Friday, December 31, 2010

What Could Make This a Happy New Year?

A new year is almost upon us. This is the time when I try to set some spiritual goals for the year ahead. I’m not talking about your typical New Year’s resolutions, but setting a goal for what I want God to do in my life—to change me and make me more like Jesus in the coming year.

I figure that if the children in my family didn’t grow from year to year, as expected, I’d be concerned. But often we can go from one year to another without any real visible spiritual growth in our lives. That means we are shrunken Christians, or maybe sick ones. We should be concerned.

I don’t want to go through 2011 without growing in the Lord, and I’m sure you don’t either. So, I’m going to take the challenge to identify one area where I need spiritual growth and pray it into my life. I hope you’ll take this challenge with me.

First I want to ask God to show me what area of my life needs spiritual growth or discipline. Then I should look into his Word for a verse that challenges me in that area. And then I need to pray this verse everyday into my life.

For example, maybe I need to be a better listener and talk less. I might choose James 1:19 which says that “Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak.”

Or maybe I need to have a more loving attitude toward a coworker who irritates me. If so, I’d go to 1 Corinthians 16:14 that says, very simply, “Do everything in love.” I’d then take that as my daily prayer, and each day ask God to help me do everything in love. I’d pray for a right attitude toward those who irritate me. I could ask for the ability to see them the way God sees them.

It may be that as you face this new year, you would like to know that you are living in God’s will each day. Well, why not make that your spiritual goal for the year? I encourage you to pray Romans 12:1-2 into your life each day, like this: “Lord, today I offer you my body as a living sacrifice. May it be holy and pleasing to you. May I not be conformed to this world, but transform me by renewing my mind, so that I will be able to test and approve your will for me today.” I can tell you from my own experience that this prayer is life-changing, if you are sincere and intentional about it. This will cause great spiritual growth in your life, as you daily relinquish control of your life to the Lord Jesus.

As we join together to set a spiritual goal and then begin praying it into our lives, it could make 2011 our best year yet. Then at the end of this year, we can look back and see the spiritual growth in our lives. That would be a blessing to us and to many others, as well as a testimony to Jesus Christ. That could make this a truly Happy New Year…all year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

What If This Is An Un-Merry Christmas?

Merry Christmas! I'm bringing you my prayers that your Christmas celebrations will truly be joyous, filled with good times and good memories.

But I'm certain that some people haven't been looking forward to this season and will be glad when it's over. Life’s circumstances can bring us great sorrow. Maybe we can't be with the ones we want to be with. Perhaps miles separate us; or worse, broken relationships have ruined the celebration this year. For whatever reason, this may be an un-merry Christmas for you.

If ”Merry Christmas” is not appropriate for you this year, I simply want to remind you that the One whose birthday we celebrate today has promised never to leave you, never to forsake you. He did not promise that life would always be merry, but He made an ironclad promise that His presence would be with us, when our hearts are merry or when they're heavy.

So, I encourage you to rejoice in His presence with you today. It is no small thing that you can have the guest of honor on this Christmas day right there with you, giving you peace and comfort, even if there is no merriment.

I’m wishing you a Merry Christmas—yes. But if that seems unlikely, then I pray you'll know that Jesus knows how you feel, He understands, He cares, and He's able to bring you peace, with or without the "merry."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How To Be Merry This Christmas

As I’ve been hearing the Christmas story again during this Christmas season, I’ve seen in a fresh way the kind of woman Mary was—a woman of praise. The Magnificat shows us that she praised God in spite of the problems that lay ahead for her, and they were significant.

Just take a look at Luke 1:46-55. In this brief praise/prayer Mary praised God for his favor toward her. She had a praising heart. I’ve noticed that Mary used Scripture to recite back to the Lord in praise. That's a wonderful way to praise God, by reciting Scripture. I’d like to suggest that we could use this wonderful Magnificat for our own personal praise time this season. The Psalms are also full of praise passages we could refer to.

So often this season I see the negative. People are struggling with joblessness, financial stress, the bitter cold and snow, illness. But I think it’s important to develop a heart of praise. This Christmas season would be a wonderful time to do just that. Maybe the Magnificat can get us started: “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

With that thought, I can see this as a truly merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Pray for Others

It’s always agreeable to receive encouragement from our followers, but the message below was especially meaningful. Traci identified specific ways she was praying for the ministry and for me personally, and I saw her prayers as a vital ministry in itself. I asked her for permission to share her words with you, because I thought we might all benefit from seeing her approach to prayer. Her practice of prayer can apply to our prayers for anyone else, for our co-workers, for our families, or even for our “enemies” (Matthew 5:44).

“Sometimes I just think about how thankful I am that God sent you to me and how much I have learned from you and The Christian Working Woman. I am thinking what an example you have been – an excellent example. I am thinking of how weak I was when I started working and was blown away by the things that I experienced. In the beginning I just didn’t know how to handle things. I was such a wimp! I am remembering all the days I would take off because I didn’t want to deal with people or situations. Wow. God must have said, “This poor child of mine needs help!” Just as I was moving on to another job, because I had quit one, I was introduced to you and your ministry. Just in time, because the new job would really be something else, and I experienced all kinds of unbelievable things. But thanks to you and God, I did not quit and learned how to handle things and people. Not only have you helped me with my job, but you have helped me with my life. A big part of the reason I have grown so close to the Lord is because of your teaching. Thank you.”

“So anyway, I continue to pray for you personally and for the ministry. I am praying that your personal needs are met. God knows what they are. I pray for the ministry of The Christian Working Woman. I pray that all of your financial needs be met: technical costs, salaries, services, supplies, materials, daily costs. I pray for each of your bills, program costs, travel, equipment....and everything else. I am praying for overflow of finances so that you will be able to continue to be such a blessing to others. What you need, God's got it. He's got everything you need.”

