WHEN BUSINESS BITES – BITE BACK…
What does integrity mean to me….?
The word integrity comes from the Latin word ‘integer’ meaning ‘whole’ and ‘complete’. Integrity is not one thing one day and something different the next – it is consistently the same – the same you in Church on Sunday is the same you at work on Monday. The same you at home is the same you out socially. I’m thankful I know the only one able to help me – to make me whole, complete and consistent with His character in my life!
I like this dictionary definition of integrity, it goes beyond being honest, reliable and trustworthy:
“Having integrity means doing the right thing in a reliable way. It’s a personality trait that we admire, since it means a person has a moral compass that doesn’t waver. It literally means having “wholeness” of character, just as an integer is a “whole number” with no fractions. Physical objects can display integrity, too — if you’re going over a rickety old bridge that sways in the wind, you might question its structural integrity”.
Your giftings and abilities may cause you to rise high, but your strength of character and integrity will cause you to thrive and protect you from taking a dive!
What do you do when things go wrong? We have a society today that seems to resound “Run”. Integrity will give you sticking power (endurability) and cause you to stay until the job is done! Integrity will cause you to take responsibility. Responsibility brings with it rewards!
“Anyone who stumbles over [falls on] that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.” Matt 21:44 N.L.T.
This speaks to me of falling, sometimes in desperation on my knees, and bringing my brokenness, disappointments, betrayals and impossibilities to the only one who can really help and save me! I rise up from that place above it all. Sometimes God may allow circumstances in our lives to break us. To cause us to breakaway from what ultimately isn’t the best for us, to break ties with what isn’t beneficial to us and to break cycles that aren’t healthy for us. The breaking will be our making when we place it in our great Creator’s hands and rest in His perfect plans for our lives. You see, like a bone that is broken, we ultimately heal stronger than before at a certain point in the healing process. It is reinforced, a protective layer around it whilst it is made perfect and whole! Something that is crushed is pulverised, shattered and scattered forevermore – like dust it can be blown away with the wind.
You can fall on the rock – the Bible describes the rock to be Jesus. I have been there many times where in wreckless abandonment, I throw my life and my all upon Him. Circumstances scream at me “It’s over”, “You’re finished”, yet miraculously I rise up from that broken state once more, made whole in my Creator and loving Father’s healing hands, and win!
When I initially ‘stumbled’ across this rock called Jesus, I ‘fell’ in love with Him and my life as I knew and lived it was ‘broken’/changed forever. I broke away from worthless living and His love made me whole. No collision in life can crush me now that my life is built on solid rock. I would prefer to be on the right side of this rock, living life on top, running free in the sunlight rather than having to face the consequences of being in the darkness, crushed on that day when the full weight of my denial, rejection and ignoring of this powerful rock comes down in full weight upon me! Enough said!
Integrity must be paramount to who I am, who we are, as a child/children of God! When the going gets tough it is then that our faith and integrity must stand! Nowhere is my integrity more challenged than in my work-place. Daily I must choose to be a child of God first, drawing from who He is and how He would have me be in certain circumstances; and a business woman second. I am not saying I always get this right but this, my integrity – God’s integrity, is a priority to me greater than money! Some have called me naive for this stance and I’ve heard it said that it doesn’t translate into the Business arena. The miracles I have experienced and success I have known in business, sometimes against the backdrop of disaster, would tell a different story!
I am a Partner and a Director in a property company. I do not accept deals to pass onto other investors that I would not buy myself. To my own pain monetary wise, but my own gain in integrity, I walk away if it is not genuine! Has it cost me – yes! Have I been tempted to do differently – yes, I am human! I have learnt the powerful secret of allowing my ‘doing’ to come out of a state of ‘being’! As God has taught me to be more loving, more kind… my actions follow and it becomes natural to walk and reflect my Heavenly Father’s integrity, and do only that which brings benefit to others. The business world increasingly is lacking in integrity – let’s bring back this invaluable character trait from the brink of extinction!
You can look to do more and stress, or be more and bless… others! Let’s be more loving, be more joyful, be more peaceful, be more patient, be more kind, be more faithful & dependable, be more gentle and be more self controlled. Let your ‘doing’ come out of ‘being’ then what you do will transform your world and the world of those around you too!
