Host: Mimika Cooney
How do you do ministry through your daily life? If you’ve grown up in the Church, you might have thought that unless you’re in full-time ministry working in a church, that you’re not doing God’s work. The reality is that 99% of us are doing God’s work in the marketplace!
This takes a mindset shift.
We might not be where we want to be, but we can thank God we are not where we once were. Learning how to let go and let God direct your day is very satisfying and brings enormous peace.
I want to encourage you that you don’t have to look at your past experiences as something to be endured, or something to shove away under the carpet and never talk about again. Your life experiences are there to teach you, and it’s going to make you stronger.
I’ve realized that life is like driving a car. If God isn’t in the driver’s seat, eventually you’re going to run out of gas. Burnout is not a pretty sight. You can’t go anywhere on an empty tank.
Newsflash! Everything you learn, and everything you go through is not for you; it’s to benefit others.
When I realized that my life isn’t about me, I said, “Oh, what a relief. Thank You, Lord. I don’t have to keep worrying about messing up or being perfect”. I realized that I’m not a human doing, I’m a human being!
The big question is, what has God created you to be?
I’ve realized through this process that God is a God of seasons. Look at how He works. He never rushes us from winter to summer. There has to be a growth process. Many of us have a hard time understanding His timing and the seasons of life that we are in.
Once you realize that even seasons like winter can be beautiful, you are ready to embrace your new adventure!
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Welcome to Mimika TV. Get ready to break through barriers, fuel your faith, pursue your purpose, and market your message so you can impact the marketplace for God. Come and enjoy a conversation I had with Dr. Pam Morrison on her podcast, “Rooted by the Stream.” Enjoy.
The big problem is that, especially if you’ve grown up in the Church, you’re made to think that unless you’re in full-time ministry, you’re not doing God’s work. The reality is that 99% of us are doing God’s work in the marketplace. Because if you think about it, people live and go to work. We have commerce, we buy products, we buy services, we create things, we create services. Even having a job, working for someone else, is still part of the marketplace. We spend most of our time during the week at work or running a business and meeting others.
That’s where I feel the real ministry is. So I’m really excited about helping equip those who are called to leadership—not necessarily in the Church, but those who are rooted in the Church—who feel led to be either businessmen or speakers or even mothers who are raising future leaders. If you look at Jesus’ ministry, He didn’t say, “Hey guys, I’m going to raise funds and we are going to make a building. So everybody, come and join Me on Sundays.” Rather, He went out to people’s homes. He went to them, He traveled to them. He washed the feet of the people who were considered low lives.
He’s the One who had dinner with people. He went out, He infiltrated the marketplace, He met people where they were. I feel this is a huge shift we need to make, especially with the way the world has shifted. As Christians, we need to be willing and open to see where God is. It’s not about, “Hey, this is what I’m doing, God, so I would like it if You could bless me. Thank You. See You next week.” Not at all. Instead, God is saying, “I want to partner with you now. I want to be with you in your waking and your sleeping moments.”
For me, God is my business partner. I gave up my tickets and my membership to “Control Freaks Anonymous” a long time ago. It was exhausting trying to manage my own life, trying to make my own decisions for myself, and having God on the shelf when I needed Him.
I realized that doing life with God is so much more fun. I finally realized what He means about having childlike faith. It was like, “Oooh, God, what are we going to do today?” Then He might say, “Okay, I want you to send just a quick note here. And I want you to post that.” I’m like, “Okay, cool. Well, this is going to be fun.” And I’ll wait and see what’s going to happen next. Majority of the time, though, I will not see the results immediately. It might take months or years before I start to see how that seed that I planted—for example, that positive word that I gave someone, that encouraging word I said in my podcast or wrote in one of my books—has made such a huge impact.
I believe that when we align ourselves with God, He then does the multiplication. It comes back to the loaves and fishes. From a business mindset and as a marketing strategist, I’m the type who says, “What’s the plan? We need a blueprint. We need A, B, C, and D, and we need to follow the plan and tick off the boxes.” I also love lists, but I had an epiphany. This was a catalyst for my book, Worrier to Warrior: A Mother’s Journey from Fear to Faith. What I didn’t know about myself was that I was living out of fear. Every decision I made was based on a fear response.
I would have thoughts of, “Well, if I don’t do that, maybe they won’t like me. And maybe if I say that, maybe I’ll offend them.” I would constantly have this internal pull that would say, “You need to be doing something else with your life. Either you’re in the wrong place, or you’re doing the wrong thing, or this is the wrong time.”
