"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us."
- 1 John 5:14
In life, most of our actions are motivated by the desire for a win in one area of our lives or another. This could be the desire to experience complete freedom from lack, the fight against fears that keep creeping back into your life, the need to experience love in a manner that resonates with your soul, the quest for accolades or praise, the need for validation – and so on. Adulting has taught me numerous lessons on how we should never peg our worth or value of self on the sentiments of others, and that sometime, when enough is really enough, only prayer and hibernation will cross you over the tumultuous seas. Allow me to share one such lesson which went a little something like this…
At my last place of work, I started off with some degree of low self-esteem as it related to my knowledge of the marketplace. It was my first gig going back into corporate after being an independent consultant in Southern Africa for a few years; yet here I was, now living in the UAE, and wanting to make moves that would be beneficial for my professional development.
Off course, showing up at the job for the first few weeks upon since having accepted my offer, they couldn’t tell by how well I dressed, the jewellery on my neck and wrists, how manicured my hair and nails were and the 4 inch heels on my feet that I did feel a little like a deer caught in headlights. Yes, I had landed the job and made a swift career change to add more dimension to my combined experience that spanned years working in corporate America before relocating back to Zimbabwe and working my way up in the very challenging environment that is Southern Africa.
Yet still. Somehow, a few years since working at building up my career post-America and now living and looking to grow further in a Middle Eastern country, the new faces, strong personalities and aggressive nature by which everyone around me seemed to get things done, had me questioning my knowledge of the industry and capacity to adapt. And so I made it my mission to hide the insecurities I carried of being the only black woman walking around for miles, or sitting at a table where meetings were held in every other language than that which I understood. Just when I thought I had gotten past the lack of confidence that stemmed from my battles with weight loss and being a stay-at-home mom while all my friends seemingly trailblazed in their work life, I found myself wondering if I was cut out to excel as a working mom, pulling mad hours at the office while ensuring that my young cubs didn’t suffer on my account of their mother’s decision to go back to corporate life.
God must have woken me up from my temporary self-doubt, because four months into my new role, I asked for a meeting with the MD at the firm. After a few incidences that left me with raised eyebrows, I needed him to know that I felt undermined and undervalued, and that I had more to offer the company than the scope and role they had given me. I am thankful that I heeded to GOD’s instruction to move forward – “Do not be afraid, for I will be with you”, He said, and with me He was. A few weeks later I received a promotion and a significant increase to my salary. What a win and a great sense of validation it was for me.
With this came with higher expectations. I worked hard, my confidence grew, and along the way GOD spoke to me about hosting events in Zim, and I received my release on writing my first book. Then came the warfare. I won’t go into how difficult the season that followed was – that needs a whole book in itself. For a short yet super intense time, everything that could go wrong did – my health deteriorated, one of my children had to have surgery, pressure at the workplace mounted to unsustainable levels – it all just got way too crazy.
There is always a turning point right; that point when enough really becomes enough. For me, it was when the bosses attacked me for making the decision to pursue my Masters and said “publishing a book was an indication that I was no longer committed to what was required of me in my role”. I was told I needed to put in more time to be eligible for a promotion that at this point, I knew was due to me on account of my service, experience and how much new business and old business I was retaining to the business.
Never mind the mental and physical stress I mentioned earlier that came with this season. That needs its own blog. When I say it all got to crazy – it did in that for the first time in a long time – I felt like I was barely scrapping the surface of sanity. The worst part was feeling like no one understood the inner turmoil that plagued me. I needed an out.
And so I turned to the only thing I knew how to do when my back was against the wall and I was stretched on every side.
After a full scale meltdown, I asked for some time off without explanation and locked myself in my room for a few days, only leaving to make a cup of tea or pick up the children from school. I hibernated, completely – a total shut down of all the noise ringing through my mind and ears. I needed clarity, and needed to begin believing again, those things GOD spoke to me about me through His word. Only undisturbed time with Him would ready me for what was to come – and I needed this time no matter the opinions of the outside world.
As I experienced the power of breakthrough coming out that season, I also began to notice that those people that had invested in my growth at that place I spent most of my time at, all of a sudden had choice, negative words to say to me. I went from enjoying my job to feeling suffocated and incapacitated. It was time to go, it was time to say good bye and move on – but the fear. What if I don’t find a good job, is this the time GOD wants me to start my new business or rekindle some of my passion on other things that I had shelved on account of an already demanding work life? What happens to our plans to get out of debt if we are short of one income? What about the projects I was believing in GOD for? I’ve only just launched my book – what next? Can my book writing really become a full time thing? As the tension at the workplace mounted, I got ready to tender my resignation. I was going to stay at home for a little bit and figure out my “what next”.
But GOD had other plans. When I accepted that I deserved better, and that some of the things that were being spoken over career and other parts of my life in that season were far from what I believed was for me, suddenly the calls from recruiters started coming in, with voices on the other side of the line saying they found my profile interesting and wanted to speak to me about my career prospects. I took the time to review what I had written on my CV, amending it to reflect how much I had changed in the season I was at the firm I reported to everyday.
Within weeks I had landed a job that now gives me the balance I was praying for when I was at my previous role. I actually have a weekend and get to spend time with my family without a call coming through about some client crisis, and genuinely enjoy what I do and the people I spend the majority of my work week with.
Now back to the part about pegging your worth on the opinions of others. Had I taken in all the things my bosses said about it being the wrong time to pursue my personal goals, I probably would have scaled down my efforts to pursue my calling at that time. Had I listened to their commentary about my not being ready for a new challenge, I may still be working at the firm right now, overworked and feeling undervalued no matter the crazy hours I put in. What I’m getting at is, when the season for your new beginning has come, it doesn’t always come with flowers and fairy dust. As with a baby being born, there are labour pains. My labour pains were the words said to me, the tension I experienced in just about every area of my life, that season of stretching that resulted in my drawing the line and saying – “You know what? Enough! GOD I need you to step in and help me make sense of what’s going on!”
Drawing the line and crying out to GOD became my lifeline. Still today I testify of what that breaking birthed. I saw GOD come down from heaven and re-arrange a whole mess, bringing things into alignment with what He wanted for my "next".
I pray that you too experience the tangible nature of GOD's turning around of events. I believe that in order to do so, you have to draw the line and speak into what you believe ought to be your reality. When GOD speaks, things come to pass. When we speak, we are acknowledging His ability to make a thing happen while we await it's manifestation.
Have you drawn your line?
Has enough really become enough for you?
Challenging insecurity and pursuing authentic living daily,