Joy Wins Blog: Notes from the desk of Sword of Joy founder, Tina Joy Cochran
CRASH! My heart stopped and I found I was holding my breath…. the pieces of the glass seemed to be everywhere. For a long time I just stood there looking at it.
How could I be so stupid !?! Why wasn’t I more careful? Now the precious dish I had been holding on to so tightly was gone….
There was nothing of value left, just a big mess I needed to clean up and I would have to do it VERY carefully so I didn’t get hurt.
Wait, was I hurt already? I carefully examined my hands. Only one small cut, hardly a need for a bandage. And yet I found myself still standing there with all my focus on that cut. The more I looked at it the more it seemed to hurt.
That’s when the “what ifs” started. What if I got hurt more by trying to pick up the pieces? What if someone else came in right now and they got hurt? What if I didn’t find all the pieces? What if they found out I had broken what they gave me? What if things were never right again?
So I stood there… frozen, crying and shaking, stuck in the brokenness of my own making.
Quietly, my husband walked into the room holding a broom and dustpan. Gently he held me till the crying stopped and I started breathing again. He placed a bandage on my finger and guided me to a soft chair. Then he returned to the mess.
As he bent to pick up the biggest pieces I realized that nothing would ever be the same again for the dish. It could never go back to being what it was, BUT maybe the pieces that remained could be used to create something new, perhaps even something beautiful.
That is what God wants to do with us. He wants to take our broken mess and create something beautiful from it. The truth is, he knows. Before we were even born he knew exactly how broken we would become.
He has a masterpiece design in mind and we are a part of it. But so often when we find ourselves in that broken place we stay there, frozen by the pain, “what ifs”, fear and overwhelm. The shock of seeing what we held so dear destroyed is too much for our human heart and mind to bear.
Quietly he whispers… “My ways are not your ways”… “I know the plans I have for you and they are good”… “I came that you may have and enjoy your life”…
Gently he holds us, bandages our wounds and guides us to a place of comfort and safety.
Then he clears the mess. He keeps the broken pieces that fit in his masterpiece and discards the rest. With loving care and his awesome power he fits those remaining pieces into an amazing beautiful place that he designed just for us.
All we have to do is be willing to listen, lean, and let him….
There’s a dark side to owning a business. The one most entrepreneurs will never share. There’s a weight that greets us every morning, a screaming in our minds that drives us to work harder and longer than ever before. It’s the reason most quit and the reason we start a businesses in the first place.
Every minute of every day, we live with a deep passion to make a difference, to create something that has an impact on the world to help, to inspire, to change the lives of those we love. We have a hope to leave this world better than we found it. So we start our business with the question… “What if?”
What if my idea is something important?
What if this business will give me all I dream?
What if things can really change?
“What if” drives us out of our comfort zone and into the world of start-up, funding, sales and networking… things that scare and excite us at the same time. We launch into the deep with fanfare, grand openings and ribbon cuttings. Our smiles sparkle in endless pictures, posts and emails.
Then reality sets in and “What if” turns dark and cold.
What if this doesn’t work?
What if I was wrong?
What if I can’t do it?
And then the one that surprises and scares us the most…
What if this grows bigger than I ever imagined?
Suddenly the business we love, the one that brought us so much excitement, becomes a stone, or worse, a noose that chokes and binds. We find ourselves standing, with a tight chest, fighting back tears at the crossroads of decision.
Commit or Quit?
The question taunts and tears at our hope until we can’t sleep, think or talk about anything else. Our family and friends start using words like “obsession” and “workaholic” which only chokes more.
Over and over, day after day… “What if?”… “Commit or Quit”… greet us in the morning and go to bed with us at night. It will only stop when we find the secret to the success we crave. Some of us never do and quit. Living with “What if” for the rest of their lives.
Some of us find a secret to success that changes everything.
The weapon that wins this battle is joy. Not a feeling, a relationship that brings a peace beyond understanding. Joy is the secret weapon of successful entrepreneurs. When we unleash joy our businesses and our lives begin to grow and thrive.
