A Simply Blessed Life With Sarah Jane Meeson
Today’s conversation is with Sarah Jane Meeson. SJ, as she’s called, is the founder of Christian women in business podcast and a membership site by the same name. She also owns a completely different business called The Automation Girl which you’re going to hear a little bit more about as well. SJ is on a mission to help women in business understand how faith and business can be connected. She’s got a great accent you’re gonna love. She’s originally from the UK and now lives in Australia.
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A Simply Blessed Life With Sarah Jane Meeson
Welcome to A Simply Blessed Life. This podcast is for creative women in business keeping faith and family first. I’m your host Lori Nordstrom and today’s conversation is with Sarah Jane Meeson. SJ, as she’s called, is the founder of Christian women in business podcast and a membership site by the same name. She also owns a completely different business called The Automation Girl which you’re going to hear a little bit more about as well. SJ is on a mission to help women in business understand how faith and business can be connected. She’s got a great accent you’re gonna love. She’s originally from the UK and now lives in Australia.
Lori: Hey SJ! Thank you so much for joining me! I’m super excited to have this chat with you.
SJ: No worries! Thanks for having me on the show.
Lori: I have listened to your podcast and love it and the whole thought around creative, Christian women in business. I love that and of course that’s what I’m all about, so I’m super excited to hear from you and hear your story.
Tell us how you got here.
SJ: How i got to Christian Women in Business is kind of a long story, but in a nutshell… I was doing some digital project management and automation a few years ago, I was also doing a bit of mentoring on the side of that. But I didn’t have God at the center of that. I was a little afraid of putting God and business together. It kind of seemed taboo a few years ago to do that and I also got into property development and we were going to be making a fair amount of money and that started to mess with me! I love God, love Jesus and I started asking myself, “Am I doing the right thing making this money?” And I really wrestled in my heart with how I stood with all of that. I was praying to God to open my eyes, or I need to learn about this because it’s not sitting right in my heart.
One day I went to church and saw one of my prayer warrior friends and told her, “I just I need to hear from God.” She asked me what it was about, but I told her I wasn’t going to tell her – I wanted it to come straight from Him!
We prayed. God told me, “What you are doing is okay SJ, I am so proud of you and I want you to keep going with it.”
I realized God knows I’m making this money and he’s ok with it. Then I was completely divulged into the bible (I’m still there, still divulging) on the topic of money and God and how it all works together. There are all of these false doctrines out there. Money belongs to God so how can it be so bad? I had all of these questions going around, so it was a fantastic few years of getting deep with God and the Bible around all of that.
In the meantime I was doing these businesses and I was at a point where I thought, “do I need to start adding God to the forefront of my business?” Now I’ve gone through the process and number 1 is knowing that it’s okay for me to make money. God is proud of me for that and wants me to continue. Number 2 was really getting into the word and getting meaty, which was great. So, step number 3 was asking if I needed to start promoting God and business. So I finally found this Christian business conference in Australia, and I said “Praise Jesus! Finally someone is bringing this all together!”
I went to that conference and said “if you want me to start bringing you into my marketing I’ll do that, just give me confirmation.” I came away from that conference and said “Yep, I’m gonna do it!” I started changing all of my Instagram posts and sharing what I was learning in the Word. A lady called Megan contacted me on Instagram and said “Oh my gosh! Another Christian woman in business! We have to meet!” So we met on Skype. She lives in Melbourne, I live in Sydney and we just hit it off like we’d known each other for years. It was absolutely fantastic. We were just baffled by the fact that there wasn’t a central place for Christian women who are in business and who are making money and doing all of these amazing things. A central place for us all to meet and to find each other because we had some difficult questions coming up. Not about money, but how the world was coming up and how we manage that in our businesses. What do we do for example, if someone contacts us that collides with our values? Do we choose love?
We had all of these questions and we would have all of these deep discussions about it and so we tried to find one and we couldn’t, so Megan asked “wouldn’t it be interesting if we could make one of our own?” And yes, wouldn’t that be interesting.