 “I am praying for your continued health, joy and peace. May the Lord tell you what to do, when to do it and what to say. May He encourage you in a very special way so that you know that He sees you and loves you with all of His giant, enormous, world-wide sized heart. May you feel His loving, comforting arms around you and always know that He is with you.”

And reader, that is what I pray for you.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Calling All Singles...With Money

One single woman told me she had never done anything to prepare for retirement, figuring someday she would be married. Well, at 34 she realized it was time she start doing something. She asked how she should begin.

Single people often delay financial planning. I think a lot of singles postpone these financial decisions assuming they will be married at some point. Some singles reason that since they are alone, they should be entitled to live large in compensation. That can lead to an empty bank account later in life. It’s very wise to start a retirement program while you’re young. Being single may be a permanent situation, so waiting to start good financial planning may never end. The time is now.

Proverbs 13:11 teaches us that “he who gathers money little by little makes it grow,” and that’s where you should begin. You might try to designate as large an amount as possible to invest in a savings plan. If your company offers any kind of matching retirement plan, that may be the way to go. Investigate different methods, but most importantly start putting away a definite amount each paycheck. Have it deducted if possible. Whether you marry or not, this is a wise thing to do.

Do you have other suggestions to offer? What advice would you like to pass along?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I’m Talkin’ About Change

They tell us it takes 21 days to break an old habit, and 65 days to establish a new one! Wow, change comes hard and slow for us, doesn't it?

Have you ever said, "I've really tried to change but it just never works!"?

You know, in order to change, we first have to realize we can't do it. Sounds like a contradiction, but Paul wrote to the Corinthians that it's only when we see how weak we are that we can be strong. So often I become discouraged with my inability to change myself. But when I finally give up, I can hear Jesus say, "I've been waiting for you to realize you'll never make it on your own."

Maybe you need to begin the change process by admitting that you can't. But don't stop there; ask the Lord to change you through his strength. And then be willing to put the discipline in place that change requires.

As soon as we start to change anything, we go into a transition period which is anything but comfortable. But if we refuse or postpone change because we don't want to go through that uncomfortable stage, then we stagnate where we are. In order to improve, it is necessary to change.

Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Through Christ we can change, if we're prepared to live through the transition period and not allow those uncomfortable feelings to keep us from changing. Are you ready to go for it? Then, as Nike says, "Just do it!"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Danger Alert!

Earlier this month I talked about dangers to be aware of in our lives. Lately a new danger that many are toying with has caught my attention: uncommitted church attendance and lack of involvement. It goes like this:
I’m on a fast track in my company and doing very well. Sometimes I have to work on weekends, sometimes I’m exhausted after a stressful week. So, I haven’t gotten involved at church; I just attend services when I can. I don’t see a problem with that. Do you?

Yes, I do. My concern is that people aren’t coming together to be encouraged or to be taught or to worship God or to offer their gifts for the good of the Body, like the Bible tells us to do. They are shutting themselves off from a God-designed nurturing system. Not doing what the Bible says is simply disobedience and carries consequences.

What are these people going to tell Jesus when they have to give an account for the use of their time and abilities? “Sorry I didn’t get involved in kingdom work, Jesus, because I had to get ahead in my job and make as much money as I could.”

We need some serious re-evaluation of our priorities. Without a change in attitude, people choosing this option are heading into a self-focused life that may deposit money in a bank account, but will never deposit anything in an eternal account in heaven. That would be a great failure! That is a danger that sets off an alarm system in my spirit. What can we do about it?

Any ideas?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Travels With Mary

I am in Israel leading the CWW trip that began November 8. Noseworthy Travel Services coordinates this tour each year, and the Israeli tour guide and bus driver we are traveling with have been with me many times. I teach along the way to bring the Bible content together with our site exploration, so history comes to life for the women in the group. I love being here and doing this.

With one more day in Jerusalem, as we come to the end of this my 12th tour to The Holy Land, I am once again amazed at how God uses this trip to touch the hearts of the women who come with me. One woman said to me yesterday, "This trip has again confirmed to me that God has his hand on my life." Another said that the Bible has come alive to her as never before.

Maybe you can join me next November! Brochures will be out soon.

Monday, November 1, 2010

50 Never Looked So Good

There is a mug here at TCWW that states 50 Never Looked So Good. I love drinking out of this mug because it puts a smile on my face. It reminds me that I look great for fifty. I am roughly two decades away from turning fifty but the mug is a little daily dose of encouragement to make myself feel good. We all do different things to make ourselves smile or to help us get through the workday. On my last job I had Ephesians 2:10 on my desk to help me get through the day. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. I loved the constant reminder that God had good works for me to do that day and I needed to find them and do them.

Winter is getting closer and as the weather becomes more frigid it becomes harder to get out of bed and go to work. So it is important that as the weather cools down we find ways to still let our light shine at work and constantly exude a good disposition. What things do you do to help yourself get through the workday?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cleaning Up the Fallout of Anger

This week on the radio broadcast I’m talking about anger, and that set me to thinking about the fallout of anger. For example, when anger gets control, spiteful words spurt out, and those words fall out onto someone. And that someone is often a person we love or spend a lot of time with. The angry words we say may even be true, but they don’t land very kindly. That leads to hurt feelings and damaged relationships. What should we do about the words we can’t take back? Does it help to apologize?

Often, I feel like just letting the situation calm down with time, and over time I can forget about it. But what about the other person? Can they forget about my unkindness so easily? But if I broach the subject with them, doesn’t that just open up the wound again? What is the right way to handle it?

The Bible says that we should speak the truth, but it must be done in love. When I’m angry, usually the love part is missing in my remarks. Actually, this can give us an opportunity to explain why it is necessary to apologize. As we ask the person to forgive us, we can explain that we knew we did not speak in a loving way and that is wrong.

