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Posts Tagged ‘getting fired’

I just stepped outside into a beautiful, crisp late winter morning in the South.  The birds are singing a joyful chorus as a red hued ribbon on the eastern horizon foretells a bright sunrise in the next half hour or so.  A few wisps of fog in the low spots provides a reminder of the rain yesterday.  I am able to linger a few minutes to soak it in and praise our heavenly Father for His great goodness towards us.  As I do so I realize again what a blessing it is that we have a good, good Father.  A loving Father who has a plan for us that He will bring to fruition, even if the path to blessing means we won’t always get what’s fair.

A little over 14 months ago I was fired from my leadership role in a fairly large manufacturing plant.  It wasn’t fair.  It took several days before the anger dissipated.  I knew the right thing to do – to trust the Lord, pray for those who spitefully use you, look to the future and not back, etc.  In fact I had encouraged others who had gone through similar situations with these words, but I hadn’t personally experienced anything quite this intense before.  The issue was not in believing that God was eventually going to bring good out of the situation.  The problem was the unbidden thoughts of all the time, effort and sacrifice I had put in to build a successfully performing team only to have it taken away without even an opportunity to state my case.  Before I knew it in the courtroom of my mind I had witnesses lined up, my case presented, and a clear verdict against the ones who had fired me because – IT WASN’T FAIR!

The funny thing is, every time that my mind would go through one of those cycles, the Holy Spirit would whisper to me.  “Are you going to trust Me?”  Fourteen months later, I am soooo thankful the Lord stuck with me and continued to encourage me to trust Him.  Because I did.  And each time I did it was a little longer before I would have another pity-party and the pity-party would be a little less intense and a little shorter.  Within a month or two it had become a habit that as soon as a thought along those lines would come, I would squash it with.  “I trust you, Lord!”  and I would often have a scripture come to mind to go with it.  “I thank you Lord that you are for me and not against me.”  “I thank you Lord that the plans you have for me are to prosper me and not to harm me.”  “Thank you Lord that you are my God who takes hold of my right hand and says to me, ‘Do not fear: I will help you”.

Let me add parenthetically, that I know, I was buoyed by the prayers of God’s people.  It is a wonderful mystery to me that I fully recognize to be true, God allows us to partner with Him through prayer to change things.  There were a lot of people praying for me.  Several of the folks that I had worked with kept in touch and let me know they were praying.  My family is filled with believers and they upheld me in prayer.  And God, in His marvelous, omniscient timing, had prompted me to start the process to getting much more involved in the Care Ministry at our church just before all this happened.  So that when I was fired, I was immersed in a group of loving, caring, praying people.

Today, I can honestly say, I am in such a better place.  First and foremost, my walk with the Lord and the time with my wife is so much better.  The mountain of stress that I lived under (and that was killing me – literally.  See my blog about my heart issues.) was removed.  While I assumed in that transition time that I would see a little bit of a drop in my income before I started making a comparable salary, I was mistaken.  I didn’t come close to making a similar income.  But even so the stress never returned.  Amazingly, the stress of living on substantially less has never arisen.  It is another mystery, because we eliminated some expenses, but it really doesn’t add up to our lost income, but we still are having all our needs met.  God has consistently provided exactly what was needed.

Another very interesting point occurred about 3 months in.  The day I was fired, I called a friend who owns a consulting business doing what I do.  I had a sense I was supposed to work for his company.  And over time, we have developed a great working relationship and I am now getting fairly regular work consulting.  But the process of bringing me on took several months.  I went most of last year without paying work.  So I went through the process to get unemployment.

One thing I learned, is if anyone thinks it is easy to get unemployment, think again.  The process is pretty rigorous and includes a number of checks along the way to prevent milking the system.  I can see how dishonest people could still cheat, but it isn’t a cakewalk.  I had spent several hours getting set up and then, as I was ready to apply, the Lord whispered to me again, “Are you going to trust Me?”  I have learned that when the Holy Spirit gives us a check in our spirit about something, we should listen.  I had been pursuing the unemployment compensation because it was my right.  As several friends pointed out, it wasn’t really just a government handout, but something that I had been paying into for years so it was appropriate for me to get it.  But I realized the Lord was telling me “No” to getting the unemployment.  So I walked away from it and never drew unemployment.  It was just after that that I got my first week of consulting work.  Over the next few months I got about a week a month.  The last quarter I got 6 weeks of work.  As of this writing, I am looking at about 3 – 4 weeks per month for the next few months.

Now I have spent a lot of time talking about the financial side.  I was raised in a time and environment that emphasized my primary role was as provider to my family.  While there are a number of areas where losing your job hits you, the biggest for many will be the perceived failure as provider.  Losing my job took me to a place where the Lord was able to show me that I was not the ultimate provider for my family.  I have said this was true in the past and, in individual situations where circumstances dictated that I could not control of the outcome, I had submitted to God’s role as provider.  In this year long trial though, we have experienced His consistent supply of all our needs and even a majority of our wants.  It has been liberating in a way I had never really anticipated.

