It is very seldom that I meet someone I just don’t get along with, and those moments of dissonance always seem to stick out in my memory like late-winter daffodils. Thus far, these experiences tend to bookmark my most uncomfortable yet rewarding spiritual growth spurts.
A new season brought new change in the office. I found myself working closely with someone I’d never spent much time with before besides the occasional email. Though I’d grown close to several people where I worked, there was just something about our personalities – this woman’s and mine – that didn’t quite fit.
Okay I’m just going to be honest, this season sucked. We could agree on nothing. Work piled up. Things got behind. My friends will gladly tell you. Doubting Thomas? Try Whiney Rose. I was miserable to be around for about a month.
My frustration began to color every aspect of my job from simple interactions with this woman to the very work that I was once so passionate about. I grew restless. I began to question my purpose in this place. Why was I even working here when I was so unhappy?
Now this occurred over a decent period of time, mind you. Please don’t think this was a dramatic turn of events. Essentially, I let the enemy creep inside the corners of my mind, and his shadow began to fall on every wall.
I felt as if God was calling me to a new job, that maybe my work was done here, but there was no new door to walk through. I was so confused and desperate for an out. I had essentially washed my hands of the place.
But as He often does when I am lacking conviction, God brought about one of my favorite stories in the Bible to remind me of what real struggle is: the story of Joseph. Compared to Joseph, the struggle is NOT real (I’m sorry. My jokes are cringe worthy).
We tend to gloss over the slavery, bondage, and servitude sandwiched between prophecy and provision in the life of Joseph, but he is so much more than a rags-to-riches story. His reliance on God influenced his actions, and God worked through him to bring about blessings in the worst of circumstances and ultimately brought about blessings for an entire civilization.
Now if Joseph could rely on his faith to not only survive in slavery and prison but also thrive, how silly must I be to think a minor discontent in the workplace was cause for a change of career?
So, I decided to try something new. I chose empathy. As a person with free will dealing with another person with free will, how could I expect her to change while refusing to change myself as well? Instead of waiting for her to make my life easier, I decided to try and make her life easier. I offered to take on heavier workloads so that she didn’t have to stress out over projects with me. The moment I tried seeing how frustrating and hard this job is for someone beside myself, I realized that I had just as much a duty to help her succeed as I did to making sure I succeeded. If I wanted to be a team, I needed to act like a teammate.
My heart began to break for her. I could visibly see stress weighing on her, and this whole time I’d been dragging my feet, making her life even harder. She was a person with just as much value as me. I had been such a jerk!
From that point forward, I decided to make a change. I decided to be her ally and die to my own pride. And you know what? Things got better, slowly. When I submitted to God’s leadership and hers, He brought peace. That day, I had a good day for the first time in weeks.
I may not have found my dream job in that moment, but hey, it took 13 years of servitude for Joseph’s purpose to be fulfilled.
God is preparing you for great things too. Take it one lesson at a time because He has a reason for every season of your life. So, pay attention to the hardest ones. They bring about the sweetest reward. Get excited. Take heart. He has promised you the world. Be patient and prepare.