Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Building Up What You Have

            My dream and desire is to take this business to the next level, to expand and grow into a national company, not just a local company. Around Christmas and opportunity presented itself to make this dream a reality. This opportunity that presented itself was to expand to a new area. At first, it made sense to do it. The door was open. But was it the right time? It would mean I would have to be in a different state for many weeks, away from the main business here in North Carolina. It would mean I would have to entrust all the daily workings of the company to someone else while I went away and built from the ground up. Was this an opportunity that the Lord had presented? These were questions I began to ask. I began to pray and seek an answer from the Lord.
            Crickets. That is what I would call the space in between my prayers to the Lord and His answer. Crickets. Absolutely nothing. Dead air. The more I prayed the dead air I got. I began to think the Lord had abandoned me and that I was going to be left all alone to figure out the answer to these questions I had. But, I know my God too well to know that He never leaves me, nor will He ever forsake me; no matter what my heart tries to tell me. I asked friends, family and my pastor to pray alongside me as I sought the will of God for the business. Still, nothing but crickets.
            The month of January came and went and it was one I hope I never have to repeat. One thing after another happened. Things were falling apart. Services were being dropped, clients were beginning to complain, cracks were being exposed and I was at a loss. I did what I always do and I ran to His Word. The more I read the more I realized that I needed to focus my attention on the foundation of this company and less on the walls that surround it. I needed to make sure the cracks were filled in and that they were secure, stable and established. Policies, procedures, new hires and rearranging of people took place. January was a “we need to regroup” kind of month. But this hope of expanding kept presenting itself, and my prayers did not stop. Finally, today, I got something other than crickets, I got an answer.
            “At the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of the Lord and his own house, Solomon rebuilt the cities that Hiram had given to him, and settled the people of Israel in them. And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah and took it. He built Tadmor in the wilderness and all the store cities that he built in Hamath. He also built Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars, and Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had and all the cities for his chariots and the cities for his horsemen, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.” 2 Chronicles 8:1-6 ESV
            Solomon had a heart to build, and the ambition to go with it. He had a dream to build and make great cities for the Lord. He built the temple, he built a palace for himself and he built cities for his people to live in and to prosper. Solomon was an entrepreneur. His heart was full of ambition. He had a dream, a desire and a passion and he actively did what he had to do to make it happen. With the Lord’s blessing, of course. We all know how Solomon’s story ends, and it’s not a happy one. He eventually let his passion overtake his pursuit of God and fell into idolatry and sin. But God was with Solomon. He blessed him and strengthened him and gave him wisdom and understanding to do what it was that God had called him to do. It wasn’t God who left Solomon, it was Solomon who left God.
            As a business woman, as a Christian woman, I pray every day for God to give me wisdom and understanding. I have no idea how to run a company, let alone how to build and expand to new cities. My dream and desire is to be national, but is that God’s plan for me right now? No, I don’t think it is. Maybe one day, down the road, but for now, I need to focus on building up these store cities that I have and fortifying that which is currently in my possession. I have been given a land and a kingdom, now I must make sure it will stand.
            Solomon built store cities so that if Jerusalem was attacked, if famine or drought came, there were supplies there to help the rest of the nation. In business, there are certain areas or divisions that are going to be more profitable and they will carry more of the weight for the other areas that are lacking. Currently, I have one county that is booming and its growth has helped me build up into other cities. This county that has been the most profitable can carry some of those other counties that are not. If we are going to be attacked, those counties that are profitable will help defend those that are not. It is important for me to build store cities before I try to expand to new cities.
            My heart is full of ambition, but sometimes, ambition can blind us from seeing what is right in front of us. Sometimes, we want to jump into the deep end before we have learned how to swim. Is the Lord showing me that I may never expand? No, He is only showing me I need to wait. I am that “get out ahead of God and ask Him to bless me later” kind of person, so I have to be very diligent to make sure I am praying, seeking and asking before I start running. It would be a bad decision for this business right now if I were to leave and go to a different state for who knows how long. Right now, my focus needs to be on building up and fortifying these store cities I have been given. When famine strikes, my business and those who work for me will be secure because I did what was right for them first.
            We must protect and make secure what we have today so that when war comes, when the attacks come and when the drought comes, we are prepared. We have to be certain that we have built God’s way and not our way. I will admit that this is not the answer I was hoping for. I was hoping for a green light from the Lord. The door was open, and it looked like the perfect opportunity to expand, but not right now. The cracks, the struggles and the issues we have faced these past few weeks has shown me that I need to fortify what I have before I try to go and conquer new territories.

            Don’t get ahead of yourself. Fortify and build up those store cities that you have. Let God bless you and grow you and be content to be where you are now. Ambition is not a bad thing to have. Just don’t let that ambition overtake the wisdom and understanding God has given you to fortify what you already have. Amen.