Cubicles & Christ: In Pursuit of Spiritual Authenticity Podcast Artwork Image
Cubicles & Christ: In Pursuit of Spiritual Authenticity
How to Be Bold Daily
February 05, 2018 Cubicles & Christ with Kelley Johnson

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Obedience leads to God's blessings and connecting the dots to the plans and purposes He has for your life. When we are spiritually authentic we illuminate the path for ourselves and everyone around us. Peace and joy, burdens lifted…light shines on you. You see the world differently. You see how you can impact others.

What does it look like to be spiritually authentic?

True clarity on the Lord's purpose Willingness to be vulnerable and fearless to display that, even in the professional world.

What does the Lord want me to do in this world?

Daily taking action that would be in line with that. Practice being bold daily. The act of questioning. The power of being still and silent.

About My Guest

Christina Flores is the Head of Talent Strategy for Capital One’s Financial Services division. Christina has leveraged her strong operational expertise and analytical rigor across various industries at companies such as Amazon and Deloitte Consulting. Christina holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Christina continues to be active in her community through her roles on the MIT Alumni Board of DFW and involvement in mentorship programs for college students in STEM careers. Connect with Christina on LinkedIn For more information, visit 

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:05Hello and welcome to keep a course and Christ Kelly Johnson, certified leadership coach and founder of be well. My soul is on a mission to encourage and inspire you to be spiritually authentic and thrive in life. Let's join the conversation with Kelly now.

Speaker 2:0:24Going back to Cali. Today we are speaking with Christina Flores. She is an experienced leader in multiple industries including retail, technology and financial services. She is a smart girl, which I love. Um, she has a bachelor's degree and master's degree from mit and is extremely skilled, super smart and strategic in leveraging her knowledge about operations, technology, and talent management to help organizations provide innovative solutions to really complex business solutions. Christina, thank you so much for joining the show today. Thank you Kelly for having me. I am really excited about our conversation. We met here locally in Texas, primarily through our professional networks. And I know that you are not a tick Texas native. Um, hence the whole. Going back to Cali theme, uh, tell us a little bit about yourself. Yeah, absolutely. Born and raised in Los Angeles and proud of it. I still don't feel like Dallas is quite home yet, uh, but born and raised in La had the opportunity to go away for school to Boston, as you mentioned.

Speaker 2:1:44I am the oldest of four kids. I have two amazing parents who gave me a wonderful childhood. I have a wonderful husband who I met at Mit and now live with here in Dallas and I love our conversation and the fact that we had a chance to meet a really connect one professionally, but then too is women of faith and I'm excited and passionate about really trying to integrate my faith into my career as I continue to move forward in what lies ahead in the next couple of years. Absolutely. Wonderful. And just to give our listeners a little bit of context, you know, Christina and I connected professionally and um, have been at similar events together and you know, just as God always works, he's always moving. He's always doing something.

Speaker 2:2:47If we're just obedient, he will show up and he will show us how he's connecting the dots in our lives. And so Christina and I had a conversation over lunch and right before holidays I want to say, and it was not until that lunch that we learned that we share our faith or that we have that in common. And so it was just a really beautiful moment and I appreciate you, Christina, for just allowing me to get to know you on a spiritual level. Oh, a hundred percent Kelley. I feel the same way. And thank you for your openness and vulnerability. And that conversation was amazing. And then it's just continued to set my mind in such a positive, prayerful way going into 2018. Oh, thank you. I love that. Um, I know that when we talked about this whole concept of spiritual authenticity, I feel like your whole face lit up and it was so beautiful.

Speaker 2:3:54It was, you know, and you said something that I'm going to. I told you at lunch and I was writing it down and this is what I remember from our conversation. I was asking you kind of what do you see as the value of being spiritually authentic? And you said something along the lines that you know there's a comfort that comes from knowing that you're walking in the Lord and in the light of the Lord, and that when we do that, we illuminates the path of everyone else around us. Tell us more about that. Yes, just even hearing that back, I feel it. I feel it again. I, I'm the happiness and smile on my face as present with spiritual, authentic authenticity. I can see really feel like you are truly connected with the lord and understand his purpose for your life. And the reason I brought up light is that I feel like when you aren't in a place where you can truly be authentic and in your spiritual walk, you're almost blocking the blessings and the knowledge that the Lord is trying to allow you to receive.

