How not to panic when business is slow…a personal story

After a very fruitful 9 months of business last year, activity seemed to slow down to a crawling pace in the fourth quarter of 2012.  I had just finished a large consulting contract and many of my 1:1 coaching clients had temporarily re-directed their focus to Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping.

Even though it is quite typical for business to slow down toward year-end, for some reason this year was different.  I had been going, going, going at a very fast pace all year and without realizing it, I somehow got caught up in relying on my busyness to keep things moving rather than God’s infallible guidance.

That said, as business slowed down, I started fretting about bringing in revenue, making calls and appointments to fill up my pipeline of prospects, and creating new products. I filled my calendar with all sorts of networking activities, sample sessions and other business development activities until I had myself completely stressed out and worried.  That’s when God stepped in and lovingly corrected my course as He always does.

One morning as I was having coffee and reading my bible, God nudged me to change my thinking.  Here’s the essence of how our conversation went:

Me:  Lord, I am feeling anxious about business slowing down. I am worried about the holidays coming up, bills, taxes due at the end of the year…

God:  Have I not provided your daily bread? (Exodus 16:32)

Me:  Yes, but I feel nervous about the coming months.  What if business doesn’t pick back up?  What a about the fiscal cliff and economy?

God:  Did I not instruct you not to worry about tomorrow? (Matthew 6:34)

Me:  Well yes…

God:  And did you not also pray for more time to rest and spend with your family?

Me:  Yes, I did because I worked really hard over the summer.

God:  And didn’t you also follow my instructions to save for rainy days? (Proverbs 6:8)

Me:  Yes, I did – my budget accounts for slow times.

God:  Then in this moment there is no need that has not been provided for. This time of rest was provided to you as a gift in response to your prayer. (Philippians 4:19)

Me:  (Ouch!) Yes, Father. Please forgive my lack of faith(I am stumped and humbled at this point).

Our conversation went on for quite some time, mostly with me repenting and expressing my gratitude for God’s love, wisdom and grace.  It was my human frailty that led me down the path of worry about the future, lack of faith and thoughts of lack (…and I am sure the enemy played his hand in keeping me there).  Not only had God been answering my prayers for more rest and free time, He also showed me that it was not up to me how He would fulfill my request.  My job was to accept His blessings with an attitude of gratitude, not to question His methods.

During this intimate dialogue, God also reassured me that His timing is always perfect – and because He apparently has a sense of humor, I landed a large corporate contract and several new coaching clients exactly 7 weeks later, just in time before some of my larger business expenses became due!  I have learned that often when our human minds lead us to believe that we are running out of time, money, resources, God shows up right before we spend the last penny, eat the last meal or explore our last option. He is never early, yet always on time. In the process, we learn to trust and increase our faith in His provision.  After all, if we always felt secure by measure of our own resources, we would have no need for him.

George Mueller was an excellent example of this kind of faith and has encouraged and inspired me on so many occasions – here are two of His quotes on faith:

“Faith has nothing to do with feelings or with impressions, with improbabilities or with outward experiences. If we desire to couple such things with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God, because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace”

“God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hands as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith.”

As Kingdom entrepreneurs we are united in our calling to take back the marketplace for God’s glory and are often faced with taking giant steps and risks that terrify our little hearts and make us want to crawl under a rock.  But God wants us to abandon our self-reliance and limited view of what is possible and lean on His perfect strength instead.  I pray that He may develop this kind of faith and trust in all of us as we follow His lead.

May this blog post reassure you of His love for you and that He deeply cares about the most intimate details of your life and work.  If you need someone to pray with you, cheer for you, help you plan, and encourage you in your calling to start or grow your business, I invite you to schedule a free business strategy session with me.

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  1. Julia Winston says:

    Great reminder Sabine!
    I needed that

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