24 November 2017

To Get Better Results, Be Your Authentic Self

Celebrate-silhouetteOne of the themes in my teaching and writing in the past few years has been to “be your authentic self.” The more authentic you are, the better results you will get. I have experienced this myself, in both my personal and business life. If you are your authentic self, you will get better results too.

Rick Warren writes about authenticity in his inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life: “Of course, being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection and being hurt again. Why would anyone take such a risk? Because it is the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy. The Bible says, ‘Make this your common practice: confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.’ We only grow by taking risks, and the most difficult risk of all is to be honest with ourselves and with others (p. 140, the scripture is James 5:16a from The Message).”

Form Small Groups

I have a vision of JobSeekers having small group meetings throughout the week; we’ve taken steps forward (and backward) in this direction. After the JobSeekers meeting on Friday mornings, many folks hang out for a while in several informal gatherings. I hear that many of you meet at other times during the week.

My vision also includes support groups meeting at some of the local churches as well – not for a official, formal meeting, but instead for the heart-to-heart relationship building that takes place during some of the more difficult days of our lives.

Here’s more from Warren’s book: “People wear masks, keep their guard up and act as if everything is rosy in their lives. These attitudes are the death of fellowship (p. 140).”

If you want to see a textbook example of this, go to a little league baseball game and listen to the dads and coaches talk to one another. In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge calls these men ‘posers.’ He says, “Most of what you encounter when you meet a man is a façade, an elaborate fig leaf, a brilliant disguise (p. 52).” I’d rather sit by myself than witness their puffed-up pride and listen to their braggadocio.

By the way, I am not immune to this; I’m trying to overcome my human condition every single day. I confess that I am guilty of ‘posing’ sometimes too.

Be Your Authentic Self

Friends, if you are out and about, put your game face on. Be positive and energetic. Smile. “Fake it ’til you make it.” But let me make this strong recommendation: don’t fake it with your close friends, with God, or with yourself. Yes, first be honest with yourself. Then be honest with God and with your closest advisers. We are here to help, or just to listen.

One of the many reasons I enjoy what I do is that I get to meet with and help people when they are more in touch with their authentic selves. The loss of a job and the challenges that come with a career transition can remove several layers of pretense!

I get frustrated with the few clients who keep secrets from me. How am I supposed to help them when they don’t lay all their cards on the table? They experience negative consequences like longer job searches, lower pay or less-than-satisfying jobs because they withheld information that I need to know in order to help them.

Which cards are you holding back? What do you need to disclose to your three closest advisers? What secrets are you keeping from God? (You aren’t doing a very good job on that one, by the way!) Think about it. Pray about it. Then do something about it.

See you this week at JobSeekers, the place where we can be our authentic selves!

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

The Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace

UntoUsAChildIsBorn7For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

– Isaiah 9:6

I realize many of you are experiencing a sense of loss, or loneliness, or hurt, or fear, or frustration, or even desperation on this Christmas Eve.

When the prophet Isaiah wrote the verse above 2700 years ago, he was addressing the concerns of the troubled nation of Israel. Five verses prior he writes: “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.” He continues to write about those in the midst of darkness, death, burdens and oppression. Then he offers his message of hope.

Hope is available to all of us through the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Receive wisdom from the Wonderful Counselor. Tap into the power of the Mighty God. Lie in the arms of the Everlasting Father. Feel the love of the Prince of Peace.

I encourage you to attend a Christmas Eve service this year.

If you don’t have a church home, or if you wish to attend a service with a friend, call me on my cell phone: 770-823-2710. I’m a member of Peachtree City United Methodist at 225 Robinson Road. Our services are at 5:00, 7:00 and 9:00. I’m attending the 7:00 service, but I’ll meet you at any one of these services 20 minutes before it starts. Just call me on my cell and we’ll make arrangements.

May the love of the Holy Child of Bethlehem abide in your heart, and may the Prince of Peace fill you with hope and joy in this Christmas season. Amen.

Copyright © 2016 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Christmas from a New Perspective

If you are unemployed at Christmas for the first time this year – or for the first time in many years – I suppose you’re looking at Christmas from a new perspective. (If you’ve had any other major life events this past year, you’re looking at Christmas from a new perspective too.)

When your life and career are rockin’ and rollin’ along it’s easy to say something like, “Money is nice, but it’s not what makes me happy; I could live on a lot less.” Or maybe something more like this: “Being a manager in a well-known company and having over 20 years of service is nice, but it’s not what makes me happy; I would be content no matter what my circumstances.”

Now that you’ve hit an inevitable bump in your life and career, maybe those words don’t ring so true anymore. If they don’t, I encourage you to listen to the disquiet spirit within you to figure out what it’s saying. The message is important; it’s up to you whether you listen and take heed.

When I hit a rough spot in my life and career, my prideful gets self dashed against the rocks and pounded by the waves. I learn not only to look at Christmas from a new perspective, but at all of life from a new perspective. I am being transformed by the renewing of my mind. (Notice the present tense here; I have a long way to go.)

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what’s God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

The pattern of this world is “success.” The world measures success in titles, degrees, income, houses, cars, toys, vacations, children and spouses. In Joy That Lasts, Gary Smalley describes how his life changed when he hit a rough spot: “For the first time I began to realize my major mistake: I was expecting to find fulfillment in people, places, possessions and position.”

The pattern of God’s kingdom is “significance.” Life is about moving from success to significance. It’s about moving from the sinful, human nature that is within all of us – toward a higher, Godlier nature. I wrote this a few years ago when I was struggling with this issue:

Christmas isn’t about the money we spend; it’s about the time we spend with God.
It’s not about the gifts we give; it’s about the love we give to one another.
It’s not about preparing our homes for guests; it’s about preparing our hearts for Christ.

– – – – – – –

Arriving at Christmas without a job is one more mile on your journey of faith, one more step in your sanctification process, one more call from God asking you to allow him into your heart – or into the deeper recesses of your heart. In Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul said, “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Here are three quick points from Paul’s words above:

1. Put off your old self.

He lists deceitful desires elsewhere in his letters; they include: anger, greed (which he says is idolatry), selfish ambition, lust and envy. (These five desires are selected from Galatians 5:19-21 and Colossians 3:5.) Referring to these desires in his song, “The Change,” Steven Curtis Chapman sings, “I got this way of living that I have to die to every single day.” Chapman says that even though he’s a Christian, he still has to suppress his human nature every single day.

2. Adopt a new attitude.

Be less like Eeyore…

You may have to fake it ’til you make it, but put on the best attitude you possibly can (except with God and about three close confidants). Nobody wants to hire Eeyore, so stop acting like him and start acting a little more like Tigger. Follow Paul’s instruction in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

3. Put on the new self.

… and more like Tigger.

Here’s where the growth occurs. God speaks to us through our feelings. If we are experiencing negative feelings, he is showing us an area for growth. As we grow we become more like Christ, as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” As we grow we are transformed in Christ’s likeness.

Christmas is about God’s presence in our lives. He sent his Son, born a lowly birth, to live and die as one of us, a perfect example for all mankind. Take the three steps above; you will begin to experience God’s peace and feel his presence in this Christmas season. Here are two final words for this week from Paul:

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:5-8

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, where life and joy and hope and peace and power abound.

Copyright © 2016 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved