Tag Archives: opportunities

Awesome Opportunities (Guest Post)

Awesome Opportunities

By Steph Beth Nickel

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by one of the teachers who attends our church. Her goal? To see if I would be willing to speak to her Gr. 7/8 class about publishing a book—since one of their current assignments is to write books for the Kindergarten students.

I was over the moon!

Because she offered me an entire period (or two), I decided to walk the students through the entire process and called it “From Book Idea to Bookstore.”

When I sent Paula the outline, she was thrilled. <happy dance>

Was I looking for opportunities to speak? Nope! (Although I do love speaking to groups about things I’m passionate about.)

Did God open doors because of who I am, where I attend church, and what I do? He did.

And He can do the same for you. Isn’t that incredible?

Before we accept an opportunity, it’s important to ask ourselves a series of questions—even when our first impulse is to jump up and down (possibly metaphorically) and say, “Yes. Yes! YES!”

Here are six questions we can ask ourselves when it comes to discerning if the time is right to say yes to an opportunity that comes our way:

  1. Do I have time to take this on and do it well? Do I REALLY have the time?
  2. Why am I considering taking on this new opportunity? Is it something that excites me? Do I feel called to say yes? Am I doing it because I’m flattered to have been asked? (If your answer to the third option is “yeah, I think that’s it,” know that it’s okay to simply say, “Thank you so much for asking, but I’m unable to take on this task.” If you believe this is the right answer for you, be willing to respectfully but confidently stand your ground.)
  3. What am I willing to set aside in order to take on this opportunity? (Sleep, regular physical activity, time with family and friends, etc. are not likely what we should set aside—at least not for any significant length of time.)
  4. Will my other responsibilities suffer?
  5. Will the excitement wear off and leave me feeling overwhelmed? (Even though I love to spin “all the plates,” recent feelings of overwhelm have me examining what I will be setting aside and what I will be continuing to do in the days ahead.)
  6. Before giving my answer, have I prayed about it and sought wise counsel from someone I trust?

There are far more questions you could ask yourself before taking on a new opportunity, and I’d love to hear some of yours.

But . . .

When that awesome opportunity comes your way that you’re fairly certain / absolutely certain you should say yes to . . .

GO FOR IT!


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

I Can Does Not Mean I Should

I Can Does Not Mean I Should

by Steph Beth Nickel

Oo, shiny!

That’s how I often feel when I hear of a new opportunity. You too?

I have what I refer to as the Butterfly Syndrome. I love to flit from one thing to the next to the next and then back to the first thing. While I don’t think it will ever be my approach, I do admire people who are able to stick with a single task until it is completed before moving on to the next. There are definite advantages to this approach.

But since I have several interests (and am easily distracted), potential opportunities come at me from all sides. I am learning s-l-o-w-l-y that I can’t pursue them all—as much as I’d like to.

Add to my natural tendencies the fact that I’m a Christian and don’t want to miss an opportunity God brings my way and I’m off and running … figuratively speaking. I’m not like my amazing friend Janet, who participates in 5K events and our mutual friend Kimberley, who participates in Mudmoiselle. (Kudos, my friends! I am truly impressed.)

But even as Christians, we don’t have to say yes to every opportunity, every request. (For more on this, I highly recommend Lysa TerKuerst’s book The Best Yes. She guides readers through the whys and wherefores of identifying when they should say no so they’ll be ready to give their best yes.)

I COULDN’T.

Now, I believe there should be a progression in every Christian’s life. Many of us, when presented with a new opportunity, think—or even say, “Oh, I could never do that.” (At least this is the case if we’re not busy flitting about, trying our hand at everything that comes along.)

MAYBE I COULD.

As we mature, we come to the realization that just maybe we could do whatever it is. I’ve found myself thinking, “I could do that? Cool!” Often this has nothing to do with self-confidence or arrogance. Hopefully, there comes a time when we realize God has equipped us to do things we never imagined possible. This is an exhilarating mindset. And it’s very in-keeping with my “oo, shiny” attitude. If you’re wondering, it feels a little like an ongoing caffeine/sugar high.

can-t can should

BUT SHOULD I?

Not that long ago, the Lord brought me to a new realization. It may seem self-evident. And I wouldn’t blame you if you said, “Well, d’uh!” although I know you’re much too polite to do so. The final step in this three-step progression is this: when someone asks us to do something or we become aware of an interesting opportunity, we should … wait for it … we should ask, “Lord, is this something You want me to do? And if so, what should I set aside in order to do it to the best of my ability?”

I’m still learning Step 3. But it really is even more exciting than the second step. After all, knowing God will give me wisdom and direction and will guide me step-by-step … now that blows my mind.

Will I always flit from one thing to the next? Most likely. But with God’s help, I will try to stay in the same corner of the garden—at least for a little while. Care to join me? [Scroll down to join the conversation.]

Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel (Photo by Stephen G. Woo Photography)

Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.

Our Part in the Whole

Some of us like teamwork, and others prefer to work alone. As an introvert – and a writer – I’m used to solitary efforts. Even there, it’s good to know I’m connected to friends and co-labourers. We need one another, for support, encouragement, and perspective.

Volunteers painting a concrete barricade wall in Saint John, NB, May 2015

I took this photo when my husband and I were in Saint John, NB, in May. These volunteers worked together to repaint the city’s Marigolds Mural and turn it back into a feast of colours for locals and tourists to enjoy.

Nobody’d want to do the whole thing, but together 150+ volunteers did it in a day. I don’t think any of them were professional artists. It doesn’t matter. They saw a need, and they met it. (You can read CBC’s coverage here: Marigold mural revived in Saint John.)

Here’s more of the wall:

Volunteers painting a concrete barricade wall in Saint John, NB, May 2015

What could you or I do, that may not seem like much but could be part of a greater whole? Little contributions add up.