How to Survive a Sucker Punch

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

chair-2Before a word was uttered, before I reluctantly sat down in her chair, I knew this meeting wasn’t going to be a time for reconciliation, as I had been informed.  Another lie.  In anger, I obsessed. She put this ‘mediated meeting’ off for days now, stringing me along, day after day, tying my gut into knots.  Today… no, tomorrow, she writes.  Smiling ever so sweetly when we pass in hallways.  Another day goes by and another and another… when will this ever end?  We both know the outcome… I wonder if she takes pleasure in causing me pain?  How can she be so blind to my suffering?  Surely she realizes her actions are passively aggressive.

Still… in hope the Holy Spirit reminds, it’s okay, “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens” (Philippians 4: 13) and don’t forget people are praying.  There are others, many others who care.

As the meeting begins, there are no accusations, no explanations.  In fact, she doesn’t discuss any of my deficiencies.  I am taken back since this was the purpose of gathering.  I imagined she would bring up at least one of them to justify this course of action – purging of me from company employment.

I have my faults you know.  And with women, especially women in the workplace, they can be put off by me very quickly.  For example, I have this insatiable drive for process improvement that can sometimes be combined with my ADHD tendencies of being very direct and blunt.  I have always struggled with this in the adult world.  Again, struggling mostly with women.  Women  generally don’t discuss  -they get mad, tattle and/or take their dolls and go home just as they learned to do in childhood.  Men on the other hand, understand me.   They understand how to put aside differences for the sake of the team and for process improvement.  Men also like to fix things.  It’s what they do, unless they are tethered by fear or to the status quo.  I hate status quo, because in my opinion there is always room for improvement, especially if God is leading the charge.  So, does that make me a Boat-rocker?  Well, yes that would be me.  “Hi, I’m the Company Boat Rocker.  Need a solution – real fast, call the Boat Rocker.  I am your man.”

boat-rockerAccording to Google’ and Wiki, a boat rocker literally means “to move a boat from side to side, causing it to rock.” People don’t want to be in a rocking boat.  They are afraid.  They want a smooth, undisturbed sail. There are people who want boat rockers to stop causing ‘problems’ by attempting to change things they don’t want changed.  Causing problems?  Since when are ideas, problems?  Ideas are solutions!  Consider this situation.  What if the people in the boat are asleep and an oil tanker is headed straight for them, threatening to capsize or cut the boat in half.  I bet you would agree that a Boat Rocker has great value given this emergency.  Or what if an opportunity comes along to catch a fish, and the people in the boat don’t care, but instead are engrossed in a game of Monopoly.   Many such situations call for a little rocking of the proverbial boat.

It is quite possible that people didn’t like me.  I don’t know why, but some have said that I can be difficult.  But I have to ask, do you think Albert Einstein was easy to work with?  Not that I am anything like him in my mental capabilities, but my DNA is Jewish so there is a slight connection there.  The Israeli people have made many world-changing, life-altering improvements by testing the water; rocking the world’s boat.  What of that?   Many people understand that Jewish people tend to be direct and tenaciously opinionated, especially about making process improvements.  There is an old idiom in Israel that goes like this; “If you ask ten Jewish people their opinion about an issue, you will get eleven opinions.” If one was to observe this interchange, it would be very apparent that they discuss all sides most directly and with energized vigor.

I think the greatest conflict that we had in our workplace was regarding strategy.  I wanted so much to explain my position in this ‘mediated meeting’ that was promised.  I wanted to tell them that my heart aches for the Israeli people, my people.  I so wanted to explain that God loves them so much that He is drawing them to Himself, even now, all over the world, especially in Israel.   God is doing an amazing work!  And since God was and is so obviously working why were we not assisting Him in this?   Spruce up the gardens, yesbomb-shelter please!  Make the grounds look like immaculate, beautiful, enticing, so that more people, Jewish people who absolutely adore gardens, will drop in.  Is that wrong?  Is it not the job of a Christ-follower to work alongside God as His tool, in caring and ministering to people?  Moreover, isn’t it time for Believers to grow up!   Every project we managed to complete, focused on caring for and ministering to adult Believers.  This is not the whole mission, is it?  This is the real issue. I wondered “Why are we continuing to make our workplace a bomb shelter for Believers?”  I still wonder that, here at home, as well as in the field!