When business bites…. bite back with integrity! I got bitten again recently, I say bitten again because in business and life you can expect the bite continually. When you do what is right you knock the teeth out of your opponent and the circumstances raging against you and it becomes more of a ‘gummy suck” that ultimately does you no harm but sucks the miraculous, the kingdom of God that is within you, the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self control… out of you!
I reserved on some properties, vastly reduced in price, with the assurance of sales from another investment business. There was a condition, these houses had to complete by the end of March to achieve the Developer’s year end figures. The Developers we work with trust Hollinger Field Investments to do what we say we will do. I gave our assurance we would meet their time-frame – a usual part of our business commitment. With just over a week to go before deadline there were still some four bedroom houses outstanding! The response from the company that didn’t do what they said they would do and committed to was one of “What are these out of so many? Sometimes you just have to accept defeat. What does it really matter if you let a Developer down on some properties out of hundreds?”
In that moment, and after almost ten years of running a property company with a 100% track record with National and Regional Property Developers, (often against all the odds and with miraculous outcomes), I understood: 1) Why God would have me in business and 2) Our U.S.P. For those who don’t know, a U.S.P. is a company’s ‘unique selling point’. Ours, as I told this business associate in that moment, is an old fashioned commodity, a long forgotten trait… integrity! In that moment I learnt again you can take the easy route and walk away or the God route and find a way to do what you said you would do. Remember, doing comes out of being! As a child of God …. BE DIFFERENT – DO MORE! Thankfully my two fellow partners, directors and brothers, Mark Hollinger and Graeme Hollinger, believe the same way that I do!
I will do what I say I will do, when it is within my power to do it. I will be who I proclaim to be, not just in Church on Sunday – that’s easy, not just when I’m preaching from a platform to be applauded but in the dark corners and dead ends of life I sometimes find myself in. Did you know it is then that your life preaches its strongest and loudest message – “I’m not dead and it’s not the end, Jesus is my personal friend – watch out world there’s another miracle in the making & integrity is breaking out”!
I didn’t fall backwards, I fell forward on my knees in front of my sofa at home and I cried out to God to help me to be who He has called me to be in this impossible situation and to do His works. I asked for His strategy through. I fell on the rock and was broken of my own pride, abilities and strength in myself once again. Anyone knows you can’t raise mortgages in a week and a large proportion of our money was tied up in other business projects until May and I had until 31st March! I was caught out. I was between a rock and a hard place. I was £300k short of where we needed to be! My integrity was on the line as a Christian – a representative of Jesus – an Ambassador for Him in my business world. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it is good to know Jesus is the solid rock on which you can stand and nothing is to hard or impossible for Him! I reminded myself of all God has done in the past – afterall I’d walked on deeper water than this before, it was simply time to walk on water once more! I smiled up to heaven as I prayed “It would’ve been nice had you indulged me a little longer than two and a half months maternity leave God…;-)
I rose up from my brokenness trusting in God’s wholeness – He could fix this. In a meeting near London that week on a totally different business matter, a good friend and now the Managing Director of a bank mentioned a finance route. My ears pricked up – tucked away with baby Judah – yes my ‘little boss’ comes everywhere with me right now, I stepped out from the sidelines. One simple question found the solution – now there was the immense amount of work and legal hoops to jump through to make it happen. People like the look of success – they like the outcome, but are they willing to go through the process? As Kathryn Kuhlman once said “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it”.
A long story short – in one week alone mortgages were in place, more importantly our Christian integrity in business was intact and out of being who God wants us to be, people of integrity in every sphere of life, we were miraculously able to do what we said we would do. God’s Word to us is His bond, as His representatives He wants our word to others to be our bond too – even when it costs us. Integrity to me, as you can see, has been very real and key to success in every area of my life! It’s not rocket science, just follow through and do for others what you say you will do! People matter!
1) Integrity is spelt ‘C.O.M.M.I.T.M.E.N.T.’ – doing what you say you will do no matter what – at least giving everything within your power to do it (and leaving the rest in God’s all powerful hands).
2) Integrity is spelt ‘K.E.E.P.I.N.G. I.T. R.E.A.L.’ It is being the real you and allowing your God colours to shine through like a rainbow. It’s fulfilling on your word and promise.