I like things done yesterday. I’m a go-getter. I get up and go do things, sometimes to my own detriment. I’ll keep pushing myself until I fall over as a I was laying on the floor. And my husband’s like, “You only have two gears. It’s full blast at a hundred miles an hour or full stop. There is no in-between with you.” God’s still helping me figure that out because sometimes I’m like, “What? You want me to do nothing? But does it mean that maybe I should be thinking of this?”
One time, He gave me this vision. He said, “You know, you and I are like in a car on this awesome journey. We decided we’re going to this great place. You said to Me I can be in the driver’s seat. And yet you are like the backseat driver. Every time I say, ‘Okay, we’re going to go here, you are looking at the GPS.’” Then I’d find myself saying, “Okay, God, there’s a detour there. I think we should take 59 on 77 and then turn down 45.” And He’d tell me, “I’ve got this; I know where we’re going.” Then I’d ask, “Are You sure we shouldn’t go and stop there? And maybe we should check out what they do. Oh, look what they’re doing. That looks super cool.”
Then He’d respond, “Will you just chillax? I know where we’re going. I want you to stick your head out the window and just enjoy the breeze.” It’s like with a dog or kids. They’d stick their head out and feel the breeze and enjoy the ride. And I’d go on, “Are You sure we got enough gas? Have we checked the oil lately?” Then He’d probably say, “Oh, you are driving me crazy. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.”
It’s taken quite a few years to get my sticky fingers off the steering wheel, off the GPS, or even off the maps. It’s a work in progress. I’m not saying that I’m perfect. None of us are. But like a big epiphany, it hit me in between the eyes, what He means by glory to glory.
We might not be where we want to be. I thank God I’m not where I was. I’ve learned to let go and let God direct my day. It relieves a lot of pressure when you are living in that control-freak-perfection-performance like I was. I was addicted to performance. When people read my bio now, insert eye roll. Because that was the old me constantly striving for accolades and attention. I didn’t realize there was an internal root that kept growing, a root of rejection that had been fed way back when I was a kid. And I’m sure all of us have a story to tell.
We all have the junk in our trunk from our past. There’s always some trauma or some story that leaves us scarred. Just brushing them under the carpet and trying to pretend like everything is fine is not okay. We are mind, body, and soul. Our soul is made up of our mind, our will, and emotions. And Jesus resides in our spirit. But sometimes, when we haven’t dealt with those roots that are still trapped in our soul, like our emotions, especially in our mindset, the body will tell us. Disease is dis-ease. When you’re not living in ease, your body is screaming at you, saying, “I’m in pain here. I’m trying to tell you something; something isn’t right.”
The way I grew up in South Africa, it was a bit different. My eldest, who’s 21, says, “Mom, you grew up like in the baby boomer stage in South Africa. You were like 20 years behind the rest of the world.” Because I grew up in an environment where corporal punishment was still allowed. You misbehaved, you get whacked on the hands if you were a girl, and on the heinie if you were a guy. But we were told, “Suck it up, buttercup. I don’t care how you feel. It’s not about your feelings. You just have to pull yourself together and pull up yourself by your big bootstraps and put on your big-girl panties and just carry on.” So I’ve always had that built in me, even though it’s painful, you just have to push through. And that can have a two-edged side to the coin. Either it could be, yes, resiliency is good and not giving up is good, but sometimes, we can push too hard and we get into our own strengths.
I’ve realized, if you’re driving a car and if God isn’t in the driver’s seat, eventually you’re going to run out of gas and that’s not a pretty sight. You can’t go anywhere. If you get stuck on the road, things start to go. The fan belt breaks, the clutch pedal doesn’t work. And eventually, you’re not going to be an effective vehicle for change.
I’m very visual. I’m always thinking in pictures, and asking, “What does this mean for me?” I also talk very fast. I have to learn to slow myself down. God would tell me something if I would just zip my lip. Once you see all that glitters isn’t gold. We have a choice in life. We can either go internalize our anger and often that results in a lot of depression. It can get worse that way. And some of us go the other way, we go external. We start to shop and scream and get aggressive and want to prove to ourselves that ain’t nobody going to treat me like that ever again.
We make these vows to ourselves that I don’t want to feel that way. For example, I got severely bullied when I was 13, and I allowed those stories to stay with me. I was going to prove to them that I wasn’t stupid, that I had something to offer. I got teased for not being great at math. So I wanted to prove that I have worth. Unfortunately, when we go that way, we really move away. It’s like moving outside of God’s umbrella. Our umbrella with God is how He’s designed us. He’s designed us with our gifts, our talents, our skills, and with certain experiences, which are there to prove us.
I love movies. I see something prophetic in a lot of movies, especially movies like “Wonder Woman,” where we know we’re chosen for something important. But just like anyone, she has to go through bootcamp. And sometimes, it hurts. People are coming at her and she’s throwing her sword around and she’s doing flips and tricks. Bootcamp isn’t pretty and it’s not comfortable. And that’s what life is, it’s sharpening us, making us ready. So when we do need to step up and fight, we’ve had the experience.
