5 Questions About…Risk

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Sharon is a dear friend who both inspires and intimidates me with her amazingness.  She has guest-posted here before.  I’m so thankful that in the midst of a busy, stressful time, she was willing to share some more of what she’s learning.  Here’s the next in our 5 Questions About…series.

1. Recently you took what must have felt like a huge risk. Can you tell us about it?

Eight months ago, I resigned from a job I had loved and made the leap to running my own business. This happened after an extended season of prayer and discernment, so by the time I made the change, I felt certain it was the right thing to do.

Yes, there were practical risks involved: leaving a certain income, benefits, 401K; losing the familiarity of my office and team. And as a single person, I didn’t have a safety net of a second income, back-up insurance, or a support person to pick up slack in other areas of life. But I was also very clear about why I was making the change: 1) to be faithful to what I understood God was putting in my hands; 2) to learn and grow through a new challenge.

So when I framed it that way, I realized that even if my business failed (and I had to move into my parents’ basement), I would experience God in deeper ways and learn things I wouldn’t otherwise.

 2.  What was it that prompted you to make this change?

Well, on one level, I’m passionate about what my company is doing and I have a clear mission I want to pursue. But this totally started with a spiritual journey. I spent two years wrestling with God about what His plans for my life were.

I started a discipline of praying with my hands open; I memorized Scripture and sought to know God for who He was (and not just what He could do for me); I started seeing a Christian counselor to help me process questions, grief, and fears I hadn’t addressed before. During that time, I also experienced some painful disappointments and relational losses. (Don’t most spiritual journeys involve some proverbial wilderness?!) I look back now and see it was all part of God preparing me for this calling He had for me.

3.  What were your emotions/ biggest fears walking through the past 12 months?

Emotions? Me? I never have emotions… In truth, my iPersonic personality profile puts it best when it says my life “is an exciting drama of emotionality.” Ha. All to say, yes, I’ve had a *few* emotions over the past year. I think most entrepreneurs will tell you starting a business is a roller coaster of high highs and vulnerable lows, of feeling both invigorated and panicked, because there’s so much out of your control even though you’re working harder than ever. But I think the particular feeling I’ve wrestled with the most is loneliness. Yes, I have the help of amazing friends, mentors, and creative partners. But at the end of the day, the responsibility to get work, earn money, pay staff, and lead well is on my shoulders. That can feel like a lot.

4. Are there ways you’ve seen God at work? 

Starting about six months ago, I found myself saying six words out loud a lot: “I don’t know what to do…”  I would hit some wall—client-wise, finance-wise, staff-wise—and feel totally at a loss. Admitting that out loud (a blow to my pride and desire for control) sometimes felt riskier than starting the business in the first place. Then in April, someone gave me the passage in 2 Chronicles 20, where Jehoshaphat is leading his army into certain defeat and he prays to God, “We have no power…We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” And I was like, “BAM, that’s my story!” It was a great reminder that admitting we don’t know what to do is a good thing—because that’s where God shows His power. We don’t have to know the answer; just seek Him. When I come to God in utter dependency, I’ve seen Him provide in amazing ways.

5. What are the lessons you’ve learned/are learning?

I’ve learned God is near. I’ve learned I’m capable of more than I thought. I’ve learned to ask for help. And I’ve learned the most important thing I can do each day is BE GRATEFUL. To be grateful for the opportunities I have…for all I’m learning…for the people I’m meeting…and for the story God is writing in my life. Because the real payoff is not whether my business succeeds or not; the payoff is knowing and receiving the love of God.

You can check out Sharon’s company that helps organizations tell their story!  

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