Speaker 2:5:14And there is a peace and joy and you feel as if burden had been lifted. And that's been where I, I feel that a light really then just shines on you and you see the world differently. You see how you can impact others through faith and through the Lord's blessings. And there's, I feel like there's no feeling like that and I've, um, I've been through so much in my own journey. I started out, I grew up in a very religious household. We went to church every Sunday as a young, at a young age. I was engaged in, you know, Bible competition, a youth group, Bible school, all of that, uh, baptized at 12. And then from there, I, I continue to be a dedicated Christian, which to me at that time was church attendance on Sunday night youth group involvement prayer. But when I went away from California to college, it was the first time that I had to truly make independent spiritual decisions.

Speaker 2:6:33Over the next six years I realized I just wasn't as committed to my faith as I probably should have been. And once I got into the real world, I really chose to recommit to the Lord and make him front and center in my life. And since then I've been on this journey and I think one of the messages I, I share to so many people around this is that it is a journey right in. There are ebbs and flows, um, but as you continue to really listen and hear and almost being silenced as you receive what the Lord is showing you, um, you're able to then be bolder and more vulnerable in displaying that spiritual faith and living that in all aspects of your life, including your professional life. Wow. You know, I, I think I've been using this term spiritual authenticity and I remember we talked a little bit at lunch about, okay, well what does that mean and what, what's coming to mind for you when you think about spiritual authenticity?

Speaker 2:7:52What does that mean? What does that look like? Yeah. For me it's two parts. One is again, that true clarity on the Lord's purpose for you on this earth and then with that foundation. The second part is the willingness to be vulnerable and fearless in displaying that, like I mentioned, in all aspects of your life, it's easy to display it at church or even profesh are in your personal life with your family. But I think in the professional world, there are so many, you know, taboo subjects and especially being in hr now, I, I come across that daily. But spiritual authenticity to me is being willing to be bold in that faith and know that with the clarity of the Lord's purpose, as your guide, you have the light, you have the knowledge to really positively impact everyone that you meet in all circles. Wow.

Speaker 2:9:04I love that. You know, the whole willingness piece. I mean, like we could probably talk all day about that because it is hard. It does require us to be stretched outside of our comfort zone. Um, sometimes we will. The Lord will bring us to a place when we are outside of our comfort zone. In a previous podcast, I was talking to Dr Luan Chambers where she talked about Joseph and how God took him out of his homeland and took him to Egypt in order for him to know and understand, get that clarity on his purpose. And you know, it's been no longer being native, no longer feeling comfortable, no longer, no longer having that assurance of I know exactly how to handle this situation. I can, I've got this, I can, you know, I can do this with one hand tied behind my back. And I find that that happens in the workplace where there will be moments are seasons in our careers were things that worked well for us. Now all of a sudden do not. And I think that sometimes the Lord will use those situations to really help us practice the vulnerability and the boldness that you talk about.

Speaker 2:10:33I A hundred percent agree. I think that one of the challenges with being spiritually often authentic is really the fact that there's so much distraction and some of that destruction is external and some of it is internal and that we place on ourselves. And I think you make a good point about, um, as we go through the world, we evolve, right? And we learn, hey, this is how I should act in certain situations. Or this is how I should quote unquote present myself at work. And you start to make habits out of ideals that you gathered from various experiences and at some point you do kind of hit a wall where the Lord is saying, Hey, is that in line? It is that in line with what I have for you. Um, and are you truly listening to my voice and the power that I want to instill in you?

Speaker 2:11:41And Are you receiving that? And I know for me a lot of times it's why speak of the willingness. A lot of times I want to say, no, I'm not willing right now. Things seem to be working out just fine. I'm pressing forward. I'm getting the accolades of what the world determines as successful. So then I must be on the right path. And I really feel that in my journey it has been in the last year or two in particular, where I've really just started to be more reflective and prayerful and say, what is the, does the Lord want for me to do in this world to help shape the lives of others? And how can I make sure that I am daily taking actions and steps that would be in line with that and I'm still very early on, I say in, in that journey where again, I would say I am still unclear

Speaker 2:12:57to the extent of what the Lord's purpose is for me, but what I'm trying to do, particularly now in 2018 is practice being bold daily and almost the, the act of questioning, right? And saying, okay, this is how I feel most comfortable to respond in a certain situation may be at work with an individual, but is that being truly authentic, spiritually and authentic to the Lord's purpose for my life? Hm. I love that because the whole people daily, you know, sometimes when we have these goals and you know, some of us may be set new year's resolutions or maybe we just set goals for the year, but I love how you're taking this and you're breaking it down. I must be the engineering you.

