Are you trusting God through the process? The ins and outs of life can take unexpected turns, but read this month’s INNER VIEW with Jodie Swee as she encourages us to grow, view failure through a different lens, and earn our place of influence with others.
Jodie Swee is a spiritual director, dating coach, and founder of Topanga Social, a dating service for imperfect Christians. Jodie has authored four Bible study series and shared her joy and authenticity with audiences for over 20 years. She lives in the South Bay of Los Angeles with her husband of 16 years and their 2 daughters.
Kathleen Cooke: What’s the one thing you’d like to share with women that God has recently taught you?
Jodie Swee: Trust the process! Growth and accomplishment don’t usually happen overnight. If you spend quality time with Jesus regularly, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and do your best with what you have, then trust that the Lord will take care of you and lead you to where you need to be.
When you trust the process, you discover an invitation to experience things differently. Failure becomes an opportunity to learn, detours become adventures, and the lack of control over external circumstances becomes a chance to surrender your internal perspective to the Lord.
I recently had a conversation with my best friend, and at that moment, I wasn’t trusting the process. Let me share with you what she told me.
She said, “Babies have to grow.” And she’s right. Our babies…our hopes, dreams, and expectations for the future… need to grow. They need to grow so that the Lord can teach us how to take care of them before they become unruly teenagers with their own ideas!
So, my dear friends, trust the process and enjoy the adventure it brings.
Kathleen: Failure today often dismantles us. How have you dealt with failures in your life?
Jodie: I hate failure. I loathe it. It makes me feel all squishy and small inside, and for many years I used to hide from it behind excuses. But not anymore. Instead of running and hiding from my failure, the Lord has taught me to turn and face it. Don’t get me wrong, I still HATE it, and it makes me feel icky inside. My initial instinct is still to run and hide, but the Lord has granted me the ability to pause before doing so (or before getting too far) and embrace my failure.I don’t embrace it for long, but rather than run from my failure, I receive it…and then bring it to the Lord and yield it. When I do that, he transforms it into something else…something beautiful and beneficial to me and/or others.
Twenty years ago, I was speaking at a young adult event in a church. I completely bombed. After I finished, someone in the crowd actually shouted, “That’s it?” I thought I would be consumed by shame. I blamed it on my lack of talent/skill and ended up quitting speaking for a decade. Until the Lord invited me to try again (which is a sweet, sweet story for another time).
Last year, I was speaking at another church event, and once again, I completely bombed. I experienced all the familiar feelings, but then I laughed (a little) and brought it to the Lord. In doing so, I discovered an opportunity to deepen my spiritual practices before and after speaking. The failure became a gift that will serve me and others for the rest of my life.
For a long time, I thought that someday I would be so wise and experienced that I wouldn’t fail anymore. Bless my naive little heart! Now, I am indeed wiser and more experienced…and I know I’ll never outgrow failure (this side of eternity). It’s not something to outgrow or run away from. It’s something to embrace, even with its uncomfortable feelings, and surrender so we can experience more of God’s transformative love in our lives.
Kathleen: You have a deep passion to help others with growing strong, meaningful relationships. What have you learned about developing relationships that last and can be trusted?
Jodie: I have a deep and fierce love for people, and I pastor many. It is my purpose and passion. However, personally, I tend to be somewhat of a loner. Surprisingly, my inner circle is quite small, not by choice but by some intentional design, I believe. Throughout my adult life, I have consistently sought out a steady mentor, but I have never had one. Nevertheless, I have been fortunate to receive bits of wisdom from older friends who have come and gone throughout my journey.
I have ADHD, and I’m not awesome at keeping up with people who live far away. (Out of sight, out of mind is LEGIT for us neurodivergent homies.) I didn’t meet my best friend until I was 42. She was leading worship; I was giving the message…and we bonded for life over the realization that we both experienced the love of Jesus through the TV series Outlander. (That’s weird, I know…but that’s why she’s my bestie.)
My relational experience over the years has taught me to enjoy and delight in what I have, grieve and release what has been lost as a natural part of life, and always be on the lookout for my next kindred spirit to pop up in an unexpected place.
Kathleen: What’s the one thing you’ve learned about how we can influence others?
Jodie: Honestly? I’ve learned that influence can be a sneaky and destructive beast, and it is important for us to be mindful of how we wield it and the individuals we permit to influence us.
Influence should not be won; it should be earned.
I believe that it is earned by faithfully pursuing our calling with our whole lives (public and private), being honest and saying “I don’t have an answer to that” when we don’t, and being intentional about sitting under the authority and influence of God. Any influence we have not supported by a firm foundation in Jesus is just an invitation for that sneaky Satan to twist and misuse. Influence shouldn’t puff us up or make us strong; it should keep us humble and desperately in need of the Lord’s guidance.
Connect with Jodie:
Book a free intro session at: JodieSwee.com
Instagram: @jodieswee and @topangasocial
Have you ever wished you could hear the voice of God more clearly? A sexual abuse survivor, learning to hear the voice of God was a healing game-changer for Michelle Watson Canfield. Speaker, author, counselor and founder of The Abba Project, enjoy this INNER VIEW as she shares her journey and the emotional stability and confidence she has gained through her relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Bio – Michelle Watson Canfield, Ph.D., LPC
Michelle Watson Canfield is a national speaker, author, professional counselor of over 25 years, and founder of The Abba Project, a nine-month group forum for dads whose daughters are in their teens and 20’s. She writes guest articles for journals and magazines and her own bi-monthly Dad-Daughter Friday blog and has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs. Her best-selling book, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart, is followed by her most recent field guide for men, Let’s Talk: Conversation Starters for Dads and Daughters. She has also written contributing chapters in Fathers Say and How to Disciple Men…
Should I stay or should I go? It was a 1982 punk rock song by the Clash. It originally never made it to the top of the charts until it was re-released as a Levi commercial in the 1990s and subsequently was re-released in 1991 making the Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest song list in 2004. As we continue to move through the fallout of a global pandemic many are asking this question. Some people have moved to other cities and jobs and even relationships, and others are still pondering their next move. However, as 2021 comes to an end, the pressure is on to make decisions and set goals.