So we just started dreaming a bit and I needed to be a bit more convinced than she did. I kept praying about it and thinking about it and Megs kept giving me hints and one day I thought, “I wonder if the domain ‘Christian Women In Business’ is free?” So I had a look and it was! So I bought it and told Megs. She said, “so it’s a yes?”
I was just weighing out the sacrifice. I knew this would take a lot of time and energy. “(Lord) Do you want me to do this?” I just came to the decision that I’d just give it a go!
We put some feelers out there and people were keen, so I felt it was confirmation – “let’s go great guns!”
Megan was a graphic designer and told me she’d handle the branding, build the website and build the brand of it and wanted to work on the back end of things. So all of the beautiful magazines, the graphics the website, that is all Megs. That’s her heart and I just said that I’d like it to be fresh, clean, still pretty and she just is amazing and has such a gift.
Lori: She does do an amazing job, for sure.
SJ: She is anointed in her designing. And so after that I said, “okay, God, if we’re doing this, we’re going to have to have a place to launch. I’m not kidding you, a few days later and another women contacted me on facebook and said, “SJ we need to chat”. So we met and she told me she was thinking of doing a conference for Christian women in business, and had wanted to do it in November but God told her to change it to February. “And I hear that you’re launching Christian Women In Business. So what day are you planning on launching?” I said, “the 17th of February” and she said “No way! That’s the day God has given me. Would you like to come and launch at our conference?”
SJ: I can’t say it’s any of my doing, I just went for it and God said, “Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!” and just lined everything up. I’ve done nothing strategic. All I’ve done is just a few social media posts and recorded a few podcasts and God has sorted out the rest. It’s just been an amazing journey. The digital project management side went on hold for a little while, and then earlier this year God put it back on my heart again, so I re-launched with new branding called The Automation Girl. So, I’m running Christian Women in Business, and the membership, and doing Automation Girl, which is a service to help women (or whoever), business owners, to put automation into their businesses and it’s been such a contrast! Christian Women in Business is lots of lovely ladies and God and then Automation Girl has brought in construction workers, like a whole different kettle of fish, it’s different but I love it. It’s a complete contrast.
Lori: That’s so great. I love your story and I love that you were just waiting on God. It’s so funny when you said a couple of things that happened it’s like “You got this website, and that wasn’t your sign, you needed one more thing?” Haha. But I love it. You were waiting on the right moment and timing is everything.
SJ: Yeah. God just provided.
Lori: A couple of things I want to ask you about just to unpack a little bit. You were talking about, in the beginning your business, it was starting to make money and you had some controversy in your heart around that. I think that’s such a huge thing. I’ve had a bit of a hard time understanding that. I’ve had my own business since I was 16 and so I’ve had a hard time understanding that people do really stress out around this thought that, if I’m making money I’m not truly living for God. That doesn’t make sense to me, but I know it’s a huge issue. Can you unpack that a little bit, as far as what was going through your mind, and maybe even what you’ve seen others struggle with around that idea?
SJ: Yeah, I guess it comes back to two kind of things. First, is your beliefs that you were given, your values growing up, from your mom and dad or school teachers, university teachers, whoever gave you your core values growing up. And then, there is false doctrine. Rather than saying, “the love of money is the root of all evil” they’re saying, “you can’t make money, it’s evil.” I think mixing those two together doesn’t set a girl up for a good start if she’s going to be in a business where she needs to make money to live. So, you might have, for example, bad thoughts in your head. “If I make money, does that mean I don’t love God?” or “If I make money does that make me a rich, bad person?” or “If I make money, does that mean I have to give it all away?”
Those are lies, just to hit it on the head. They are all bad lies that we seem to believe. God has taken me on a journey to knowing that I’m now living in a kingdom. We have the law, Jesus came and he broke that law and said, “I’m your savior, come and rest in me now. The way to the kingdom is through me, just dwell in my house”. That has spun things on its head, a bit. Now, we can run a business coming from a place of rest, knowing that God is our source. Money isn’t our source. Money is just a commodity that we need to live on this earth to buy things. God is our source, who creates different channels through our business. Even if you’re employed, or starting a business, and you’re to that make-it-or-break-it point, God is going to bring in all of these channels to bring in stuff to help you live, provide for your family, and set up a legacy. God loves a prudent women. He loves a woman who thinks ahead, and loves a woman who loves him.