That takes a mindset shift. I want to encourage you that you don’t have to look at your past experiences as something to be endured, or something to shove away under the carpet and never talk about again, or something to prove. They’re there to teach you, and it’s going to make you stronger because everything you learn and everything you go through is not for you. Newsflash! When I realized my life isn’t about me, I was like, “Oh, what a relief. Oh, thank You, Lord.” I don’t have to keep worrying about what it is I’m doing and realize I’m not a human doing. I’m a human being. What has He created me to be?
I need to just stay in my lane, stay under His umbrella, and realize He’s given me grace to be who I am in my lane. I don’t have to worry about Susie who’s doing things in her lane. Let her do her thing. It doesn’t bother me. I just need to stay in my strengths. And I need to stay where God wants me to be because I believe grace is one of those things that He gives us. Grace is described as unmerited favor. Some people in the world like to call it being lucky. I don’t believe in luck. I believe it’s God’s favor. And sometimes grace for it is seasonal.
I definitely noted this during the years I was a professional photographer. I remember when God was shifting me and I was very resistant. I felt the grace lift. Like before, I would do things and things would go well, I’d just get clients. I’d take these beautiful pictures. I never had an issue with my camera. Then all of a sudden, the day that grace lifted, God was telling me, “This season is over, you need to move on.” I was like, “No, this can’t be!” I was still holding on. I pushed and shoved and tried and things went wrong. Clients started canceling. My camera started acting up. I started making silly mistakes. This is not to say that God is not there for us. But there will be times when He wants us to shift into something else. He’s turned the page, while we’re so busy trying to reread the last chapter or linger, when He’s like, “No, it’s time for a new chapter.”
I’ve realized through this process that God is a God of seasons. Look at how He works. He never rushes us from winter to summer. There has to be a growth process. Many of us as have a hard time understanding the timing and the seasons of where we are in life. Even things like a winter season can be beautiful. I remember I was going through a very hard time, between 2015 to 2017, I’ll call those the wilderness years. The whole time, I’d be crying out, “Oh God, get me out of here. This is terrible. Everything’s falling apart.” I was having a really hard time with one of my kids who was seen as severely depressed. My business fell apart, and I was trying to do these business launches and I lost money. Physically, my body just collapsed.
I was burnt out, I literally couldn’t move. I felt exhausted. I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing. It was almost like banging my head against a stainless steel wall. And God told me, “I want you just to rest.” I asked, “Say what? Rest? Like, what’s that? Shouldn’t we be doing something instead of resting?” This was a very painful process, but if I had just surrendered, I probably would have saved myself a lot of pain. What I’ve realized is, in that winter season, germination happens. The ground is dirty, it’s mucky. You can’t see it. It’s dark, it’s cold. And for a whole winter, you don’t see any growth. There’s no greenery, there’s no fruit. It seems dry, and arid. And you’re like, “Why am I here, God? Get me out of here.”
It’s similar to how a butterfly becomes. First, it’s very comfortable being a caterpillar, crawling on the ground, seeing the world from a low level view. But there comes a time when God’s says, “Okay, time for the transformation.” What happens is a caterpillar goes into chrysalis. This is scientifically interesting. During that process, in the dark while it’s in a cocoon, it seems like it’s still, but what’s happening is that the caterpillar is literally turning into mush. Its whole body is going to change and transform. And you think, how amazing is that? That from a caterpillar, this transformation is happening at the right time. And when the transformation and the training and the healing and the realignment have happened, then God will say, “Okay, it’s time to break free when it’s springtime.”
But so many of us think, “I want things to go back the way they were. I don’t like the way the world’s turned,” instead of just saying, “Okay, God, what do we have right now? What are we working on in the dark?” God will work on you and build your character in the dark, in private. He knows that you are mature enough and ready to handle the criticism when it goes public. You see these stories of celebrities who get famous too fast, they crash and burn. It’s because they haven’t had character growth. Long story short is don’t fight the process if God has you in a winter season and it seems hard. Instead of asking for the next get-out-of-jail card, think about, “Okay, God, let’s shorten this time now. What do You want me to learn? What areas do I need to grow in? What weeds do I need to get rid of? What rocks are holding me back? How do I create a heart that’s good soil?”
So then when the time has come, and the sun starts shining, and you’re ready to come out from the darkness, you are rooted and you’re strong and you’re ready to take the world on and do exactly what God has required of you with His grace. Then it becomes fun. And it won’t be as before, like how kids would act and ask, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” As parents, we say, “Would you be quiet? We’ll get there when we get there. Asking me that question isn’t going to make the whole process speed up, so just sit back and relax and then do something fun in the backseat, for Pete’s sake.”