Should I stay or should I go?
Have you been pondering this question? When the angel came to Mary to tell her she had been chosen to bring the Son of God into the world Mary never doubted. She never pondered should I stay or should I go. She didn’t say, “No, I can’t do it I’m not qualified, I am only human and don’t have the skills to raise a divine son of God.” Nor did she ask, “Why me?” She only asked how. How would it happen? She was only curious.
God gave us a curious mind.
Curiosity drives us to explore who Jesus is and His truths and when curiosity is paired with a courageous heart it can create profound acts. Curiosity takes risks, steps into the deep and can transform lives. Mary was curious. She just wanted to know how this unknown, unusual, miraculous event was going to happen. She didn’t respond with “Thanks for asking but let me pray about it,” or “I am not old enough, wise enough, or worthy.” She didn’t push back with, “I will be shunned since I’m not married, and Joseph and my village will toss me to the gutter and then what will I do?” She was all in from the very beginning. Unlike Moses who had to be asked three times at the burning bush to lead God’s people to freedom, or Jonah who ran and had to be swallowed by a whale before he would act, Mary never wavered. In fact, she never had to say, “yes” because God already knew her heart. It was why He chose her.
Does God know your heart? How quickly will you go when God speaks?
Mary of Bethany in John 11:29 heard that Jesus was asking for her and “she quickly” went. She was grieving deeply with her friends over the death of her brother Lazarus. Jesus hadn’t come to heal him. One might think she’d be a bit discouraged and shattered. But when Martha told Mary that Jesus was asking her to come, she didn’t hesitate. As women, I think God must admire our grit. We are known to be emotional, but it is our willingness to follow our heart when it’s in the right place and go without questioning that He desires. We don’t stop to ask how much it will cost or the sacrifices and pain that might take place; we step into the unknown. We place our lives on the line because of love. Women do it daily in childbirth. Mary loved God fully. There was no hesitation.
God has empowered us to be passionate wholehearted people who are willing to go forward when the way is difficult and uncertain. Through the infilling of God’s Holy Spirit, we are given His supernatural power to move quickly and set aside natural, practical, and earthly minds and act. When He calls us to task, He provides the wisdom and ability.
Rabbinical literature equates salt with wisdom.
In Matthew 5:13-15, Jesus speaks of salt and then refers to lighting a lamp to increase its brightness. Jesus told us that He was The Light of the World and the source of all wisdom and knowledge. We are to be His salted wick. In ancient times salt was put on the wick of a lamp to increase its brightness. When you are engaged with God and immersed in consistent disciplined Bible reading and prayer, you are putting salt on your wick. God’s wisdom embedded in you allows your actions to shine bright with the aura of His love to others. That wisdom radiates into the lives of everyone you meet through the acts of your heart.
In a recent conversation with me, a businessman shared that he had come to know who Jesus was late in life, after the age of 50. He said, “Somehow, I always found a reason to reject Jesus throughout my life, yet interestingly, I found myself being drawn to Christian businesspeople. They were different. I couldn’t help being curious as to why. What made them radiate peace, love, and a steadfast confidence? What was it that Christian businesspeople possessed that allowed them to live with life’s constant struggles, suffering, and uncertainties and still be confident and content?” He desperately wanted what they had but couldn’t reconcile that it was as simple as knowing Jesus. He was drawn to the Light of their salted wick. It was the Light of Peace and the Lamp of Love that kept drawing him in and that led to his eventual commitment to follow Jesus. The Light couldn’t be denied.
It is from the heart that we act.
As Christmas approaches and as we bathe in the joy of the celebration of the Festival of Lights and The Light of the World coming to earth to redeem us, can we start responding wholeheartedly without hesitation? God is whispering His voice into our minds to come and go with Him. Will we let it immediately soak into our hearts and be obedient to what He is calling us to accomplish in the upcoming new year? You may want to ask Him how: how can I help – how can I go? But don’t say “won’t,” “can’t” or “I’m not enough.” Begin now to step into next year with courage and fearlessness and be ready to run with Him and experience crazy joy.
Will you salt your wick with the wisdom of God and go in 2022?
“Salt is good for seasoning. But if salt were to lose its flavor, how could it ever be restored? It will never be useful again not even fit for the soil or the manure pile!” Luke 14:34
In 1843, John C. Fremont, an explorer (and the namesake for the junior high school I attended), set off to explore the unknown once again. He had just returned from an expedition to Wyoming but was driven to see what was then called Oregon Country. He ended up exploring what is now known as Portland, Oregon, but his journey took him through the Sierra Nevada mountains then south and east to the desolate deserts and the Great Salt Lake in what is now known as Utah. However, this passion for exploring almost cost him his life in the Sierra’s where he and his mate, Kit Carson (who would gain fame in Nevada and whose capital city is named after him), were forced to eat their horses to survive. With Kit’s instincts and keen sense of direction, he would be Fremont’s saving guide. Without him, things would have turned out much different. (more…)