So, it’s finding that balance. Saying, “I know God is my source.” He’s the one who is going to bring food and water and clients and resources, and he’s gonna do that through different sources. It might be through my business, or a part time job while I’m building the business, but your business is a channel for God to provide for you and you shouldn’t feel bad about that. Being mindful and being really wise, and learning that God has given you this money and these resources, it’s like the parable of the talents. How can I use this money the best that I can to create more money? God is creative. He has created us in his image. We are to create and to create money as well.
The different gifts and talents he’s given us, some people, like Megs, have been completely anointed with creativity and design and an eye for shapes and colors. So, God is using that as a channel to provide for her and her family. We’ve been talking recently about being in a place of rest. That doesn’t mean that you sit at home on the couch and not doing anything. It’s about running our businesses from that place of rest in Jesus, knowing he is going to provide as long as we are doing the best we can with what we’ve got, without burning ourselves out.
Putting his kingdom first with that. If you can switch your mind from thinking what I call an “Adam” way of thinking- it’s very earthly, it’s very doctrine, laws, and flip it over and come to a kingdom mindset of “I’m dwelling in the kingdom”. I’m a priesthood, I’m a son dwelling in the house of God. That means I do business so differently, and I know that my God is going to look after me as long as I can do my best with what I’ve got and learn. God knows and he’s forgiving and he loves you and he’s going to take you on a journey of learning, but just do the best you can with what you’ve got. Be in that place of rest in Jesus. That’s exactly how I was at the beginning of my story when I said, “Ok God, let’s do this!” and God said “Alright, here’s a website, here’s your friend, here’s a conference.” I am still learning this. I come in and out of God’s rest all the time. It’s an ever-learning thing. You know when you come out of that place. Things start getting hard. You get anxiety, depression, you question yourself… it’s not cool. But if you can bring yourself back and recognize, “Hey. I’m operating in Adam. I’m not operating in Christ” so that’s earth to kingdom. I need to pull myself away from the earthly thinking and put myself back into the kingdom of God and just run my business through that. The cash just starts coming through. I don’t know how to describe it! You still do your marketing, you still do the things you need to do in your business, but it’s in a place of rest. It’s not from a place of “I have to be running, I have to be sprinting I have to be running myself into the ground and feeling like I should be a Proverbs 31 woman and have all of my stuff together.” No, I’m a daughter of the King. Jesus is my priest most high. I don’t have to work myself into the ground, I just have to soak in Him. Stuff will get done. So I hope that answers your question. That was a really round-about answer!
Lori: No, I love that and it’s beautiful. I think one of the things that we learn as we go through time is that we have a certain role. God does have a plan for us an<d when we are walking that path and that plan, he gets to show up to be and do what he does on the other side of that. So, really thinking about the money side of it, for me it’s always been a real realization. I’ve definitely gone through my valleys and my mountains, but what I’ve realized is that when I can open up and accept what God has to give, and the way He gets to show up when I do my part, and when I walk the path, is that I can make so much more of an impact if I am actually receiving and I am living in abundance making money. I can give and spread the word and be more of an impact. Just accepting that part of the receiving end of it is a huge thing.
SJ: And learning that when you don’t do things, and God does, that’s bringing glory to him. So often, we just want to take control and do all of this stuff, and then it’s by our efforts, if that makes sense.
SJ: If you’re like, “I didn’t do anything and that just happened”, you can only bring glory to God through that. What we’re here on this earth to do is to shine. That, and be on the path of God’s will so that his glory can come forth. It’s cool. I like being on this journey.
LN: Definitely. I also want to ask you some questions around the three things that you mentioned hit you. It was okay to make money, and then you went through the process, and the third thing for you was that you needed to be promoting God through your business. So let’s talk about what that looks like, because I’ve chosen to do that, as well. Even through this podcast and some of the things that I’m doing, there is another side of that that is- even though it’s not the first thing you’re interrupted with when you are invited into my business, or to look at my business, we want to be able to invite in people who may not be attracted to that on the front end, but we can still serve them and show up and be Jesus for them on the backside, after they’re already attracted to us and what we have to offer. So can you talk about that a little bit on how you make that choice? You said you clearly heard from God – he said this is what you need to be doing. How does somebody differentiate between yes, God needs to be first in the forefront – and not that he’s not always first in our business, but the first thing people see in our business vs. the thing that we present as people get to know us in our business.