Speaker 2:13:52It is. She's going to create a lean process for this God, 100 percent. But that's so key because real change happens whether we're talking spiritual change, change in our health, change in a relationship, it happens through the daily action that we take or sometimes hour by hour, what are we doing, how are we engaging the Lord, how are we staying in constant communication with him and looking for guidance and direction from your perspective on how to be bold daily. That is. So I love how practical that is. Yes. Uh, I am what, 10 days in 11 bad, so, but I am definitely looking forward to really making that my true focus in 18. And then what I've been doing is just journaling every day followed by 15 minutes of prayer, how I was bold daily and then just again trying to listen and discern the Lord's voice.

Speaker 2:15:08I ain't man. That is so cool because. And I think sometimes we feel like, oh goodness, I need to, I need to go enroll in seminary in order to figure out what my life's purpose is. And it doesn't have to be complicated, you know, um, with what you're doing, it's 15 minutes of prayer. There's some journal time, you know, I think we're all very, very busy people and so we can sometimes put a bigger burden on ourselves when we try to make this more complicated. Um, I'm curious, what are some other things in your mind when you talked about what spiritual authenticity means to you? You talked about the fact that it's two things. It's about clarity on God's purpose and that it's about being willing to be vulnerable in bold. But let's talk a little bit about that clarity on purpose. Because when I'm talking to a lot of my coaching clients, you know, this is an area where we can spend a lot of time and attention because very few of us know our purpose, you know, we don't necessarily have a burning Bush moment where it is crystal clear what we're supposed to do.

Speaker 2:16:15So what thoughts do you have about that and what are you doing to over time get that clarity? Yeah, absolutely. I think one, it starts with prayer and I'm very mindful prayer. So I know, especially early on in my spiritual journey, all my prayer was, God, can you give me x? God showed me this, God blessed this test, you know, a whole host of different things that to me wasn't very mindful and now I just say, Lord, let me trust in you and trust in the plan that you have for me and that you will reveal it in each, in your way each day and let me just open my eyes to see when you reveal that. And um, I think from there I just also start to be mindful. Even in the time when I'm not praying, I start to be more mindful of different situations that I'm in.

Speaker 2:17:29Whether that's a conversation with my husband over dinner or even in a meeting with executives at work. I'm then constantly looking and on alert for the Times where I can truly hear the Lord and then start to learn little, little what my response should be in those students, certain situations. And then ultimately that would lead to than what my, my purpose is. I think being an engineer by trade, I do like systems and clear thought out solutions and paths. And like you were saying, we definitely overburden ourselves trying to come up with a clear plan. Right? Okay. I've got to have clarity on God's purpose. So let me go pray and be involved in church and talk with others, go to a Bible study. Um, and all of that to me is a lot of action. But when I think honestly what I've been thinking about lately is how to use us just set in gifts and crave alone.

Speaker 2:18:44And there was silence. And in our world we're constantly moving. There's constantly something to do and the ever present and ever present. Technology doesn't help with that. And so for me, instead of trying to think of, hey, these are the actions that I needed to, let me just sit, let me fit. And here, let me sit and think and talk to the Lord and let me be as close to it piece as I can. And in that silence and in that stillness, let me see what comes and then apply that during the rest of my day. Yeah, yeah. You know, the word of God says that we should be still and know that he is God. There is power in stillness. It is hard to do, especially for those of us who are very driven and just have very demanding careers and family lives. It reminds me of a couple of years ago, I actually did a weekend silent retreat.

Speaker 2:20:08Yes. It's so hard. So now that I know that you've done it, I'm adding that to the list. It was beautiful. It was hard. I'm not going to sugar coat, you know, and it was a Christian silent retreat and I arrived on a Friday evening and left on a Sunday. And uh, actually I take that back. I left on a Saturday evening. I wasn't able to stay for Sunday, but just sort of that time period of silence and stillness and, you know, I took her journal with me and I would walk and pray. Um, it was on a lake and so just felt like I tell people that after about 12 hours of silence and 12 hours of no electronic devices, even the rooms, like the hotel room had no TV. So like it was true detachment from all kinds of connectiveness and I literally felt like after being in silence and really focusing on prayer and you know, the presence of the Holy Spirit, that my physical vision began to change.

Speaker 2:21:24Okay. What do I mean by that? I mean that suddenly it was almost like I could see the textures of a blade of grass or the texture of a leaf in high definition. Wow. Yes. That is so powerful. It was powerful and it was like, you know, I, I haven't changed my prescription on my context lenses, but it's like, oh my goodness, how often do I not even look up at the sky? How often when I'm walking to my car from a meeting or from running to the grocery store, I don't even look up at the sky. I don't even look up at what's around me and invite more ways for the Lord to show me his creation, to show me his power, to show me his beauty. And so I just share that I set a goal to do a silent retreat at least annually.