I always need to be sure I don’t start explaining why I said what I did, becoming defensive. I need to make it a true apology. The other person’s behavior is not my responsibility; I am responsible to right the wrong that I have done, regardless of the offense I may have reacted to.

Maybe you face situations like this too. What is the biblical approach to take?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's Celebrate Success

This week on the radio broadcast Mary is talking about procrastination. When I heard the message I had to ask myself, “What am I procrastinating about?” The first thing that came to mind was losing the 5 pounds I’ve added recently. Oh no! Not that. I’ve kept saying I will tackle that when the rest of my life gets easier, when life’s current challenges are taken care of. Well, that’s never going to happen. That’s what I said about the other 5 pounds I added last year. (Oh yes, it’s true.)

But habits grab on and don’t want to let go. I REALLY did not want to make the changes I needed to in order to lose weight. But the little motto Mary talked about kept appearing before my eyes. For one thing, it was my job to design and order the magnets with the motto: Do it right and do it now! The verse on them is Colossians 3:23—Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. Well, this isn’t work, but it is stewardship of my body, and that is one job Christians are given to do. So I responded to my conscience and got serious about weight loss. After one week, “Yipee!” I lost 2 pounds. I can’t believe it! Success. That sets me up to charge on in my pursuit. I actually can break a habit. I’m encouraged, so let me encourage you too.

What are you procrastinating about? Can you face it and determine to do it now? Let me know what your challenge is, what goal you’re setting, and we can support each other. Then we can celebrate success together.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What To Do When You’re the Enemy

Sometimes we offend people without knowing it. But what should we do when we discover that someone resents us for something we did or said? For example, you may have had to tell a coworker that you couldn’t help him as he had hoped. Since then he has hardly spoken to you, but you really couldn’t help him then. How should you handle a situation when you’ve become The Enemy?


Sometimes we have to say no, and it may not be understood or appreciated. Assuming it was for good reasons, then we should not feel guilty about someone’s reaction. But that doesn’t mean we should just ignore the damaged relationship. We need to take the initiative to repair it, even if were just doing what was necessary.

Of course, how you may have said no is important, too. Hopefully you had explained your reasons, tried to find an alternative solution for him if possible, and expressed your regrets. If you had just dropped “no” on him like a bomb, that could be the reason for his hostile reaction.

You can ask God to give you wisdom in how to approach the person so that the relationship can be restored. You will need understanding, patience and a kind, gentle spirit. God is the author of those traits, so seek his perspective and help. God can also prepare the individual to be accepting and forgiving, so pray for that too.

Be willing to take the first step to patch up your relationship with someone you’ve offended. That’s what God did when we offended him with our sin.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When Others Don’t Walk the Talk

There are Christians in our workplaces that make a big deal about being a Christian, but then they don’t always walk the talk. Others notice it and may even make a remark to you if they know you are a Christian too. Has that ever happened to you? How do you handle it?

One thing we need to remember is that we never need to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus hasn’t failed; one of his followers has. So, don’t let this cause you to feel ashamed of being a Christian.

Don’t get caught in the trap of talking negatively about your Christian coworker. Take the focus off of his behavior and back to Jesus. You might say, “Christians are not perfect, and I’m sure there are things in my life that are not always pleasing to God. Please let me know when you see anything in me that disappoints you. You see, the great thing about Christianity is God freely forgives us and we can start fresh.”

Do you have other ways of coping with this issue?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Would a Workplace Bible Study Group Work?

What do you think of the idea of having a Bible study at your workplace during lunch? Are there people who would be interested? How should you go about it?

  • First, you need to make sure you have permission to use company facilities for your meetings. Remember that you don’t want to create any conflict over an on-site meeting. You may need to take it off-site.
  • Then choose appropriate material. It should be flexible to fit in your time frame, and you need to be vigilant to make sure you don’t go overtime. There should not be a lot of homework. I would try to make it an oasis in the middle of a busy workweek.
  • You could lead it or ask someone from the outside to come lead it, depending on your gifts and abilities. It should not focus on church orientation, controversial topics, politics or local hot buttons, but stick strictly to Bible-based teaching.
  • Pray much, but don’t be afraid to start it. It’s best to also set an end date so people won’t see it as a long-term obligation. You can then propose another 8 weeks (or whatever) and then continue in short terms as interest indicates.
I’ve seen God use a study like this for great good, and He can use you to reach your coworkers in this way. Would you be willing to pray about the possibility? You might be surprised to see who He leads you way and how He opens up the doors.
______________________________________________
Mary’s study material, Time Out Bible Studies, includes an eight-week study called Improving Your People Skills. It incorporates her teaching on a DVD and offers brief, practical lessons. You can order a set at 1-800-292-1218 or online at christianworkingwoman.org/catalog/bible_studies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Once I’d Love to Hear “Thank You”

Sadly few managers do a good job at positive reinforcement. Yet, encouraging words are far more motivational than constantly harping on mistakes. Someone wrote me these words, “My boss never says thank you, never gives me any recognition for a job well done. Just once I’d love to hear a positive word from him.” Gloomy commentary, but most likely we’ve all had thoughts just like it.

But wait, as believers we have a great advantage here. The Bible tells us in Colossians 3: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

If we perform our everyday work like we’re working for him, we're going to be recognized and rewarded by the Lord, whether our employer ever appreciates us or not. So, we can be happy to know that we can be assured of a heavenly reward. Does that encourage you? Now maybe you can find a way to encourage someone else.

Monday, September 27, 2010

If Only I Could Get a Drink of Water

This question has recently come my way: Lately I’ve been spiritually dry and I’m afraid this is going to harm my testimony on the job. How do I get out of a dry spiritual condition?

Every Christian I know has faced this dilemma. The heavens seem shut, and our desire to read the Bible and pray is dormant. We’re thirsty, but a drink of water seems out of reach. How do we get out of this state?