SJ: Sure, so I think we need to take it back to basics and know that everyone doesn’t have the same business. No one has the same business as I do, I don’t have the same business as you do, and what I really think it comes back to, and this is how it leads into the question before of coming into that restful place with God, so how you come into that place of rest where you hear from him is by spending time with him. So, dedicating an “Hour of Power” a week. That’s where I close off everything and get into the word and divulge into God’s truth. I ask the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and it takes me on a massive deep learning curve. If you can set up that structure with God in your business every single week, this is more important than any podcast, any marketing, anything at all you can do in your business is having your Hour of Power with God. And you’ll find that in the beginning it might start off with- I don’t mean reading a Joyce Meyer devotional, I mean opening up your bible and going, “Okay, I’m going to read Matthew from front to back and I’m going to learn everything I can through it about business.” And you just divulge yourself in there. You’ll find that you’ll start to hear the voice of God. If you spend that time and you open up your heart and you ask the Holy Spirit if it’s God’s will, he’ll show you. He’ll show you in his time, as well. I’ve spent this time with God. You ask him. He will let you know what kind of business he wants you to run and how he wants you to present it. So Christian Women in Business is a very upfront Christian organization. It’s Christ-driven. It says it in the business name. But Automation Girl, the other business that I have isn’t. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t have Christian values within it and I don’t show truth through it but I don’t advertise it straight on there that I’m a Christian. I say I’ve created a membership site, and I don’t say it’s a Christian membership site, but I’m getting clients through that. So I think it’s about you, the listener, spending time with God and making sure that’s your priority. He’ll take care of the marketing and everything else. He’ll give you strategy. You just need to spend that time with Him. That’s why I’m saying put God first and he will let you know what it is and how it is you need to promote your business. He might say it or you might hear in your heart, “I don’t feel that comfortable with putting that I’m a Christian on my website.” Then don’t! There’s no rules. God is above all of this stuff. Put what you do feel comfortable with. “I value kindness, love, generosity, integrity,” all of that, so you can still implement the great values that you have in your heart, but it doesn’t mean that you have to put it on the forefront of your business. So get in the word, spend time with God, do your prayer journaling, write every single thing down that you learn because, trust me, you’ll want to come back to it. I have three books. I’ve got my bible, actually I’ve got about 5 now, but 3 main things. I’ve got my bible, a prayer journal where I share with God what’s on my heart, He knows what’s on your heart, but sometimes you need to get it out, and then I have what I call my yearly learning book. So, every year I start a new book and everything I’ve learned whether it be bible or business goes in that book. I have come back to those books at different times throughout this journey going, “Hang on! This has happened before! What did I learn about it?” I can go back and see that it was this, this and this. I’m going to take this wisdom that I can’t retain in my memory but I’ve written down and apply that right now. So those three things. Find what works for you, but learn, hear, be open to the Holy Spirit. Ask God to show you, to open your eyes and the rest will just follow.
Lori: Love it. And I’m going to tell you that I love that you said Hour of Power weekly. When you said “Hour of Power” I started to cringe a little bit and thought “please don’t say every day!” Haha. Just because, while prayer and getting in the word daily is so important, I think a lot of people get worked up about that and beat themselves up because they hear about – you’ve mentioned Beth Moore. Let’s just take her, for example, and you listen to her teach and you hear “an hour a day in the word” and then we throw our hands in the air and say “I can’t do this God!” and then we wonder, “Am I not good enough? Am I not doing enough?” And that’s not what it’s all about! I love that you are making an intentional hour and digging into the word FOR your business, that’s huge.
SJ: I love that you said that because, as business owners, operating from a place of the kingdom, you need to get your own revelation on this, but I can’t even describe how important it is. Like I said, it’s more important than marketing or how your Instagram page might look, whatever it is, if you have the hour of power.
