Finding True Success at Work

I’ve always imagined success at work as something that can be attained by climbing up the corporate ladder or earning millions from a business. I grew up knowing about God and I surrendered my life to Jesus, my Lord and Savior, when I was in 3rd year high school. But, I still struggled trusting in Him when He allowed me to be unemployed for eight months after my college graduation.

THE STRUGGLE

Soon, God graciously provided a job for me, but I eventually questioned my worth when I did not have a salary increase 1 1/2 years later. In my quiet times with the Lord, He asked me “Nicole, is your worth based on your salary? What if you never get an increase, will you still be faithful in doing your best for Me?” I realized that my work and ability to earn money were privileges from the Lord. He is my Ultimate Boss and if He wanted me to have an increase, He will allow it to happen. A few months later, my bosses realized that there was a miscommunication in the management concerning my salary. In God’s perfect timing, they gave me an increase and promoted me to a senior position.

However, after one year, I thought of resigning when our company transferred to a different city. But, God impressed on my heart to first try the new office for three months before deciding to leave the company. On my third month, a new colleague was hired in our team and I found out that she was also a follower of Christ. God then spoke to me through Colossians 4:5 and I felt a strong urge to stay in the company so I could share Jesus to my colleagues.

 

THE CALL

My new colleague and I started having weekly Bible studies at a 7/11 store. Eventually, more colleagues, including two managers, joined us weekly in coffee shops. We had a growing hunger for the Word, developed accountability, and became intentional in praying for each other. Last 2016, I invited a colleague from our Bible study group to a True Life retreat in CCF, where he surrendered his life to Jesus and got baptized. The year after, he also invited a friend to attend another True Life Retreat, where his friend accepted Jesus and got baptized too! Now, my colleague is part of a discipleship group and is pursuing Christlikeness. Also, by God’s grace, he facilitated at a True Life retreat last weekend!

However, it wasn’t too long until close colleagues started to resign. This did not motivate me because I felt that I was missing out on better opportunities. As a result, my attendance at work and our weekly Bible studies dwindled. But despite my stubbornness, God inspired me to trust His purpose for me by allowing me to have three encounters with colleagues.

FIRST, last August, my friend and I were able to share Jesus to a colleague through John 10:10 which says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” She accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior and has been very excited to seek Him since that day.

SECOND, last September, another colleague asked me for counsel. By God’s grace, I listened and was able to share the gospel to her that day. She thanked me for helping her realize her need for a personal relationship with Jesus.

THIRD, just two months ago, a colleague asked if I could pray for him before going home. I did and I also shared the gospel to him. Two days later, he shared that he already downloaded a Bible app in his phone and started praying and studying one verse each day. After these encounters, God re-assured me of my purpose in the workplace: That is to be the best employee that I can be for Jesus and to share Him to my officemates.

When CCF (Christ’s Commission Fellowship) launched Life Goals this year, I knew that the Lord was telling me to begin sharing Him again. I had many fears and insecurities even after buying four booklets. “What if my colleagues aren’t interested? What if I don’t get to clearly facilitate and explain? I’m not a manager in the company, what influence do I have on my officemates?” But in 2 Corinthians 12:9, God showed me that His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. So, three weeks ago, I invited a few colleagues and they all said yes! However, just a few minutes before our first session, I found myself backing out as I told God, “Lord, can’t I just postpone this to next week?” But, the Lord reminded me that He is always with me. That night, the three ladies I invited made it! Plus, one of them invited another colleague to attend. They eagerly studied the Bible with me and expressed their desire to continue attending.

 

THE PURPOSE

In the next weeks, we continued meeting up and more ladies joined the group. As of today, I am having weekly Bible studies with six other lady colleagues. By God’s grace, after every session, they all share how much they appreciate the group and the opportunity to study His word. Two of them even said, “Nicole, thank you so much. Do you know that this is what we look forward to in our work week? This is clearly one of the reasons why you are in this company — so that you could start this and share the Bible to us.” This is only by the grace of God.