In writing of these dry periods, the prophet Habakkuk says “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior.” In order to apply this, I have found that I simply must set my will to continue to do what I know is right, and trust God to bring me out of this dryness in his time. I need to review what God has promised, what he offers me, and how he has demonstrated his love for me. I must rely on his Word, not on my feelings, and keep going back for reminders.

This is learning to walk by faith not by sight, and it can be a very meaningful time in our lives. You too probably have experience in walking through a time like this. How did you get through it to the other side? Did you find a good water source?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Happened To Your Job Security?

You may work for a large company that is now downsizing. What if your job could be eliminated? Does that frighten you?

That fear is understandable, but it might be good to get a different perspective by examining your source of trust. You may have been trusting in a large, seemingly-secure company to be your source of stability.

Now you have an opportunity to learn to trust God in new ways. God has promised that if you seek first his kingdom, everything you need to live—home, clothes, food—will be given to you. You can replace your fear with faith by confronting those fears with God’s Word. It helps to memorize Matthew 6:33, Joshua 1:9, and other relevant verses. Try quoting them each time fear starts to invade your mind.

You can rest in the full assurance that God has good plans for your life and he will never leave you or forsake you. That’s much better than any earthly employer can offer you.

Are there other ways you can deal with the fear of losing your job? I’d value your viewpoint.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Job Dissatisfaction–Does It Have To Be This Way?

I’ve heard people express a high degree of job dissatisfaction lately. You may be in a job that bores you to tears. Or there may be a lot of negativism there. You may have a terrible boss. You may be one of those who are ready to move on but cannot risk quitting right now. Since finding a new job is slippery in this economy, how can you inject satisfaction into the job you have right now?

Have you asked anyone for more responsibility? Have you volunteered to do other things? If all you have done is complain about it, then you are part of the problem. Have you noted the positives so you can focus and build on them? Your management may be waiting to see how much initiative you have. Can you perform a procedure more efficiently or make a task more productive or be creative in cheering up your corner of the workplace?

Perhaps you didn’t investigate the job adequately before you accepted it—a mistake to avoid in the future. Meanwhile, I would stay put for now and try to make yourself valuable to the organization. How can you exhibit a joyful attitude? In what ways can you learn the valuable lesson of being content in any situation? What have you learned that may help someone else?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Help For Heartache That Won’t Go Away

Sometimes we have such a heartache in our family or within ourselves that we can think of nothing else. It affects our work, and people at work notice it. But what can we do?

What Jesus wants us to do is leave our burden with him. When I have a troubling situation, each morning before I leave home I spend time taking my burden off my back and giving it away…to Jesus. He said I am to exchange my heavy burden for his light one. Trying to carry around this heavy burden with me all day saps all my energy. That’s what happens when I’m carrying the wrong burden.

I have to do this by faith, and I have to do it many times a day until I can truly learn to let go of the burden. I need to be prepared all through the day, so when thoughts of that burden invade my mind, I can turn it back over to the Lord. Jesus is qualified to carry my burden; I am not. He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. That rest is what we all want.

Where does your rest, your comfort, your strength in trouble, come from?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Things Men Look for in the Workplace

In my previous guest blog, I introduced the foundation for the basic findings from my latest book, The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace. If you missed that article, it would be helpful to reference that first so that these more concrete takeaways have a meaningful context. Three examples in particular jumped out from surveys in my research of how men generally viewed things in the office.

The Unwritten Rules of the Workplace. The male brain works most efficiently at work when he compartmentalizes out feelings and approaches that (in his mind) belong solely in one’s personal world. This gives rise to a set of unwritten rules and expectations of how things should operate—such as “you shouldn’t really have the same personal feelings at work as you do at home”—and thus establishes what and who is considered ‘business-savvy’ or ‘high-potential’ if they flow with those rules. Yet the integrated female brain is usually not designed to automatically fit into those rules; personal feelings, for example, cannot be compartmentalized away. Yet in the interest of advancing causes she cares about (not to mention her career), a clued-up woman can, if she chooses, decide to not show those personal feelings in a scenario that she now knows a man would find uncomfortable. As with all these issues, there is no one “right” answer: the key is awareness and the ability to make informed decisions on how to approach male expectations in the workplace. Depending on your work environment, here are a few suggestions to consider:
o Consciously monitor just how much of your personal life you discuss at work—even on
break, at the watercooler, and even lunch.
o Consider referring to personal leave time for say kids events, etc. as generically an appointment, especially when you scheduling a meeting with your male coworkers.
o Limit or completely avoid personal conversation topics at meetings

How Emotion Can Be Seen as “Not Thinking.” Unlike the male brain (designed to process one thing at a time, very deeply), the multitasking female brain allows women to process a fairly high degree of emotion and still be thinking clearly at the same time. Yet since men don’t usually know this (since their brain doesn’t work that way), men view the presence of emotion as meaning that logic has ceased (“Shoot…we are going to have to re-do this meeting later”). It is powerful once women recognize the need to manage their emotional perceptions, and men see that women’s relatively greater emotional wiring can be a strength rather than the weakness they may have thought. (For example, that same emotional wiring allows a woman to read body language cues at a much earlier point, have good skills in empathy and listening, and so on.) Consider some of the behaviors he may interpret as ‘emotional’:
o Holding too strongly to an opinion—we see it as passionate but he may see it as being emotionally attached.
o Revealing irritation by tone of voice, rolling the eyes, or exasperated sigh.
o Crying or overt display of any emotion from sympathy to anger to humor.