My hour of power started at 5 minutes, it moved to 30 minutes and now it can be up to 3 hours. Depending how deep we go, depending what I’ve got on and depending on how open I am to receiving God that day. You’ll find that the more you get in there and the more you learn, the more you’ll want to learn. And God will bless you for it. I don’t think God is all about give and receive so much as the old law, but he just appreciates the time you spend with him. And he amplifies from you doing that, so he will then come to be in that place of rest, working smarter, not harder. It takes the edge off.
Here’s an example: earlier this year I went to, we have what’s called the Color Conference. I know it’s over in New York, I think, and LA in the USA and this is run by Hillsong Church over here, the sisterhood. I was gifted a ticket, which I was so appreciative for, and I needed this right now. I can’t remember a word of what any of the preachers said, but I went with an open heart to God and he ripped it out and glued it back together. I just dedicated that time – nothing else, this is me and God this weekend, and that was it. I booked a hotel in the city so I didn’t even have to travel. It was just me and Him. I came out of one of those sessions and I had a phone call, a voice message on my phone. I hadn’t been working on my business, I hadn’t been doing anything extra special, I literally just sat with the Lord for three days and I had a request for me to go on a TV show. I had done nothing and suddenly these opportunities start coming out. Just me going and saying God I’m open, do what you need to do inside my body for these three days, and let’s see what happens. So, that’s just an example of being in that rest of God and being in that dwelling of rest and being with him first. I can’t emphasize how important that is.
Lori: Yes. So beautiful. So tell us a little more about CWIB and what that looks like for your membership.
SJ: We have a few different packages now, just based on each beautiful ladies needs. So if you’re just after the freedom to use our platform for advertising and the directory, you can open a directory profile and be in the directory. There’s the sisterhood membership and that’s if you’re looking to be united with your sisters so to speak. It’s about connection. You can get together in our face-to-face meetups that we have all across Australia, and we’ve got online in the USA and the UK and you can come and talk about business… “How’s your business going? We’re going to talk about this topic this week. Let’s pray together.”
There’s our Facebook community, as well, where we have a Monday devotional each week and different things throughout the week. It’s a place for you to ask for prayer, to ask questions, you might be struggling with something, and you can join our webinars, as well. Each quarter, we invite someone to come in and they teach different subjects in business. And then there is the Enriched, this is the premium, top level, and you get to access to all of the things just said and access to our academy which is all of our workshops and we cover everything from women in business in the bible, to marketing, to planning, podcasts, there are a lot of different things to get your hands on and they all have booklets so you can work through them in your own time. Basically, we just built this community that, depending on your needs, you can choose what suits you. Our core value, at the beginning, God told me it was for women. So, to encourage, strengthen and unite are our values and, in everything we do, that’s always where it stems from. So if it’s not encouraging, if it’s not strengthening women, and it’s not helping them unite together, then it’s a “no”. So everything that’s birthed out, the podcast, the free app that we’ve just launched, it’s all centered around those three core values of encourage, strengthen and unite.
Lori: I love that you said that because a big, big, thing that’s going on right now with the business that I’ve been working with is really digging into purpose and that’s really what you just defined… Encourage, Strengthen and Unite, that’s your purpose. I 100% believe that when we know what our purpose is then we don’t get to make a whole lot of mistakes because if we’re always going back to what that is, that purpose, then we’re directed pretty clearly. What do you feel around that?
SJ: Absolutely. In all of our workshops, we have in the academy. That’s the first thing that we touch on, no matter what it is. What’s your purpose? What are your values? What is your business stemming from? And then we build the workshop on that. Totally important, totally agree with you! It helps us to say yes or no to things. And “no” is a really important word!
Lori: So true! One last thing I want to ask you, thank you so much for being so generous and being here and giving your time, I so appreciate you, we haven’t even talked about your family. Can tell us about your family and your #1 tip around keeping faith and family first.