It’s the same thing with God. I realized, I kept saying, “Get me out of here. This hurts. I don’t want to be here. Can we move on now?” If you have some pain and you have some trauma, it’s oftentimes, “Why me?” We feel like the victim, asking, “Why has this happened to me? This is not fair. I don’t understand it.” And you think of God as a good parent, just as we are parents. We look at the different seasons and the stages our kids go through. When we’re toddlers, of course, we’re going to kick and scream and throw a hissy fit when we don’t get our way.
What a challenge to raise a strong-willed child. I remember when my daughter was two and my son was about six weeks old. So there we were, in the store. My daughter decided she wanted something, and I said no. She then threw herself on the ground, screaming like a fish out of water. Eventually, I just left the groceries and carried her underneath like a football, and went home just to get away. I told myself, “This ain’t happening right now. She’s not gonna be mature enough to go to the store yet so I am not doing this.”
Instead of me kicking and screaming and wanting my own way, I started realizing, “Okay, God, what is it that I need to learn? What can I do about it?” Then I went into do mode, like, “Okay, I need to fix things. I need to do that, I need to make that, I needed to create that. And let’s push, push, push.” We go through that process and realize we come to the end of our own self, we come to the end of our own rope; we realize we are finite. There’s only so much we can give as human beings. And that’s where God talks about being connected to Him. He’s the Vine and we are the branches that if you try to disconnect yourself from God, you will eventually wither and die. So it’s important to stay connected to continue growing.
A tree doesn’t become a tree overnight; it takes time. And eventually my question started changing to “Okay, God, what about me? What should I be doing to help You?” Instead of going to God and saying, “I need this and this and this, and this person needs this,” just like an eight-year-old giving Santa Claus a Christmas wish list, you start to get a bit more mature. And as a teenager, you’re like, “Well, it’s going to be about me. I don’t like this. This is so uncomfortable.”
But eventually we grow up and realize that as an adult, life isn’t about me. I’m here to take care of others as a parent. And I understand God’s perspective now that He couldn’t give me what I wanted because I didn’t have the capacity and the maturity to handle it. He couldn’t give me everything on my wish list when I was eight because He knew that that wouldn’t be good for me, either. There were certain things I had to learn to wait for, because waiting is a great way to build your character. Then of course, as we become parents, we realize this isn’t about self-gain. This is about how I can turn around and help the next generation. So like anything, there is no overnight from mustard seed to huge tree.
There is a process. And I think if we allow ourselves to go through that process and start asking the right questions and striving towards that bit of glory that God says in His Word, we eventually come to a stage where we align with God and He becomes our partner. And we’re like, “Hey God, what are we doing today? And He becomes your friend.” It’s not about religion. I am allergic to the word “religion.” To me, religion is a man-made set of rules that dictates how you should behave. God isn’t like that. He wants to play with us in the mud and go jump in puddles and have some fun outside even when it’s raining. It’s like my 10-year-old. Every time it starts raining, everyone freaks out because she wants to go outside. But she says, “I want to just stand out there and lick the sky.”
And we realize, that is a great analogy. So chillax, and be more like a kid. I think if we have that mindset, too, there is growth. And as a good parent, God can’t give us everything we want. He knows there is a certain time we have to be in timeout, but then there’s a certain time to grow. And as we get old enough and we have to go through learner’s permit before we can drive a car by ourselves, it’s the same thing with life. So I want to encourage you, it doesn’t matter where you are right now, embrace the season you’re in. What’s past is past, where we were was probably in our comfort zone. But being in the comfort zone is a boring place to be; nothing grows in the comfort zone. We have to be ready to push out, extend ourselves to something new, and stretch, just like a rubber band.
When you first get it out of the box, it’s really stiff. It has this rubbery smell. As you start to pull on it and stretch it and put it to use what happens is it never regains its original shape. It expands with more capacity. It’s able to do more because it’s being used. So we need to be flexible and allow God to use us and to stretch us to new areas and new places and say, “This might have worked last chapter, but God is doing something new,” especially now in the world and the Church.
I think we need to press our heads tightly to God’s chest and say, “God, what is it that You want me to do in this season? What is my role to play? I know You’ve designed something. What’s the script? Tell me the script and what I need to do in this play.” Because God is the Master Director. We all have our positions and our places, and we just need to be aligned and get in the right seats. The worst thing we can do is try to be on somebody else’s bus going in the wrong direction. Eventually, it will take you where you don’t want to go. So my encouragement is, what God presents you with today, go with that.