My life, and that of my wife and family, has been amazingly impacted for the good through my getting fired.  While it may not have been fair, it was definitely for the best.  It has strengthened my faith in ways that I could not imagine.  God, who I already knew and acknowledged as my Lord and Provider, has been able to demonstrate the absolute reality of His love and provision in tangible, practical ways for months now.  And He has clarified for me what our role is as His children.  We are to trust and obey.  Even if it means we don’t always get our way.  Even if it isn’t always fair.  When we put our whole faith and trust in the Lord, we will sometimes miss out on what’s fair to get what’s best.  And that my friend, is a pretty good deal.

Be blessed today and be a blessing to the people God puts in your life today.

 

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The Presidential Race is going strong here in the USA.  Sadly, that means dealing loosely with the truth is broadly on display for all to see.  At least two of the front runners in the race for our highest office are guilty of repeatedly lying.  And yet they are still in contention to be our next president.  I find myself becoming discouraged, not so much by the fact that the lying occurs, but that it seems like it is accepted by so many voters.  Truth is devalued.  When truth becomes so devalued that it no longer matters, the consequences are brutal.  Just look at Germany in the 1930’s…the Soviet Union in the early to mid 20th century…ISIS today.

Fortunately there is a remedy – an eternal remedy.  God is real.  His sovereignty is genuine.  His plan is being worked out.  Ultimately all lies and distortions of God’s eternal truths will be completely overthrown.  And if we chose, we do not have to wait for some time in the future for this to begin taking place.  Jesus explained this to a crowd of His followers and His antagonists in John 8:31-32.  “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

I have lost count of the number of times God’s truth has given me a stable place to stand when it seemed the world around me was in upheaval.  Some of them stand out as stark reminders for me now and on into eternity.

When my company announced a merger and it was likely that the group I was in would be downsized.  The Lord clearly spoke Isaiah 41:10 to me.  “So do not fear for I am with you; do not be ashamed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Through the months of waiting as the merger unfolded and the office I was in was eventually downsized, I had God’s truth holding me.

Nine months into this process, when they called us in individually to tell us our specific outcomes, I was told my job was being eliminated.  This time Jeremiah 29:11 repeatedly came to mind, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  I was totally buoyed by the truth God spoke.  I was immensely aware that the God of the universe was with me to see me through.  No matter how it turned out, He had my back… as well as my front, my sides, above and beneath.

Five days before this job was to end, they offered me a new position which was a significant promotion to do work that I really wanted to do.  I experienced the reality of Jeremiah 29:11 in a way so tangible that even as I write today I can’t help but smile.  I know a freedom that the world doesn’t know because I am certain of the truth – He is alive and He is living in me.

But let’s bring the story up-to-date.  A little over a year ago I was in a leadership role in a new company where I had worked for about 3 years.  I had significant responsibility in a brand new plant.  We were making steady progress on our goals, but my boss, the plant manager, and I were not on aligned.  While it was not a surprise, it was still uncomfortable to be told by your friend, the HR Manager, “I have to let you go.”  Since we are talking truth, I have to admit that there were bouts of anger, feelings of loss, and a number of times when I reviewed what I could have done differently.  I continually came back to the same place though.  I had continued to lead with the best interests of all involved to carry out my job in a manner that glorified God and met the company objectives.  In my heart, I could not perform my job the way my boss wanted me to and remain true to my moral and ethical beliefs.  And since he was the boss it was his right to fire me.

Through that soul-searching time the Lord repeatedly gave me signs of His love and peace.  Over and over as I would begin to sink into either anger at the unfairness or self-pity at the loss of a very good (compensation-wise) job, the Lord would whisper, “Trust Me.” 

Today I am at peace and even quite thankful for that situation.  I work part-time doing work that I enjoy, working with people that appreciate what I do.  The mountain of stress that I was under is gone.  My marriage is as strong as ever.  I am able to be much more involved in caring for people.  In fact this afternoon I am going to my grandson’s school to give a brief talk on Thomas Jefferson as part of their President’s month.  I am thrilled to get to do this.

Dear reader, I don’t know where you are in your life, but I want to encourage you today to look to the Truth.  Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  If you already know Him, as I am sure is the case for many of you, then commit yourself totally to knowing Him better.  Spend time every day seeking His face and fellowship.  Obey what He says in His Word and what He whispers to your heart.  He is there and He is not silent.  Love Him and let Him love you.  Freedom – amazing, awesome, peace-filled freedom is what awaits.

What are you waiting for?  Tether to the truth and hold on for the ride of your life.

Be blessed and be a blessing today!

 

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