Sometimes, I think that I will only become successful if I keep on achieving my career goals. But, I am learning that True Success at work is not about what I have; it’s not about being in a better company, or having a better working environment. It is about being faithful and doing my best in what the Lord asks me to do for Him, with the resources that He has entrusted to me. It says in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” I don’t know how long I’ll be staying in this company, but, please do pray with me, that I will continue to walk with Him and trust in His good plans and purpose for me. Thank you. To God be all the glory!

So You Made a Mistake

I panicked this morning when I woke up at 7:38 am because I was supposed to be at the office by 7. By God’s grace, our meeting in the morning got postponed to next year, so I didn’t miss it. When I arrived at work, my immediate supervisor told me that I received an award (President’s Star Award – Outstanding Customer Service) during our company’s Christmas party the night before. Because of a family affair, I wasn’t able to go to the party, so this surprise really encouraged my heart. I felt like I didn’t deserve it because I knew my weaknesses in different aspects. It also felt ironic because I was late for work today. But nonetheless, I thanked God for His grace and extended my gratitude to my supervisor.

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Fast forward to 5 pm, I found out that my colleague and I experienced delays and miscommunication in one of our tasks. Unfortunately, our mistake led to a terrible domino effect on the other departments involved and we were called to the ‘principal’s office’. From 5 to 6 pm, all I could think of and feel was anxiety, regret, shame, and worthlessness. Immediately, I felt like I was melted cheese or a rotten vegetable in the office. I wanted to fly away and never come back. But, I couldn’t turn back time, I couldn’t linger on my regrets because those were already in the past. All I needed to do was to face the reality that I made a mistake, take responsibility, and learn from it.

While my colleague and I were trying to discuss things and seek help from my supervisor, a hundred discouraging thoughts quickly entered my mind which eventually crushed my spirit. I hurried to the bathroom and cried because I knew that I needed to let it out. I mustered a whisper to God and asked for His grace and mercy in the situation I was in. I asked for a miracle.

By God’s grace, a few minutes later, my supervisor walked in the bathroom and told me that one of our managers could help us out and somehow alleviate the stress and delays caused by our mistake. With a deep sigh, I thanked the Lord, washed my face, and headed back to my table in the office.

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Despite the roller coaster ride that I experienced today, one of the things that I am grateful for was the conversation that I had with my supervisor a few minutes after my bathroom break. We sat down in a private room and talked about what happened. She graciously listened to me and comforted me in spite of my weaknesses and it was really a heartwarming time. Instead of adding fuel to the fire, she (once again) graciously and gently rebuked me and gave me a kind of support that only a supervisor can give.

One of the things that she said to me that still gets to my heart was this: “Don’t let that one mistake define who you are. You did a good job this year which is why you were given an award. Even though you made a mistake today, it will not define you.”

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I silently listened to her words of encouragement. I was keenly listening to her voice, but at the same time, I was listening to God’s as well. It was as if God was embracing me at that time and saying to me that His grace is enough for me and will always be enough for me.

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Today was our last working day for the year and God made it as exciting as possible. By His grace, He allowed me to experience His goodness and victory when I received the award today, but at the same time, He also allowed my heart to get crushed and humbled so that I would be reminded that it was, is, and always will be because of Him, His grace, and His love for me. Even if I make mistakes in the future, I know that He never will. My security and hope is in Him and not in my own strengths. And I’m learning to focus on His grace and power and not on my weaknesses.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” [2 Corinthians 12:9]

So I made a mistake. It’s not a big deal because the beautiful thing about God’s grace is that He can turn even our greatest mistakes into our biggest blessings. Sometimes, He may even use our mistakes to bless others too.

Thank You, Lord, for 2014 at work. It has been a privilege working for You this year. I know that You are not through with me yet and I look forward to more adventures with You soon.

Be a Blessing in the Workplace

Every morning, my dad and mom would listen to the radio and tune in to 702 DZAS. This radio station has been a great source of encouragement and inspiration to our family. One of their segments, “Pro Tips”, which is hosted by Maloi Malibiran Salumbides, talks about action steps and biblical principles on being a blessing in the workplace.

