
In a world where we are taught to be sovereign over our own lives and directing our paths as we choose, I want to remind us of an ever-important truth and promise that can save us from some massive heartache and fear:
Promotion Comes from God.
No one from anywhere can exalt a man. He doesn’t have the power. It is God – the Lord, who exalts one man and puts down another. Promotion – in every part of life comes from God.
In those fear-drenched moments, this promise was life-giving to my overwhelmed soul. In my little start-up world, it was a simple meeting. I was worried and caught up in a story where I believed I was in control of my own destiny in business. But in a fragile moment, God reminded me – I don’t have as much control over it all like I believe I do.
He reminded me that everything I have, long for, and desire does not come by my own hand – it comes from God.
He is the one who exalts one man and puts down another.
In your story, it may not be a meeting, but it will look like control and even fear. It will look like something you want to gain traction but isn’t moving as quickly as you would like.
Hard work is both necessary and commanded in God’s Kingdom. Don’t stop doing your work. But don’t believe for a second that your tenacity will be rewarded on the other side with pure bliss. That task belongs to God. If you and I can begin to grapple with this invaluable truth about God’s character, then 3 smaller truths begin shaping our lives.
1. Surrender becomes our best friend.
Surrender isn’t very sexy. To us, it promotes weakness. But surrender is the foremost principle we need to practice in our lives every day. When we embrace promotion as God promises us, surrender becomes a character trait we gravitate towards every day. This is a part of the full-life Christ is calling us to.
2. The pressure to perform outside your limits is off.
Personal limits and the business world are like oil and water. They don’t seem to mix. This is because we believe there is no end in ourselves. But when we embrace promotion as coming from God, limits become a natural part of life. We understand the need for limits every day and don’t live to the point of exhaustion of pushing ourselves outside of them any longer. We can live and breathe knowing the pressure is off. It is us choosing “God, I’m going to do what only I can do, and trust you to do what only you can do.”
3. The results belong to God.
In the first article in this series, I wrote about focusing on the process, and the results will follow. The second part of this truth is when promotion comes from God, the results belong to him, too.
I get it. This is another part of the business that we’re not quite sure if we enjoy hearing or not. This is a release and trust exercise that isn’t often practiced but necessary in enjoying the freedom from stress and anxiety that a new business can often have on us.
There is a Greater Call
Two voices are calling us in the marketplace. One voice says to come and overwhelm yourself with work and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get the results you’re looking for because you knew you could count on yourself to get it done. This voice gives you no limits or restraints but will leave you in frustration and burnout.
There is a greater voice and call to heed. It is God calling us to trust him and recognize the limits He has provided for us to keep us from experiencing an overwhelmed and burned-out story. It’s a voice calling us to live by the promise that promotion, growth, and greater things come from God. This voice leads you to a more full and satisfied life.
Which voice are you going to choose to listen to?