The Power of Respect. One of my greatest surprises in my research for For Women Only was finding that in their personal relationships men needed respect so much that when faced with a choice, three out of four men would give up love to get it. Vastly different from how women might view the “male ego,” women are surprised to learn that the same men who look so confident are secretly questioning themselves. So it is relatively easy for those men to see certain approaches from female colleagues (such as asking “why” questions in a staff meeting) as signals that that person is challenging their judgment. By contrast, men have an immense amount of gratitude and loyalty for anyone—man or woman—who shows foundational respect in their daily interactions. Beware of the possible unintentional signals of disrespect you may be signaling to men in the workplace:
o Public criticism
o A direct, brusque comment
o Questioning a decision especially with ‘why’ questions
o Micromanagement

While these three examples merely scratch the surface of how to enlighten or aid women in their current work situation, they effectively encapsulate just a few of the results from thousands of interviews I conducted with men in the corporate world. The actual survey questions and results on the website is eye-opening for any woman open to understanding the ways that men in the workplace may be perceiving her words and actions.

http://www.shaunti.com/BooksStudies/TheMaleFactor/Survey/tabid/379/Default.aspx

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Are You Coming?

In this impersonal digital world it seems like we have to struggle to maintain personal interaction. For sure, we have more means of communication than ever before, but sometimes we are overwhelmed with the amount of information coming our way. How can we avoid getting lost in the shuffle? How do we prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications?

Let me encourage you to attend Keeping Your Heart and Soul at Work. This one-day seminar will answer those questions and these:
• How can we develop a winning and empathetic way of communicating in this new environment?
• What do you need to understand about generational and cultural differences in communicating?
• How can you create community through these new media? How are relationships affected by technology?
• What are the most common email pitfalls to avoid?
• What are effective ways to communicate the love of Christ to our co-workers in this environment?

I hope you will join me for the day. It will be time well-spent, so just click here for more information. This seminar will provide a more intimate sized group than our bigger conferences, so I really look forward to spending time with you on Saturday, October 9, 2010. It's time to register now!

Monday, September 6, 2010

What You Can Do About Jealousy

This week I’m discussing jealousy in our broadcasts. One listener asked this question: “I’ve been given an honor by my company, and now my coworkers think I’m acting differently. I’ve asked God to forgive me if I’ve been prideful, but I sincerely don’t think I have been. How do I handle this?” Jealousy is interfering in this person’s work relationships.

It’s amazing how quickly former friends can turn on us when that green-eyed monster called jealousy rears its ugly head. Wise Solomon wrote in Proverbs 27:4: “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” In other words, it is more difficult to deal with jealousy than anger or fury. Would you agree?

When dealing with jealousy in the workplace, my advice is to pray for your coworkers and make sure you keep a heart of compassion for them. Do not be bitter toward them, but neither should you feel guilty about a deserved honor. Treat those around you with kindness. Let God’s love for them flow through you, and leave the results to God. You can’t change them; only God can do that.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thoughts In a Sling

I had rotator cuff surgery a week ago. Now, I suppose that there should be some spiritual lesson to learn from having your right arm in a sling for three or four weeks, but quite honestly, for me it's just another reminder that the world revolves very well without my total involvement. There are times you simply have to let things go. For a driver personality, with very little patience to begin with, I am learning that I can't make my shoulder heal instantly, and therefore, I must be patient even with myself and my body! But I'm very grateful for the medical advances that are available to us today, because even a few short years ago this would have been a much longer recovery. I look forward to the day when I'm out of the sling, out of the pain, and able to function at 100%. Until then - God is still sovereign!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Boundaries and Sexuality in the Workplace

Often when I ask others to identify problems in the workplace, the subject of sexuality comes up. A woman may constantly be saying inappropriate things to a male coworker. Or a man may be clearly coming on to a woman. If you are in a situation like that, what should you do?


If someone is constantly saying inappropriate things, and you have not asked them to quit, could it be that you enjoy their attention? What other choices would you have?

This is a place for you to set a personal boundary in order to keep your thinking clear. A situation like this needs immediate confrontation. It would be best to go to that person in an open place and apologize if you have done anything to encourage them; then explain that you want it to stop.

Jesus said if your arm offends you, cut it off; if your eye offends you, pluck it out. He means for us to give no opportunity to the lust of our flesh, and if you don’t take immediate action, you will be inviting trouble. This sort of set-up is a disaster looking for a place to happen. You want to make sure you are not contributing to it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Setting Boundaries at Work

Do you struggle with setting boundaries? Do you know how to set healthy boundaries in your life? The book Boundaries written by John Townsend and Henry Cloud convicted me that there were some boundaries in my life that I needed to work on.
While reading the book, I was working for a company that was making me miserable, stressed and due to the stress, unhealthy. I used to love my job until new management took over and only viewed us as money making machines. I was desperate to leave but felt stuck due to the pay and benefits. I had to learn how to not allow the job to affect who I was as a person. I started by saying “No” to the projects they wanted me to take on. I was one of their top performers so they continually gave me extra projects they wanted done. By saying “No” I was able to free up some of my time to focus on the work I enjoyed doing. I taught myself to not check my emails after work hours or on weekends. And guess what…the world didn’t end. I was able to start reclaiming the joy I once had at work.
It is very hard to draw boundaries when it comes to work—especially when you fear losing your job in this tough job market. If you are struggling with setting boundaries at work or in other areas of your life, then I would highly recommend checking out the book Boundaries.

Friday, August 27, 2010

How to Make Worry Work for You

Worried that you may have to re-locate for your job? Afraid to go to the doctor about the pain in your chest? Losing sleep over your review next week? How many more things cause you to worry?

You know, of course, worry can be harmful:

  • It builds stress up in your mind and body that can lead to illness
  • It causes you to lose sleep
  • It leads to over-eating, over-caffeinating, over-medicating
  • It distracts your focus from other important matters
  • It yields a long list of negative returns

But if it has bad returns, why do I say it can work for you? What if it can work to bring something positive to our lives? Then we should try to use it that way.