Photo taken from her Facebook account. :)
Photo taken from her Facebook account. :)

Last February 18, 2014, I passed by the kitchen (where the radio was) and I heard the host talk about the Pro Tips for the day. I don’t remember her exact words, but I remembered some of the principles she said:

1. Be content with your work, but don’t be lazy. She encouraged the listeners to find contentment in God as we work for Him and not compare our work, tasks, and situations to others. Also, she emphasized that being content is different from being lazy. We must also learn how to strive and excel continuously at work because it is God’s blessing to us.

2. Continue to aspire and dream big. She also talked about how our God is able to do so much more than we can ever imagine or think of and because of this, we can hope and desire for bigger things in the workplace. (Eph. 3:20)

3. Be open to the things that God wants us to do. There would be times when God would speak to us about certain decisions at work (e.g. moving to a different department, looking for another job, starting our own business, training others, etc.) and it’s important that we open our hearts to these and obey Him when He tells us to do something. God can definitely use these faith steps and new opportunities to develop our character and skills. Most importantly, it’ll help us grow in our relationship with Him as we choose to honor Him in our career.

These are just some of the Pro Tips shared on the radio station and by God’s grace, they will continue to encourage us with more. :)

Surprise encouragement from my officemate who dropped by my area. :P
Surprise encouragement from my officemate who dropped by my area. :P

Sometimes, our work can get toxic and discouraging. But, whenever we focus on who God is, thank Him for the blessing of work, and choose to be a blessing to others in the workplace, He changes the way we view our work. And as a result, it positively affects our behavior and our influence to the people around us.

Surprise gift from my seatmate at work! She (Iza) made this, by the way. :)
Surprise gift from my seatmate at work! She (Iza) made this, by the way. :)

“Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.” -Colossians 3:23-24

Encouraging time with my officemate (Shermaine) after work. :)
Encouraging time at Hanako with my officemate (Shermaine) after work. :)

Looking forward to a great week ahead! Thank You, Lord, for the workplace. :)

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Celebrating with Strawberry Cake

Last Wednesday, I was thinking of baking Strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting for today’s blog entry. I wanted to bake a cake because it was my way of celebrating God’s goodness in my life. After eight months, He has answered one of my major prayer requests and I am very, very grateful! By God’s grace, today marks my first day at work! Woohoo!

strawberry cake
strawberry cake

After purchasing the ingredients last Wednesday, my mom and sister suggested that I bake on Thursday instead because it was already getting late. At first, I was hesitant because I wanted to bake already, however, I eventually agreed.

After a few minutes, I realized that I didn’t have parchment paper at home! I knew that I couldn’t bake the cake without it because the batter would just stick to the pan after baking and it would just end up in a mess. I was actually tempted to use wax paper; but, I knew that it would not stand the heat of the oven. It was obvious that in order for me to produce the best cake possible, I had to wait until the next day to buy parchment paper.

“Okay, Lord, I will wait.” I whispered before going to bed.

The next day, I immediately made phone calls and asked if certain stores were selling that type of paper. There was a time when I was already losing hope because it seemed like I was never going to get it. I told God something like this: “Lord, I really want to bake this cake today. I know that if it’s your will, you would provide the parchment paper. But, I thank you still, because I even have this opportunity to bake. Thank you, in advance, because I know that you will provide and make this a beautiful cake.”

I tried making a few more calls after praying and finally, I was able to find parchment paper in one of the nearby stores! Woohoo!

While I was already baking the cake, I was thanking God for being so awesome that day. Then, I realized that he actually allowed me to go through the “parchment paper hunting” experience to remind me of how the past eight months have been for me (and my job hunting). Talk about perfect timing!

strawberry cake batter
strawberry cake batter

I want to share snippets from my journal (conversations with God) about my job hunting experience, so you can understand my situation more. :P

November 8, 2011 12:04pm

…I’m feeling a bit sad because I still don’t have work… But, I thank you because even if I don’t see how things will work out, I still believe in your faithfulness…

strawberry puree
strawberry puree

December 8, 2011 4:00pm

…Sometimes, I’m still tempted to sulk and to compare myself to others. Some of my friends already have work and I wonder why I still don’t have a job. *sigh* But, you continue to remind me to trust in You and I do trust in you. Thank you for speaking to me again through your word and reminding me that I have hope in you. I just pray that I would continue to have the desire to love you more than anything/anyone else…