How do we find it? By answering “What if” with “Go ask Jesus”. When we allow Jesus to be our business partner he takes care of every “What if”, all we have to do is release to him. It sounds simple but its true. I’ve lived it and walk this road every day, trust me, the road is narrow but it’s worth it.
If you are standing at the crossroads of “commit of quit” today, my challenge to you is this. Choose commit. Not to the business, but to Jesus as your CEO. Let him send “What if” packing. When you do joy will be will be yours and you will discover peace you can only imagine.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. - John 14:27
All my life I’ve been told, “You have to make a plan”, “You have to have goals”, “You need to live up to your potential”…….
It’s a lie……
Life is not about goals, the long term plan, my potential, or a vision board of the future. Life is about being. All the stuff we hear that tells us to set SMART goals and then work towards those goals as the source of success is wrong. BUT.. That doesn’t mean we sit around and let life happen to us either. We have to prepare.
You see, the truth is God has a plan for each and every one of us. (For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) So the plans WE make are really useless. God is ultimately going to win in this world, whether we believe it or not. His plan is done. It was done the day Jesus said “It is finished”(John 19:30). So why are we trying to change it?
BUT what about our free will? We do have a will and a mind of our own. We can rebel and go our own way. We TRY to live our own plans and build our own potential and success. We can try and for a time it seems like it’s working. In the long run it won’t work.
It’s really about preparing. Our job is to prepare to receive the blessing and plan God has for us. Our job is to listen, to study to grow and to prepare so that God’s plan can be worked out in us. We need to focus on getting to know God and build a relationship with him so we can be prepared for every twist and turn in his plan. By keeping a focus on him we develop a “listening ear” that makes us sensitive to his guidance. He’s the one with the plan anyway, why not listen to him?
Preparing to receive is the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. It often feels backwards to everything I’ve been taught about the path to success and happiness in this world.
It’s time for me to face the truth. Time to “come clean” and finally admit it.
I am a UNIQUE and I like it.
I have spent most of my life searching, for a way to fit in. Thinking if I could just find the “right” thing I would be like everyone else and be “stable and happy”.
It never worked out. I ended up being the one who was chronically discontent. Never truly “committed” to anything and never staying put for very long. Every few years I would burn all my bridges, and move on to the next thing, believing that around the next turn would be “the place” I fit. Always feeling left out and always wondering what was wrong with me. Until now… until today.
Today I am standing on my own two feet, facing the truth and claiming it. I am NOT “duplicable” and I never will be. I guess I always knew it, but felt it was wrong somehow. Starting today I will ENJOY my unique view of the world and stop trying to be someone else. Maybe I won’t fit with any one group but I will be my own person and true to the woman God has made me to be.
Today I celebrate the woman God created and am grateful for his unconditional love for me.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” — Psalm 139:14
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about joy, what it truly means and how to live your life filled with joy. Here’s what I’ve discovered….
Most people think joy is a feeling. We hear people say, “that gave me such joy” or “I’m just filled with joy today” to describe when they are feeling exceptionally happy. The problem with feelings is that they are temporary and very, very fickle. You can go from bliss to miserable in a matter of seconds. So when we describe joy as a feeling we are selling ourselves short.
Joy is a decision, a commitment. To live your life filled with joy each day is to make a conscious decision and commitment that you are going to open yourself to being the person God designed you to be. When you make that commitment you will be amazed at just how wonderful life can be.
Sometimes life hurts. Can you still be joyful when it hurts so much? This question has been on my mind more than usual this week. Recent events have me looking for joy in places devastated by tragedy. Guess what… it’s still there.
Where is joy when life hurts, when your feelings say that you just can’t take anymore?
Joy is knowing that you have been created by a God who loves you, who counts every hair on your head and who has a plan for your life that is good.
So when you don’t feel the joy what do you do? You take a breath, close your eyes and commit once again to the path he has laid out for you. Trusting that you will make it and it won’t always hurt this much.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
"The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see -- a splendid crown in the hand of God" - Isaiah 62:3
(Our "Impact Scripture" keeps us focused and growing)
Sword of Joy Consulting, Raytown, Missouri 64138