by Svetlana Papazov @SvetlanaPapazov
Everywhere that we’ve lived, we’ve built two-story screened-in porches. I love working outside, soaking in the beauty of greenery as I write. It was while sitting in those porches that I wrote my master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation. Now I work on my sermons, books, and articles from my current screened-in porch.
There is something deeply inspiring working in nature. I don’t mind the noise of children playing nearby and their shouts of joy, or even hearing the teenagers revving up the engines of their cars. Sometimes, when I’m sitting on the porch, the netting of the screen completely disappears from my perception. It is as though there is nothing separating me from my surroundings. I feel like a bird, perched among the trees, loving the feeling of being in the open air.
One day, while working on my writings, I decided to crack open the screen door. Suddenly, a bird flew in, and for a few moments, she believed that she was still outside. But when she realized she was trapped, things took a bad turn. In her panic, she only succeeded smacking herself against the screen walls again and again. I held the door wide open, trying to guide the bird in the right direction, but she was too fearful to cooperate with me. It took some time, but at the end, I was finally able to shoo her through the opening.
That day, that little bird taught me a lesson in partnership. The door was open, but the bird kept ignoring my frantic attempts to point her to freedom. Instead, she exerted so much energy looking for an alternate route, she tired herself almost to death. Her perceived way to freedom was actually her entrapment.
I’m not sure what your 2018 has looked like. Maybe it has been your best year financially, relationally, physically, and spiritually. If that’s the case, I am celebrating with you. Or maybe it has been the opposite. Maybe you had high expectations, but now feel disillusioned. Like my little bird, what you thought of as an opportunity in reality left you feeling caged and alone.
So many times in life, we try to chase assignments on our own. But we were not created to work in isolation. God has provided a faith community with which to join forces, partnering together to serve the God we love. Our abilities fit together like puzzle pieces. When they are woven together, they create something harmoniously beautiful. God wants to use all of our spiritual gifts jointly in the body of Christ to display his glory to a lost world.
Paul wrote, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16 NASB).As we partner together, the one ingredient necessary is love. Serving the body of Christ is not a competition. Each one of us is called to do life-saving work.
When we know those around us are working toward our good, we can trust. And trust is key to being able to work together.
As we begin a new year, let us join our efforts with our church family and do things God’s way. I have decided that I want my 2019 to be successful, so I do not want to enter it alone. I’m determined to work toward greater unity in the body of believers that God has graciously given me, because I know that they will come alongside me with strength, help, anointing, and favor. I know that when we walk beside each other, we are able to bring God’s purposes from heaven to earth in order to make an eternal impact.
What about you? Will you choose to align with a faith family to set you up for success in 2019?
God has so composed the body…so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:24-27 NASB
About the author: Dr. Svetlana Papazov is a senior pastor, speaking coach and entrepreneur who started five businesses and has written for great magazines such as Enrichment Journal, Leading Hearts, Vital Words and others.
What excites Svetlana most is to develop faith influencers in the marketplace. In 2016, she founded Real Life Church and Real Life Center for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Excellence. It is the first of its kind model of church and business incubator that connects people to God by merging faith and entrepreneurship.
Svetlana welcomes invitations for speaking, coaching and business consultancy. She lives near Richmond, VA with her supportive husband, two sharp kids, and an adorable Pomeranian. You can listen to Svetlana’s sermons at SvetlanaPapazov.com or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Join the conversation: How have other come alongside you to support what you are trying to do for the Lord?