Updated: Sep 8, 2021
There’s a pathway out of the valley of the anxiety and stress of entrepreneurship. God used the apostle Paul to sketch a map for us in this passage from Philippians 4:4-8.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
A business owner would be hard-pressed to find a passage more practical and applicable to the rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship, wouldn't you agree?
Paul lists some helpful ideas for winning the war on worry. If you want to move on from chaos into calm in your company, consider what Paul is saying.
Step 1: Celebrate God's Goodness
First, he says to celebrate God's goodness, to "rejoice in the Lord always." Mind you, he's writing this from a Roman jail with no money and the thought of execution looking likelier every day that passes. He's not just saying to rejoice in the Lord always, his point is: don’t meditate on the mess.
The more you stare at the problems facing your business, the bigger the problems get. So when you have a problem and you're powerless over the circumstances, lift up your eyes and rejoice in the Lord. Rather than giving in to the anxiety, when you start to feel it, you lift up your eyes and rejoice in the Lord. Find some way to celebrate God's goodness - to see the glass half full in any business situation - and to be grateful for it.
This is the counsel of the Psalmist that wrote: "I lift up my eyes on to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1)
Do you see this intentionally in the words, "I will lift up my eyes?" This was the decision that the Psalmist made. This is the decision we entrepreneurs need to make when powerlessness shows its face.
The apostle Peter is a testimony to this verse. You remember how when the storm struck the Sea of Galilee, he knew exactly what 10-foot waves could do to a fishing boat, and Peter cried out: “Lord if it is really you, command me to come to you in the water,” and Jesus said, “come.” Then Peter left the boat and walked towards Jesus, but when Peter saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and he began to sink. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to do the impossible. But, when he saw the wind and the waves, he turned his gaze away from Christ and he began to sink.
The next time you feel like you're sinking in your business, and maybe that's today for you, lift up your eyes, set your gaze on Christ, rejoice in the Lord, and rejoice in his sovereignty. Is God greater than your company problems? Has God faced this problem before? Does God have solutions you haven't even thought of? Has God taken you through these types of things before? Does God have a good track record? Is God strong? Is God sovereign? Is God still on the throne? Is He over everything else?
Do you see how this is done? You're rejoicing in the Lord, you’re lifting your mind away from the business problems and you’re setting your mind on the one who can solve them. Don't meditate on the mess, instead, you rejoice. That's what it means to rejoice in the Lord.
Step 2: Ask for God's Help
The Apostle says having celebrated God’s goodness first, you’ll then be ready to ask God for help. "Let your request be made known to God."
You see, fear for entrepreneurs triggers either despair or prayer, so choose wisely.
God said: "call on me on the day of trouble." (Psalm 50:15)
Jesus said: "ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)
The entrepreneurial path free from anxiety and stress is always paved with prayer. That’s why the devil doesn’t want you to pray. The path of peace is always paved with prayer. The enemy would love to shut down your ability to pray in faith. When you pray, and you take a promise of God, and you declare it over your business in whatever area, the Bible says to "believe you have received it" (Romans 10:17).
Worry doesn't believe you received it. Anxiety doesn't believe you received it. Stress doesn't believe you received it. The enemy will attack your unbelief. The enemy wants your worry to start a domino effect into areas you've never even worried about before. It's crazy, all of the sudden you feel like your problems come in 3's. That's what's happening. It's a domino effect of worry. Cut it off through prayer and belief in the answer to that prayer.
Prayer and anxiety go hand in hand because God wants you to pray, and walk away. Don't sit around waiting to see if God has come through or not. That's not how it was designed. That would defeat the purpose of prayer. You'd still be stressed out and anxious if you had to wait around checking in every 5 minutes if God answered your prayer. No. You walk away, stress-free, anxiety-free, confident that God is going to answer the prayer, leaving you to continue running your business! You'll see new ideas and fresh perspectives - the very creativity God might use to answer the prayer.
Step 3: Practice Gratitude
And with anxiety now gone from your mind, you can now replace it with gratitude.
The apostle says, “in everything, by prayer and supplication, with Thanksgiving!”
Anxiety and gratitude can't share the same heart inside of an entrepreneur.
The next time you're anxious, begin to make a list of things for which you’re grateful. Your anxiety will begin to fade as you write because anxiety and gratitude refuse to share the same heart.
Step 4: Meditate on Good Things
Celebrate God's goodness in your business, leave your strategic concerns with Him, fill your heart with gratitude along your entrepreneurial journey, and lastly, meditate on good things all along the way.
As a financial provider to your family and employees, it's easy to let anxious negative thoughts in business take over your mind. Listen, you can't control your circumstances, but you can control how you think about them.
Peace comes from a stream of thought patterns. It's a mindset. You can be a Christian business owner, born again and on your way to heaven, yet still have no peace. Why? Because of what you’re thinking, because of what you’re meditating on, because of what you're dwelling on, because of what you’re focusing on. You're fixated on what’s going through your ear, what’s going on in your head, in between your ears.
Listen, this is why so many Christian entrepreneurs fail - it's because they're stressed and anxious over a situation for which Jesus has already given the victory. For example, if God promised that big contract, and you think about the fact that my God says "He shall supply all my needs according to his riches and glory," then your mind is constantly on the fact that God will supply you. Rich or poor, contract or no contract, the freedom from anxiety doesn't come from the situation or its outcome, the freedom from stress comes from our ability to keep our minds thinking victorious thoughts about what God said in His word and your confidence that He would do it because He’s done everything else that He said He would do.
So, the next time that anxiety awakens you at 2:30 in the morning, would you believe what I’m suggesting to you? I'm simply saying that it's not God’s will that you lead an entrepreneurial life of perpetual anxiety.
Your Heavenly Father will help you in your business endeavors. God will help you pull out the roots of your anxiety. Your #1 business partner and a wise counselor will help you deal with the fears that face you daily along your entrepreneurial journey.