I am back for another round, thankful to be able to contribute a third time to this life-giving ministry. My name is Evelyn, and if you’ve followed my posts in the past, my husband and I and our two children live in East Asia living for and serving our King. I continued to be awed by how Father speaks to me in every season, often speaking directly to the topic I have been asked to write about.
My second born is three years old this year, and as of last year, I began entering the workforce again. I am honoured and overwhelmingly blessed to have helped start a consulting firm in Hong Kong in 2018. Though I started as part of management, over the past year my responsibilities grew, including servicing some of our clients in HR consulting. It is in the context of this role and through my work that I want to share about what it means for me to live and serve ‘clear-headed’ as a daughter of the King.
A Chinese phrase that is often passed around in our office about how we serve our clients is ‘思維清晰’ – Si1wei2 Qing1xi1. In English, this translates as “thinking that is clear or distinct’. Our business is about using our corporate expertise to guide organizations to where they want to go. When we meet a new client, we are often met with very confused people – lost or stuck in the way their organizations are run. That is why they come to us, for clarity. We explain to them at our first meeting, that we’re not here to offer up a template, or provide a diagnostic and leave them to figure out the rest. We’re here to act as their guide, to work together from beginning to end how to solve the problems that they are facing. As part of the management team, I was never client facing – so how we operated, what we served, though very well and good, was all theoretical to me, until I had to start applying these very skills this year.
I was given two new clients to strengthen and in some ways, form and structure their HR department. I have not been working in this capacity for many years, and just returning to the workforce, I felt overwhelmed. But the Chinese phrase mentioned above, “thinking that is clear or distinct”, reminded me of how I would be able to get through each meeting.
You see, in order to be a guide for another, you have to think and see clearer than the other person. You have to see beyond, see deeper, see through the confusion, navigate the messiness and arrive at the end of the tunnel, before the other person can. It is then, that you can provide guidance and the path for the other person to get to the destination. This past year, as I was servicing my new clients, I was also beginning to see how in fact, this clear-headed thinking cannot come from myself. To think clearly and accurately about any situation or person or thing, one must first worship, know and understand God.
As it says in the word,
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” Proverbs 9:10
When I tried to rely on my own experiences, education, and my own logic, I felt that I still fell short from what the client needed from me. I couldn’t guide them, as I was just as muddled as they were. These problems were beyond what I could help with, but not beyond my God. I knew that God gave me gifts, experiences and knowledge to help my clients, but I couldn’t organize these, use these gifts properly without consulting the one who designed them, and put them in me in the first place. I had the tools and knowledge, but I didn’t now how to use them to help my clients. I often fell into the same confusion as them.
As Andy Crouch put it in his book “The Tech-Wise Family”*:
“Wisdom is not just knowledge – mastering information about particular aspects of the world. Wisdom is understanding. It’s the kind of understanding, specifically, that guides action. It’s knowing, in a tremendously complex world, what the right thing to do is – what will be most honoring of our Creator and our fellow creatures…
A fool can know a lot of things, but a fool doesn’t really know what it is to be a person. And the fool certainly doesn’t know how to act in a way that will serve the flourishing of persons – even, in the end, his own flourishing. The fool may be educated, but the fool does not understand. When he acts, the results are sooner or later, hilarious and disastrous in equal measure.”
When I meditated on these truths, and as my consulting services began to grow, I realized in order to guide my clients, I needed God’s wisdom, otherwise my actions too would sooner or later be hilarious or disastrous. My thinking needed to be informed by understanding as defined above, not merely by my education or work experience. In Proverbs 9:10 it says only by knowing God can we truly have understanding. Knowing what to do, doing the right thing for my clients meant doing what would be most honoring to God and to His creation. This also adheres to the word that says work as working unto the Lord (Col 3:23). Ultimately, this was about serving Him.
I began praying with my clients and for my clients. As I approached the ‘listening room’ to pray, I not only began to have a clearer understanding about my clients situation, but I also saw myself as one who is empty before the Lord with nothing to give. Crouch says, “A fool can know a lot of things, but a fool doesn’t really know what it is to be a person” – specifically a sinful person. Because of my sin, I cannot by my own efforts act in a way that can serve and help others. Every time I came before God’s altar on behalf of my clients, He adjusted my heart to align with His. I was faced with my own pride, having to crucify my own thoughts and ways, acknowledging that He is the only source of true guidance. This put me in place of humility, exactly where I needed to be to serve my clients. Every time I go into a meeting with this type of acknowledgement, the results are often positive. As I open myself to His leading through prayer, He would guide me clearly on how to use what knowledge I already had to come up with ways to serve my clients. More often than not, I come out of these client meetings more blessed and edified than before.
In the same way, I have been applying this learning to other areas in my life, areas where I get lost and stuck, needing guidance from the Lord. Before searching on Google for the 3 steps to solve my problem, or asking others for strategies and previous case studies to get me out of a jam, I have learned to search myself in prayer first. I have come to ask the Lord to reveal in me what is blocking me from hearing Him first, from fearing Him and submitting to Him. Unless I come to the Lord first, to worship him, I will never see my true self. And unless I see my true self, I am not in the right state of mind; humbly knowing I am without to begin with, to receive wisdom from above.
Living clearheaded for me means acknowledging who He is first and worshipping Him. Then, it is understanding who I am in light of who He is. It is through that understanding and submission, can I begin to think with the clarity that leads to right action for the flourishing of others and myself, to His glory.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete” – 2 Corinthians 10:5-6
*Crouch, Andy. The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, 18 April 2017.
Evelyn is born and raised a CBC – Canadian born Chinese and is proud to be a Canuck living and serving in East Asia with her husband and two kids. She is often described as having enthusiasm that scares people, and will rarely shy away from good conversation and a good cup of coffee (or two). Her passion is to teach, encourage and love people deeply. She strives to help others find their God-given identity and purpose as they develop an intimate relationship with Jesus.