Look at Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. When I realize that I’m bogged in worry, I try to stop the struggle for a minute and look at my problem in light of this verse. That means first meditating on who the “LORD your God” really is.

In the context He was the God who won miraculous battles, led the people in specific ways, energized Joshua with unique ideas for conquest, brought justice, gave unusual wisdom for crisis, provided solutions for physical and emotional needs, and restored courage in the weak-kneed.

That’s the God who says He will go with me wherever I go. He will not leave me alone to deal with my trouble. That pretty much covers all the issues I worry about. On the strength of His character, my part is to choose to take off fear and discouragement and put on strength and courage. Doing that has taken me to places I could never have gone to alone.

Worry works for me when it sends me to Him. Worry works when it makes me consider His Word. Worry works when it opens me to Truth. How has worry worked for you?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Easy Time Management Tips

People are most successful when they have a routine. Usually having a calendar within hands’ reach is a good way to have control over your time management.
Here are a few quick tips on time management. Please add to them if you have found successful ways to manage your time effectively.

• Set a schedule for yourself by using a daily calendar. This way you can keep track of everything.

• Consider using a Family Calendar to make it easy for the family to see what they have to do for the week and where everyone will be.

• Make double the amount of food for dinner and freeze half to use for another day when you don’t have the time to cook.

• Make Lists. Make a grocery list, a “to do” list for around the house, movie list and etc.. So when it comes time to run errands you can map out your plan of action to get all of your “to do’s” done quicker.

• Call ahead before running to a store if you are unsure if they carry the product you want. This also can apply to restaurants. Call ahead seating is offered at many places and can save you time in the waiting line.

• Ask for help. Learn to delegate to friends and family. It is important to ask your family to help pitch in when getting household chores done.

• Make life as easy as possible by keeping things simple. It is okay to say no to good things to allow your schedule some balance.

• Set realistic goals for each day and prioritize what is most important. Get what is most important done first.

• Start each day on the right foot by spending time with the Lord. If the morning is not your best time to sit down for devotions, then make sure you schedule it in your calendar for later in the day.

What Could You Do To Manage Your Time Better?

This week I’m talking about time management on The Christian Working Woman radio program. This scenario fits the topic, so just imagine the scene:

Julie: Oh, my goodness, it's three o'clock already and I haven't finished that layout design. I promised the client he could see a sketch tomorrow. Wow, where does the time go? (Phone rings) Oh, hi, Jim. Sure I'll be glad to look at your new idea–just e-mail it to me. (Hangs up)

Sadie: (Walking in) Julie, didn't you have an article on that new software upgrade? I'd sure like to see that if you have it.
Julie: Yeah, it's here somewhere. (Scans her document files) I don't know where I put it, but I'll find it and send it to you, Sadie, okay?
Sadie: Sure, but I need it today if possible.

Julie: No problem! (Sadie leaves) How am I ever going to get this sketch done with all these interruptions?

Are you having difficulty managing your time? Interruptions are one chief culprit that can keep us from getting our work done on time, so we need to learn to manage them well. To be good stewards, we all need to learn some good time management techniques. I try to remember what Paul wrote to the Ephesians: Therefore be careful how you walk... making the most of your time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

I think this reminder should help us get serious about making the most of our time. Do you have other pointers to help?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Freedom of a Budget

Mary’s message this weekend is on money management and when most people hear the word budget they groan. I used to be that way, and it took a while to realize how freeing a budget can be.
I grew up with a father who had an accounting degree; although he never used the degree professionally, he always talked about the importance of managing money well. When I was around ten years old he started handing me sheets of paper that would have graphs showing how much you can save with just a little money set aside each week. All those handouts usually ended up lost, because in my foolishness as a young kid, I wasn’t worried about that kind of stuff. I wish I would have heeded his advice now because it would be helpful to have that nest egg now.
When I got out of college I sat down with my dad and made a budget. I moaned at first and thought this budget was going to keep me from enjoying life. But it didn’t. It did quite the opposite. I was able to save money for vacations and for going out to eat. If I didn’t spend the money, I could watch it grow in each column so I had more money to spend in that area later for a bigger shopping spree. Better yet, I paid off my first car in under 2 years. So if you haven’t tried budgeting, I want to recommend it.
There are two websites which have helped many Christians that I know with their finances. The first is www.crown.org. It is a Christian ministry whose purpose is to teach biblical financial principles. The second site is www.mint.com and they make budgeting easy. They even have an iphone application where you can get instant updates on where you are at with your budget.
It is important to remember that all of our money is God’s money. It can make or break us on how we handle this gift from God. So if the thought of budgeting makes you want to groan because you know you don’t have enough money to cover all the bills, take a step back, get down on your knees and you will be amazed at what God can do. I would love to hear the amazing stories on how God has provided for you and any creative ways you budget or save money.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why do I keep going to Africa each year?

I have been going to Africa for at least the last 15 years, maybe more—mainly to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda—where I have had the privilege of teaching women. My pastor always seems amazed that I'm willing to keep going, as though it's some great sacrifice on my part. But nothing could be further from the truth. I receive a greater blessing than I give, for sure.

I love teaching the African women because they are so hungry for practical biblical teaching, helping them learn how to truly live out the gospel in their everyday lives, explaining biblical truth. There's no greater privilege or satisfaction for me than that. But I also love to go because it has given me a worldview that has changed me.

This year we visited two homes of women who live such simple lives, having almost nothing of this world's goods. Yet their lives have been changed by their participation in the Tabitha Bible studies in that area of Kenya, and they are so thankful to have a Bible study to attend each week.

I received an email when we returned from the leader of Tabitha and she said that one of the leaders told her, "We were thirsty and just got a few drops of water. We want much more." They are hoping I will return next July, and by God's grace, I will. That's why I keep going to Africa.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Miracles

Part of my job is to edit Mary’s transcripts before they get sent out. One Thursday afternoon I was editing her transcript on Miracles, and little did I know that God was going to provide a miracle for me, so I want to share it with you.