January 8, 2012

Pastor Peter asked us: “If you had one request to ask from God, what would it be?” Of course, I remembered my prayer request to have a job. However, you reminded me that that one request actually shows what is most important in my life. And Lord, more than asking for a job, I want to request that I may be more intimate with You in this waiting period. You are more important than my future job…

February 8, 2012 10:53am

…No work yet. But, by Your grace, I can say that I am actively waiting for the best first job you have for me. Thank you also for reminding me of your promises in the Bible and helping me dwell on your different characteristics…

March 8, 2012 10:15 am

I want to work… But, even if you don’t answer my prayer immediately, I still choose to thank you, Lord. I trust you so much. You are in control.

One of the things that I learned from 2 Samuel 2 today is to always seek your opinion first before making decisions. For the past months, I’ve had the opportunities to be interviewed by different companies, but somehow, you still haven’t given me the blessing. Please continue to give me wisdom…

April 8, 2012

(Our family was touring Singapore and sadly, I wasn’t able to write in my journal and read the Bible that day. Although I had some prayer time with God, I still missed the privilege of learning from his word. Looking back, I realized that God never changes. Even if I sometimes am unfaithful in my walk with Him, He still is faithful. He still loves me the same. What an amazing Father! :) )

May 8, 2012

There are times when I still feel pressured by the people around me, especially when they say something like this: “What? Wala ka pang work? Ang tagal mo nang naghahanap ah.” I just laugh when I remember those moments, but, of course, it still stings a bit when I think about it. *Sigh* But, I thank you because you continue to encourage me to continue doing my best in job hunting and to trust in You, my Hope. :)

strawberry cake
strawberry cake

 

I read this in my quiet time “Psalm 21:2 You have given him his heart’s desire” and it reminded me of how you answer prayers. Sometimes, I’m still tempted not to believe it. But, Lord, you are God and I am not. You can do anything.

June 8, 2012

7:23am

Thanks for today! I have an interview later. I’m kind of nervous but, Lord, I will get out of my bed, I will step out in faith and do my best later because I believe if it’s your will for me, you would provide this job for me. You are in control. I read psalm 49 this morning. Thank you for reminding me not to place my security on earthly things. You’re everything, Lord. You know I will praise You no matter what happens today. :)

4:30pm

WOW, LORD. I GOT THE JOB. WOW. WOOOOOOW. o_O Thank you!!! :”)

strawberry cake
strawberry cake

YESSSSSSS!!! After 8 months, more than 60 applications sent, a number of unsuccessful interviews/job applications, a rollercoaster ride (emotionally and spiritually), consultations with God and people around me, etc… God has answered my prayer request to have a job! :) Woohoooooo! :D :) :D :)

strawberry cake
strawberry cake

SO, TODAY, I CELEBRATE AND PRAISE GOD BECAUSE:

1. God is God – He is sovereign. He knows what He is doing. He knows what’s best for me.

2. God’s timing is always perfect – Even if I got the job eight months after my graduation, I can clearly see the reasons why He allowed it to happen; that this is His best for me; and that this is where he wants me to be now.

3. God understands – Throughout the past eight months, He has comforted me in so many ways and He has reassured me of His love for me, especially when I was at my lowest moments.

4. God is faithful – in spite of my unfaithfulness sometimes.

5. God answers prayers – He gave me the desires of my heart: to be more intimate with Him and to have a job. Interestingly, He gave the job to me when my heart was fully surrendered to Him. Only by His grace!

After baking the strawberry cake, I got so amused that I started doing research about strawberries more! According to www.whatscookingamerica.net, strawberries that have been harvested do not ripen. This means that it is important to wait for the strawberries to fully ripen before picking them.

That simple trivia reminded me of how God let me go through the long wait before picking me and placing me in the workplace that I am in right now. I guess He wanted me to be “ripe” first. He wanted me to focus more on Him and have my character molded by Him before giving me the privilege of having work.

Thank You, Lord! You are forever amazing… and I want everyone to know that! :D

Encourage yourself one treat at a time! :)

Recipe by: Brandi from www.lookimadethat.com