Speaker 2:22:24And so I, it's, it's a goal because the connectiveness of not having those distractions was really powerful. I love that story of Kelly. I think I need to set a goal this year then my first silent retreat because you're right, you, your eyes are just open and you observe the world around you differently. And um, that's what I'm excited or I would be excited to do. And again, find, find the answers about yourself. There's so much self discovery along with your spiritual faith that can happen when we truly disconnect from the always on mentality of our world today. [inaudible]. Okay. So I want to get practical because you know, you have a leadership role in human resources. You've been in operations. I'm curious from your point of view, what makes it hard to be spiritually authentic in the workplace? Because I want, you know, I want this show to be very real and really address what concerns people have about being an authentic Christian in the work environment.

Speaker 2:23:52Sure. I think for me it's hard to be bold precisely for the always on mentality that I just mentioned. Right? And the fact that whether it's through social media or other avenues, um, bits and pieces of conversation usually out of context, and this has been happening for generations but has burned on even more with the evolution of technology. Bits and pieces of conversations can be shared and taken out of context and ultimately misunderstood and misrepresented. And I think when it comes to our professional lives, we're, I'll, I'll speak for myself, scared, really voice our opinions and in the concern of them really not being heard in the way that we would want articulated. So when I think about hr, right, they're always the kind of taboo subjects that you say you shouldn't bring up and incorporations, whether that's around politics or religion. And for me though, what I've seen over the last year in particular set corporations are really expanding the dialogue on various diversity and inclusion topics.

Speaker 2:25:18So then as a leader, as a human resources leader, how can I help religion be one of those? And to help people feel as if they can truly voice their opinions, their thoughts and share so that we can learn from one another and that we can start to weave this like rich tapestry that will ultimately benefit not only the corporation but our society at large. You know, if we continue to live in fear, I'm then is that truly living and that's been what a part of my path and my journey, particularly again in this last year of discovery, but I think that's the challenge, Kelly, is that it's scary and you don't know how others will react. And what I realized is that if I'm truly speaking and sharing my faith and I have made sure that I've maintained that strong connection with the Lord, he will take care of it and even been, if I haven't, the Lord will take care of it. The Lord has us and he tells us that in so many different ways through his word, through his Holy Spirit, but we continue to say, no, no, no. But in this situation, when I'm with senior executives, how am I supposed to say, well, as a Christian, this is my belief and weave that in then to the solution that I'm recommending, right? No, no, no Lord, you don't have me in that.

Speaker 2:27:11We don't put our trust in him and we put our hopes in just the fear. And so then that's where we'll continue to live. And so for me, I'm like, my word for 2018 is fearless and just really like, is this a situation where I'm not putting my trust in the Lord and I'm really putting all of my thoughts around fear and is that paralyzing me from taking the actions that would align with the Lord's purpose for my life? Wow. Wow. Christina, that is so good. And thank you for being bold and vulnerable in sharing the very real fear or concern that we all have. That's a part of this, what I call attention being spiritually authentic. At some point we'll create attention in your career because you will have a fork in the road, or at least I have had a fork in the road and I think others have where it's like, okay, I need to leave my Jesus in the car.

Speaker 2:28:19Right? So it's on the way to work or when I'm leaving work, you know, I'm listening to praise and worship music. I'm praying, I'm lifting him up, but when I step out of that car, I would turn on corporate Kelly and corporate Kelly is professional and buttoned up and you know, I am like Switzerland, you know, I am neutral on every topic, you know. Also being an executive in human resources, you know, I felt an extra pressure to be like Switzerland and for so so many years that self determination that I needed to be neutral, created this suppression of who I really am. And over time that suppression took a toll and I was so frustrated. I was so stressed and I think, you know, part of that stress level impacted my health. It impacted my mental wellbeing. And I think that's why I feel so driven to help others work through and really pay attention to this journey of becoming spiritually authentic.

Speaker 2:29:36I do want to do a quick plug though real quickly. You talked about how you know, religion in workplace is an aspect of diversity and inclusion. And so quick plug for my survey on. Well my soul. It's the faith and career survey. I really want to invite everyone to please, please participate in that. It literally takes like four minutes, but I want to help you and others and organizations understand what makes it difficult. What are some of the benefits of integrating faith into our careers. So just quick shout out for that survey. I'll. I'll stop there with my little shameless plugs. No, I think that's great though because people need to be aware, right? We talk so much. I'm in my line of work about awareness being the first step, awareness of biases or different things that articulate the obstacles in our way of really having the open belonging culture that we were striving for.