My husband’s birthday is just around the corner, and I always come up with big grandiose plans that I want to do that are usually outside of our budget. So time has been ticking away and my mind has been running through ideas of what we can do to celebrate where he will still feel special without ruining our budget. I have been praying and asking God to give me wisdom on what to do. So when I was just about to give up, my father called to tell me that he knew someone who couldn’t make the Chicago Cubs Baseball game and that they wanted to know if we wanted the tickets. My husband is a huge Cubs fan and a couple months ago I looked at the tickets and they didn’t have any seats available. So I called this person up immediately and told them we would take them and asked what we owed them. They said, “You can have them for free!”

Then about an hour later my sister called to tell me that our Great Aunt gave her some money to give to me because she felt bad she had never given me a graduation gift. It’s been many years since my graduation, so this was an unexpected gift. I didn’t want to take the money, but you can’t fight with a stubborn old woman. So this was another blessing added to the day because I could then take my husband to the steak house I wanted to take him to for his birthday.

Later that evening I sat in my yard going over the events of the day with my husband, realizing as I shared that this was God’s miracle for me. He had provided me with the grandiose plans that I originally wanted to do that I didn’t think were possible. While it may not be a huge miracle in our eyes, it is amazing to see all the little miracles God does for us that we often overlook. He is there to provide for our needs and wants. Are there miracles in your life that you have over-looked and have forgotten to thank God for?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Men Want?

By our guest, Shaunti Feldhahn, best selling author of For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men.

In the movie, What Women Want, Nick, played by Mel Gibson has the power to hear everything women are thinking, including his female competitor who got the promotion he wanted. At first the shocking surprise of what women really think is so painful that he views it as a curse. But he soon realizes just how valuable this gift can be -- and uses it to his competitive advantage.

I felt a lot like a female version of Nick as I was researching my new book, The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace. My eight years of research were all about digging into the surprising, private perceptions that are common to men and often impact women – but which we would never hear otherwise. In interviews and surveys, I guaranteed more than 3,000 men anonymity to tell all, so women all across America could be equipped with knowledge that is mission-critical to effectiveness and influence with any male boss, colleague, subordinate or client.

During those years of research I realized that in many ways, the private thoughts and expectations of men functions like the unwritten rules of a foreign culture. When I was working on Wall Street, my job involved analyzing Japanese banks and the financial system, to make recommendations to decision makers. When you go into a foreign culture in that way, you expect to do homework so you know how what you do or say may be perceived in their culture. In many ways, understanding men is like that; there is an internal male culture that is every bit as real as walking into a foreign country. And it is every bit as important to understand how something is going to be perceived. If we grow fluent in this internal male culture, we as women can be much more effective, avoid shooting ourselves in the foot, and even remove some obstacles that we may not have even known were there.

What do men privately say when they are promised anonymity and can be completely honest and candid? Through personal private interviews, focus groups, and a nationally representative survey, The Male Factor identifies a number of hypotheses about how men think that were the greatest surprises to women. These topics became the starting point of each chapter, including:

  • My big picture observations of how men view women in the workplace
  • What is meant by “It’s not personal, it’s business”
  • The “unwritten rules” of the working world
  • How men view emotions – and what they see as ‘getting emotional’ in the first place
  • The secret inner beliefs, concerns and fears every man shares
  • The little things that drive men crazy
  • How men feel about getting it done no matter what
  • The visual trap that can undermine your career
  • Top themes that emerged when men were asked for their advice for women in the workplace

For more information on the book or the research, visit my web site at: http://www.shaunti.com/BooksStudies/TheMaleFactor/tabid/340/Default.aspx

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What To Do When Your Career Path Takes a Detour

What does your career path look like? Maybe you’ve met a roadblock and so now you are on a detour that doesn’t seem to end. Or you may have run into construction in the right lane, so you merged left and had to slow down to 45 mph. At this rate, how will you ever get to where you are going?

“How will you get there?” may not be the right question. Maybe the question should be, “Why am I on this alternate route?”

God is not blind to your situation. In fact, He may actually have a purpose in your being on this path instead of the one you had chosen. His GPS may be set on a different target than yours. What should you do then?

Look at how He has worked in the past. In Genesis 37, 39-47, 50, Joseph faced some major re-routing. Yet he was successful in God’s eyes and in the historical records of our faith.

Take some time to read and study the passages and then consider these questions:

  • How did Joseph respond to the upset in his life?
  • What might he have learned through his set-backs?
  • How did God show Himself to Joseph?
  • What did Joseph learn about God? See Genesis 50: 19,20
  • How can you apply these lessons to your situation?

After praying for understanding, it’s helpful to look at these passages to find God’s perspective on your career path. Then you might want to study the careers of other Bible characters, i.e. Daniel, Joshua. If you discern truth that would be helpful for others, please share it with me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Becoming more disciplined

The most difficult discipline for me is exercise and diet!  Anybody else there?  I have to work at it all the time.  I exercise first thing every morning--or else I wouldn't do it.  Here's my motto:  Whatever you have to do today that you don't want to do, do it first.  But every morning I have to talk myself into my exercise program.  Afterwards I'm so glad I did, so I've learned to think about how it feels when I've completed my 45 minutes, and how proud I am of myself for doing it, and that helps.

Being a good steward of our bodies is not easy, but it is a discipline that pays off.  Maybe you have some better ideas on how to make yourself exercise every day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Commitment

This past week a young 20 something's woman, working toward a Masters Degree, told me that her generation is very reluctant to make a commitment to anything or anyone.  To quote her, they don't want to feel "chained" or "tied down" to an event or a person; they want to keep all options open and have lots of freedom and flexibility.