3) Integrity is spelt ‘W.O.R.K.’ It is putting yourself out in order to do what is right on behalf of others. Integrity precedes success! Integrity always has its pay day ! Integrity will swim against the tide and walk with a different stride – it chooses God’s way regardless of what others do and say!
After everything was said and done, someone said to me at the end of last week “Christine, in future maybe you can’t commit to fulfil on the properties you agree to take from Developers.” Let me just think about that. It’s a sad day, a dark business world and a tragic world we live in when it becomes too much for us to be people of our word, to simply let our yes be yes and our no, no! Where did the old fashioned hand-shake that sealed the deal go? Bring back integrity from the ashes, I say, otherwise there will be a tragic price for society to pay! I will take my lead whether in marriage, family, relationships and in this case business-advice from the highest legal authority I know and my handbook for life that has never failed me yet… The Bible!
“Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts….” 2 Corinthians 1:17-22 NLT
“Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37.
Wouldn’t life be much simpler if everyone did just that – integrity for life right there!
The same God I praise and proclaim from the platform of Church on Sunday is the same God I proclaim in my harsh business world platform on Monday. It is a great joy and honour to shine His light in this arena – bringing God’s integrity, honesty, power and love. In my book “Burst the Dam – it’s Double Portion time” (available here) I speak of the Dambuster’s raid in World War II that helped us win the war. The pilots had to fly low, dangerously low, releasing with great precision a bomb that bounced on the water, bursting the dams in Germany. The enemy was too close for comfort, as they flew up close and personal, prepared if necessary to look wrong and evil square in the eyes, even if it cost them their lives. In the book I speak prophetically of the times we are living in today and the blessings God is about to burst over our lives, to show off before the eyes of a watching and waiting world that He loves.
Well, this week whilst working against tight timeframes to get these properties through and completed by the 31st March deadline, I was asked for their postal addresses. I heard a God whisper as I looked them up “pay attention, the addresses are significant”. There they were: – “Barnes Wallis Way” I answered, thinking I clearly must have misheard on that one. “Do you know who Barnes Wallis was?”. The person asked me. “No” I answered, now I was intrigued. “He’s the guy that invented the bouncing bomb that burst the dams in Germany”. I love God’s sense of humour. I couldn’t make my life up and this incredible God adventure if I tried. I knew God had this against all the odds stacked against me!
As we do the right thing and follow God’s leading for our lives, blessings will burst out of every situation and surround us! We will be drowned in God’s goodness and provision, if that were possible! I felt my heavenly Father’s cheeky smile and wink over my life – and yours too beautiful reader – do you hear His tender voice say “It’s time”! Get ready to receive from Him as you believe Him.
Drop those bombs of integrity everywhere you go and watch them bounce back to bless your life, your business, your work and others. A lack of integrity does the opposite – it doesn’t care when things blow up in other people’s face as long as they escape! I choose to walk with integrity and I pray that many in business, and every walk of life, will choose to do so too!
I thank God that He alone enables me to be a woman of integrity, to stand firm in doing what is right even if it conflicts with what is popular and easy, not by my might and power, but by the beautiful Holy Spirit working within my heart – HIS WONDERS AND MIRACLES TO PERFORM!
Will anyone join me in realigning our lives with integrity, relighting our circumstances, work and world with integrity before it’s light glows too dim! Integrity is the light we all need to see clearly, to be different and to do more, after all “they that know their God shall BE strong and DO great things”! Don’t forget ‘DOING’ comes out of BEING’! BE filled with integrity and DO differently!
I promised you readers, as I heard God’s whisper in January and set out on this weekly commitment to blogging for one year, to keep it real and raw… Integrity is simply that – ‘BEing’ real and ‘DOing’ all and more than you set out to do’…. If anything or anyone sets out to compromise your integrity; walk away, but don’t walk away from your integrity. Look that compromise, with all its lies in the eyes and let me hear you pray:
“Father God, by the power of your Holy Spirit help me to be a person of integrity, bringing wholeness to this broken world today and everyday! Burst the dam – its double portion time! In Jesus beautiful name, Amen!”