Speaker 2:30:38And so I think the survey will be the perfect way for all of your lift nerve. Take that first step. Yeah, thank you. Thank you. And I think, you know, just to kind of bring us back to some of the challenges, you know, I think there's also a piece of. I remember one time very early in my career, I was working for a boutique ad agency and something happened with a client where there was a big mistake and in the advertising world, if an agency makes a mistake, we have to pay for it. Our client will not pay for it and something happened and I literally blew a gasket in the office. Like I know I, I mean I just, whew. And uh, I was very, very young disclaimer. But you know, I think back on that experience occasionally and I'm like, Ooh, I know no one on that day thought I was a Christian because I literally lost it.

Speaker 2:31:40But I think, I wonder, and I'm curious to get your opinion about this, but how much of this struggle to be spiritually authentic could also be related to the fact that, you know, as Christians we feel like we have to be perfect and we are not by far. Do you think that plays into it as well? I absolutely believe it does. I think that, um, one of the things I've learned just going through life is how much we've put on ourselves, what I called the act in a certain way. We should have a plan, a five year plan for our career, the next step, and we should be promoted at a certain time. We should read the Bible daily. And I think as Christians it's very important for us to release ourselves of those shifts. And it's very difficult in it. It, I have to be very.

Speaker 2:32:40When I hear myself use that word now and say, is that again an ideal that was put on me from childhood? Is that something that I put on myself and remember that there is no perfect path, right? The Lord Jesus Christ is perfection. And that is all you know and we will not come close to that even as much as we try, but how can we continue to even build the bonds and the fact that we aren't perfect with those who may not be Christians and use that as a way to bring them closer to the faith. I, I try to think of it that way when I interact with nonbelievers and say, you know, as humans, we do have a difficulty with being vulnerable and feeling like we have to be perfect in one way or another. And if we can let that go and realize that the Lord loves us, regardless, the Lord has had a plan for us regardless and shows us mercy and love where we are not even worthy.

Speaker 2:33:58You can then really start to spread his gospel and his message in a more powerful way than if you are the buttoned up corporate, Christina, you're word where you just kinda shut that off because you feel inside. That's what you should do. Absolutely. Absolutely. That is, you know, so phenomenal. I just appreciate you sharing your heart today. You know, I think you are already practicing vulnerability and boldness and so I just want to acknowledge that and celebrate that with you. You have so much to offer that it's just a privilege to be a part of your journey. I'm Christina. So I want to thank you for sharing a piece of your journey with us today. Well, thank you so much, Kelly. That very much touches my heart and again, I would say it's a journey, right? And you take one step at a time and to just receive the acknowledgement and then encouraged from you has been phenomenal and has encouraged me to continue to take those steps.

Speaker 2:35:07So thank you. You're welcome. You're welcome. And I know people will probably want to connect with you after hearing your story. So I know you're on linkedin. Is that a good way for people to find you? Yes, please feel free to connect with me on linkedin. Awesome. Very good. Um, I like to always just close out in a very quick prayer if you wouldn't mind touching and agreeing with me virtually as we go before the Lord. Yes I do. Okay, Gracious. Father, Lord, creator of the universe, you are Aba. Father, you are amazing. You are everything that we need. We thank you that nothing is too difficult for you father, including our journey to be real and authentic as you made us your word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I thank you for every person who has listened to this show today that you have fearfully and wonderfully made them.

Speaker 2:36:11Lord, we give you glory and honor and we ask you to just order our steps and lead us in a path of righteousness for your namesake. We will be sure to give you all the glory and honor and we ask you, father, to forgive us for the Times that we don't trust you with that thing, with that situation, with that person. Lord, we turn it all over to you today and we release it and we give it to you, Lord, at the foot of the cross because you already took care of everything on calvary and we thank you for it. In Jesus' holy name we pray. Amen. Amen. Amen. Well, thank you again. It's just been such a pleasure to talk with you today. I've felt the same. Kelly Bank. You wonderful. Okay, everyone. Until next time, be sure to check back@wellmysoul.com and listen to the next episode of cubicles and Christ.

Speaker 1:37:13Thank you for joining this episode of cubicles and Christ. Be sure to visit, be well, my soul.com for fresh, biblical inspiration and practical ideas to thrive in life. May you grow in peace, love, and soul prosperity.

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