I just wonder if others in that generation share that feeling, or perhaps it's not a generational thing, but a cultural thing - meaning that our culture has produced that kind of attitude in people of all ages.

Love to have comments from any of you!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dealing with Discouragement

I've written a Bible study entitled "Defeating Discouragement," so I should have it down pat, right?  Wrong!  I battle discouragement like everyone else, and because I'm in a visible leadership position, I feel as though I shouldn't admit it or let it show.  But that isn't a healthy way to deal with discouragement.

I have to remind myself that discouragement comes and goes--it's part of life.  And then I have to do what I know I should do, whether I feel like it or not!  There's something to the idea of just "bucking up" sometimes and putting discipline in place and keeping on keeping on!

God doesn't waste anything in our lives, not even discouragement.  And I was thinking that it's good to feel discouraged at times in order to relate to others, in order to practice what I preach, and in order to admit that I'm desperate without God!  How do people cope with discouragement when they don't know Jesus?  I wonder.

I've begun writing a new book which I'm calling "Get Over It."  So, I'll just use that medicine on myself today and say, once again, "Mary, get over it!"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Do I do enough?

Do you ever feel like you just don't do enough?  We had our missions conference at church yesterday, and as I listened to testimonies from several of our missionaries, I felt as though they were doing so much for the Gospel, sacrificially giving their lives, and my commitment and contribution seemed small compared to theirs.  I wanted to just volunteer right then to go overseas and do more for Jesus!

But then, in talking with a friend whose father-in-law was buried last Saturday, she told me of the many people who testified to the impact his life had on them.  Yet he lived a very simple life, was a carpenter, never visited a third world country, didn't preach any sermons or write any books.  But he left a life-long witness to the power of one life lived for Jesus.  Everyone who hired his carpentry skills soon came to see the difference in his life and the way he ran his business because he was a Christian, and he was greatly admired and loved by many.

I was again reminded that God is not so much interested in where we are, but rather in who we are.  And even if I moved overseas and sacrificed my "easy life" here, it would not automatically make my life more meaningful or effective for God's Kingdom.  I'm certain I don't do as much as I could do for Jesus, but living in a different place won't make the difference.

So, once again, I resolved to keep growing up in Christ to be the woman he wants me to be, and working here where he has put me, with the great joy of knowing that he takes the smallest things we do for him and makes them eternally significant.  What a wonderful Savior we serve!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What is the name of the women's ministry in your church?

I am Director of Women's Ministries at my church, and we have decided it's time to change our image!  We need a new name that will identify all of the events and programs we have under women's ministries.  So, if you've heard some names that really strike a chord with you, I would greatly appreciate you passing them on!

Thanks.

Monday, April 12, 2010

How do you mend a relationship?

I'm just wondering- have you ever had a relationship go cold on you, and you had no idea why?  What is our responsibility as believers when we sense something is wrong, and we search our memories to determine if we've caused a hurt or offense, and finding nothing, what are we to do?

I've been puzzled about this lately, and finally left a voice mail that said, "If I've done anything to offend you, please forgive me," which did generate a callback, but it didn't seem to make any difference.  Though this person declared there was no problem, there's just no doubt that the relationship has changed and not for the better.

If you have encountered this kind of challenge, how did you handle it?  The Bible says if we have something against someone, we are to go to them directly.  But this shoe is on the other foot--so I'm not sure if I should try further or just pray and wait and see.  Appreciate your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Weekend Getaway

If you've never been to one of our 22 annual weekend getaways, I want to give you a little taste of what it's like.  This year we had a great team of speakers and musicians, from left to right, Alicia Williamson-Garcia, Susy Francis-Thornton, me, Donna and Charles Butler and Vera Jackson.  Our retreats are the most diverse you'll find anywhere, and we rejoice in the richness of this fellowship.  In addition to great Bible-based messages and God-honoring music, we have a gospel choir on Saturday evenings, which the women can join and practice on Saturday afternoon.  It is always a BIG hit.

This year we focused on living for THE DAY, not today, truly learning to live with an eternal perspective.  It is the greatest stress-buster you'll ever find, and it will make a difference when you stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  We love to sing together and worship the Lord.  It was a great weekend.  I hope you'll join us next year, April 8 - 10, here in the Chicago area.  CDs of all the messages and workshops are available at christianworkingwoman.org or call us at 800-292-1218.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sexual purity

On this week's programs--which you can listen to at christianworkingwoman.org-- I address the topic of sexual purity in our society today.  I wonder if others see the breakdown in standards that Christians hold about sexual purity.  And the consequences of abandoning God's principles are just staggering.  Sexual sin has a bondage that is greater than most other sins, because it violates God's design for sexual relationships.  I would be interested in your thoughts on this topic.  Am I exaggerating when I say that Christians have let down the bar for sexual purity which the Bible teaches?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What would you do?

Recently I talked with a single mom who is working for a truly impossible boss.  He verbally assaults her and her co-worker regularly, with unrealistic demands, threats and generally treats her very disrespectfully.  But given our current job scene, she can't just walk out--she needs the job, and in fact, she likes the job.  But her health is suffering from having to take this man's abuse.

As a Christian, what advise would you give her?  After I hear from some of you, I'll share what I told her.  No doubt some of you have had similar experiences.  I'd like to explore what a Christian's response should be in such a situation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Blogging? Who me?

I've heard so much about blogging, but never really thought it was for me!  After all, my plate is full!  But I've become convinced that blogging is for me because it is an effective way to stay in touch with others, especially the younger generations, So, I'm ready to jump in the deep end and learn how to swim!

With the help of some experts and technically-oriented people, I want to use this blogging technology to hear from others, to run new ideas by others, and to have an open line of communication with many people.  I will be sharing some thoughts from topics I've discussed on my radio program, and inviting others to give me their feedback.

I'm looking forward to learning how to do this, and using this additional tool as an extension of The Christian Working Woman ministry.