SJ: I have a small family. There is me and my husband. I don’t even have any fur babies yet. It’s in the cards, once the Lord has given us a more stable place to live, then I’ll buy a puppy. That’s first priority. So yeah, it’s just him and myself, and putting him first, I’m not perfect at that. I’ve learned the hard way, and like we’ve touched on just before, if you can be so secure in your values and as a leader and a business owner what your boundaries are. I’ve had to learn a lot about boundaries this year, it’s been a big boundary learning curve. I went through a rough patch around March – April I think it was, where I’ve had to ask what my boundaries are and how I can put them in place so that I can put my marriage and God first. So I set up a few things. The first thing is know your values and your purpose. In what I’m doing, am I only doing what God has asked me to do, nothing extra. And I stripped back all of the extra’s and started to say “no”, by the way, that’s my new favorite word! I don’t say “no” directly, by the way, I just say, “Thank you so much for the invitation, but I’m going to pass on that for now. Let me know if there’s an opportunity for that in the future.” So, that’s a really nice polite way of saying “no”. I then let people know not to direct message me because that pops up a notification and that interrupts family time, so if you message me on there I won’t get back to you. Set definite work hours, so I know when my work hours are and stopping myself from being distracted during that time. When I work, I work. When I don’t work, I don’t work. That even means that I leave the phone at home. If I’m going out now and it’s me and hubby time, there’s no electronics. It’s just me and him. I did that on holiday, too and that’s just a boundary. If it’s me and hubby time, it’s me and hubby time. And then there’s my Sunday prep day. This is my day of preparation if I’m super organized and I’ve managed to do a shop on a Sunday, that’s when I’ll do bulk cooking.
So I cook in the afternoon and make meals for the week so I don’t have to cook in the week which saves me time and I know that I’ve got healthy food options for that week so I’m looking after my body as well. So those are some things I put in line to save me time and make sure I’m focused on what I’m focused on. And I always, even though it hurts, and your body hurts sometimes when going to the gym, I always try and do some kind of exercise at least once in a day even if it’s just going for a walk – that counts as exercise in my book – then I’m looking after my body. I’m looking at it from the inside, and what food I’m putting in, and I’m looking after my family because, if I’m not right, then it affects everything else. I think a lot of you that are probably listening today kind of know that if you’re not treating yourself right and you feel really yucky, and sleep deprived and not eating good, then it kind of ripples out into everything else in your life. Jim Rohn has the best saying ever, and I love it and it’s all about how you sacrifice and how sacrificing yourself for others sometimes isn’t the best thing. His saying is “I look after me to look after you. You look after you to look after me.” I’m like, “Amen to that”! It makes so much sense because if you’re not looking after yourself, you can’t look after other people. And that goes for self-development in your business. If you’re not developing yourself and spending time with God, trying to grow and learn, you’re not going to. It’s about you looking after you so you can look after other people. So that’s my motto.
Lori: I love that, that is so great and it all makes perfect sense. Having those couple of things that you know you’re going to plug into every day whether it’s getting in the exercise, getting in the God time, making family time priority and putting the phones away, which is so freaking hard! But just those couple of things to make sure you’re doing every day makes such a huge difference in how we show up in the world.
Thank you for sharing those tips. I really appreciate it and I know our listeners do too.
Thanks again SJ for being here and for your time. I so appreciate you.
Where can people find you? We know you have Christian Women in Business, we know you have the website, so that’s what it is! But, what else? Where can everyone find you?
SJ: Well, we’ve just launched the app, so I think that’s a brilliant place for you to find us, so if you’re on Itunes or have Google Play and type in “Christian Women in Business”, our app will pop up. It’s absolutely free and you’ll get daily bible verses, you can listen to the podcast, it’s got links to all of our social media, the events we have coming up, the magazine, everything is in that one place. It’s all designed for you. When we were making it we asked all of our community members what they wanted and what would serve them best. This is what they asked for, so it’s been designed with you in mind, so enjoy it, let it bless you and we hope it encourages, strengthens and helps you be united with your sisters.
Thank you so much for joining for this conversation with Sarah Jane. If you enjoyed this episode, we would absolutely love it if you would subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review. A review really does mean a lot, more than you know. It helps us to reach other like minded creative entrepreneurs who are also keeping faith and family first. You can find more about SJ by heading over to www.christiamwomeninbusiness.com.au and of course on the new Christian Women in Business app.
I want you to know how much I appreciate you being here, so thank you, thank you and I hope to have you back next week!