Meaningful Living in the Hashtag Age

Posts tagged ‘inspiring’

Awesome God, Make Me Whole!

 

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There is a spiritual lesson in the making of a patchwork quilt. An early American pastime, the art of quilting used the imaginative designs crafted by women gathered in a quilting bee. Patchwork blocks made from fabric scraps and salvaged material accumulated from memorable events and treasured possessions are stitched and sewn into individual designs then aggregated into useful pieces. Colorful and oddly shaped fabric is cut, assembled and attached to create a complete work of art with three layers – the patchwork, the insulation and the backing – which is mended into a quilting masterpiece that is often passed done from generation to generation.

When I think of God’s masterful work to make me whole I see my life as a patchwork quilt. Scraps and salvaged parts of a life well-lived but often hard-fought cut, paired, and mended together by the hands of a loving God.  Each patch exemplifies my faith, my character and my capacity to love. Each layer is insulated by the Word and the strength of my salvation.  God is my Potter, my Maker, my Restorer and my Redeemer. Through His craftsmanship He has turned this spoiled vessel into something new. And He has transformed the tattered pieces of my life and restored me into a purposeful and enduring believer.

God has taken the jagged edges of my faith and cut away the doubt and uncertainty. He took the rough and uneven ends of my spirit and smooth away the unmanageable parts. God attacks the obscurity of sin that seeps into my mind and leaves me with the courage, through His salvation, to stay strong and to move forward with confidence.

I am His work of art. Tattered, bruised and weak, I am made strong through the love of an omnipotent God.  Even in my brokenness he can craft me into something whole.  His Word insulates my life and reminds me that the real work to living out my destiny is done inside and not on the peripheral of my flesh. My backing, or my foundation, is God’s love – a sweet but firm fortress of strength that keeps me humble and strong.

A Christian’s life is a work in progress. There is no day that passes that God isn’t cutting, pairing and mending our broken parts to make us whole again. He is the Creator of all things good. Resting in His arms guarantee us that we will be equipped and restored, beautifully packaged and secured through His love.

Jeremiah 18:3-4

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.

Isaiah 64:8

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Michelle D. Jackson is author of The Heart of a Man, a Christian novel and Founder of The Charity Supper Club, a program designed to raise money to benefit local charities and families in need.

This piece was printed in the March 2015 issue of The Mount Christian Lifestyle Magazine.

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Effective Management: What I’ve Learned So Far

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The U.S. labor force has changed over the last 25 years.  Workers today have access to career opportunities that didn’t exist just ten years ago.  Technology has equipped organizations with resources to help improve productivity and streamline processes in short order.  The internet alone has created platforms to help people find jobs, get trained and share professional experiences that are vital to assisting businesses in meeting their mission objectives.

After over 15 years working in management-level positions, I am well-aware that the road to economic globalization is being built on the backs of highly skilled workers therefore making everyone’s role in an organization essential to business growth. However, successful businesses still heavily rely on the expertise of their management staff. The old saying, “a company is only as good as its leaders,” is still true.  And in this day and age, when leaders are concerned about weak economic growth and down-sizing, there is a need to revisit, or revise, our game plan for creating productive work environments.

If I had to write a pocket-sized manual on preparing for management in the 21st century, here’s what it would say:

  • Good managers should never display passive-aggressive behavior. Employees with passive-aggressive behavior will often show non-verbal aggression that manifest in negative conduct. These are colleagues or co-workers who refuse to take responsibility for tasks, purposely miss deadlines and go over their boss’s head to make him or her appear incompetent. Good managers should never play a role in aiding passive-aggressive behavior and more importantly, managers should never display similar behavior when dealing with their employees. Here’s an example:  Your top producing employee comes into your office and ask for a pay increase without knowing that you were recently informed that due to budget constraints no one will receive bonuses or pay increases for the next 6 to 12 months. You are obviously frustrated to learn that you will not receive your much-needed Christmas bonus.  But during the meeting, instead of being honest about the situation, you become irritated, insulting and dismissive.  Although your actions fail to reflect your true feelings, the employee is left confused and angry. Effective managers must learn to be clear and honest about how they feel, particularly when the issue is important to the personal or professional livelihood of their staff. Don’t play emotional games with your staff and remember that you are setting the example for the entire team.
  • Learn to appreciate the Millennial’s new work ethic. They will check their Facebook and Twitter accounts a few times a day during work hours. They will bring iPhones to meetings and Google what they don’t understand (or what they think you don’t understand). They will challenge your ability to do your job and recommend what they consider are lean processes that will make your head spin. And many of them may not stick around long enough to redeem a 401(k) or pension plan.  But, on the bright side, Millennials will bring a level of creativity and technical savviness that can help you improve productivity. They will rightfully expect and aggressively fight for inclusiveness that will not only promote diversity in the workplace but will also allow you to learn from each employee’s unique personal and professional background. So, if you can overlook a few tattoos and piercings you will learn a lot from them and in return create a better work environment overall.  Trust me.
  • Never (ever) hesitate to make the BIG decisions. If your team thinks you’re weak, than you’re weak. Perception becomes reality. Being decisive as a leader shows that you are not afraid to make things happen and you have no fear of being accountable.
  • Stay focused on what matters most. This rule will never change. Get focused on the mission, stay sensitive to the needs of your team, make decisions, be accountable and get the job done. That’s what effective management is all about.

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