After sitting down in the chair – her hot seat – she began simply, “We won’t be discussing concerns” and with condescension, pausing for effect she stated, “This will be a parting of ways… you can resign or we’ll terminate you. The choice is yours”.  I didn’t argue.  I had one simple request.   Can I pray about this?  “Pray, you want to pray?”, she says, as if this was a foreign concept… I can see her thinking… “We must finish this – be finished with you – quickly – after all there is a car with its engine running and the driver is ready and waiting to whisk you away, far away and out of our sight.  Prayer?  Her eyes narrow.  This better not be a ruse.  Well, no worries, what could 5 minutes of prayer hurt and how much damage can be done in 5 minutes?  The company has considered all possibilities and outcomes for this meeting and has prepared well, we’ve seen to that; security alerted – check, units positioned close by at the ready – check, side arms available – check. Side arms – weapons?  She acquiesces, “5 minutes is okay, but only 5 minutes”.

My thoughts race once again to the secret place deep within my mind; the anger place, a carnal place, yet to be surrendered…”For this, I gave up a six figured salary; my home that I can’t go back to; my dog and life; my reputation; my retirement savings and my hope? No!! I’m not going to re-enter that terrible pit.

No, God was the one.  He brought me here.  God initiated everything; this path for my life.  Everything is His.  Everything has always been His.  God called; I only answered.  He brought miracle after miracle for ‘this’, even this.  Forgive me Lord.

God is worth it.  I am nothing; anonymity, my path.  I won’t fight.  God is worth even this – this rejection by people.  I don’t know why I am surprised, Boat rocker that I am!  And yet, I struggle with the decision to resign or be fired.  If I resign they will say, “She left us”, which is true, but also a lie because I am being coerced.  If this then that…. Quid pro quo.  “I sincerely don’t want to get thrown out of the boat.  Please don’t make me leave the boat.”  Should I fight, resist, make a political statement and let them fire me?  What would it mean to be fired?  To be fired and carry around all the consequences of THAT- living with the stigma of being fired, forever claiming that on any job application, having that stigma follow me?

“…surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…” (Psalms 23:6).

I need to pray.  Prayer will bring peace and answers.  Please God help!

Only 300 seconds.  300 seconds to decide the future.  It was the time given, but it was enough.  Jesus is always enough!

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“His grace-His unmerited favor-His kindness and heavenly benefits- will support-raise a barrier around me.  His strength is made perfect in my weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

He leads.  I will follow.  Resignation is His path for me and He will carry me when I am too weak to walk…

It has taken much time, prayer and meditation to receive God’s joy and peace on this path.  Rejection is never easy.  I have been rejected before, long ago in childhood and occasionally in my adult career.   But rejection is always a sucker punch.

Me thinks though, rejection from Believers is the hardest.  And I now I am convinced that persecution from Believers, from the Church, from the family organization is not only possible, but it happens and due to the times, will happen more and more.  I was naïve.  I let this form of persecution shock me.   I didn’t believe brothers and sisters in Christ were capable of it.  Obviously, I was in denial and so I wasn’t prepared.  But, we can be.  God can give us what we need to survive rejection and truly freely and lovingly forgive our Christian brothers and sisters.

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A friend, my Barnabas, reassures me that only God can forgive once and for all.  We humans are not capable of forgiving once and for all.  We are not God so it is impossible for us.  When the wounding is severe or produces ongoing and continuous suffering, we are not capable to forgive without God’s help.  I am not capable of it.  I need Jesus, God in flesh, the Living hope for peace, joy, faith, forgiveness, and above all love.  Yes, it’s true, I must go to God often to receive His life-giving breath.  This is mind-blowing freedom.  I don’t have to live under this condemnation that I cannot forgive, once and for all.  Thank you God.  Thank you for Your freedom in Christ.

Are you like me?  Have you been forced to leave behind a well-loved boat and/or been rejected by some who call themselves  “The Church” ?  Or whatever… and find yourself being eating up with bitterness, anger and hate?  Jesus knows.  Jesus can relate.  He knows this pain.  And because He too was despised and rejected, He is the God of Hope, our Living hope.  His breath is full of living hope that brings joy and peace.  This is our freedom.  Jesus is freedom.  He tells us that, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).   We need only to trust and accept His gift.   If you want freedom from condemnation, come to Him and trust and you will receive love, joy, peace, and forgiveness.

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