“And so this new process should help ensure that we have all the required information in place before submitting the job to the next folks in line… Any questions?”
Steve spoke from his seat where he had acted disinterested throughout Kim’s presentation, “Yeah. I don’t think this is gonna work.” He said blatantly.
Kim tried hard to remain composed. Steve’s criticisms were a regular part of their weekly meetings and it was a real struggle for her to keep her temper. She took a deep breath, “What part exactly are you suggesting won’t work, Steve?”
“All of it! Why do we have to do all this extra work and chase down information that should have been given to us in the first place? That’s not my job.” Steve complained.
Impatient with this same lazy argument, Kim replied coolly, “Look, Steve, we’ve discussed this before. It IS a part of our job to ensure accuracy and completeness to the best of our ability. It’s not “us and them” – we’re a part of a larger team and we must do everything we can to promote the success of the team as a whole. Is that understood?”
“Yeah. Whatever.” Steve mumbled irreverently.
The meeting continued for several minutes before the group disbanded. Kim received encouraging remarks from other members of her staff, but the lingering effects of Steve’s disruptive behavior overshadowed them.
Kim gathered her papers, walked down the hall into her office, and closed the door. Her frustration was boiling over and she knew she needed to cool off.
“O Lord,” she prayed. “I have been asking that you would do something with Steve since the day I accepted this position as manager. Why don’t you help me? He is lazy and won’t follow procedures. More often then not, we have to re-do everything he touches! With everyone so busy, he’s become a liability we can’t afford. Surely he doesn’t belong here! How can I build an effective team if I have a rotten apple spoiling the batch?”
Later that night, Kim’s Bible reading lead her to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, where he tells how he pleaded with the Lord about a hardship. Paul says, Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:8-9 NIV.
“Lord Jesus, forgive me.” Kim prayed with real humility that night. “I have been asking you to conform to my plans – to my desires for this situation, rather than seeking yours. Steve is your beloved child just as I am. Please help me to see him through your eyes. And give me an extra measure of your grace that I may rely on you completely through this difficult season. Amen.”
Over the following weeks, Steve continued in the same behaviors that he’d engaged in for months. But some remarkable changes began to surface in Kim. No longer paralyzed by frustration and resentment, Kim was able to show genuine love toward the man who remained a thorn in her side. Kim’s altered perspective had a profound affect on her ability to manage, and on the team itself.
Kim’s new reliance on God and His plans helped her to face each day with joy rather than apprehension, and it showed. One Friday after the weekly meeting, Joyce, another member of Kim’s staff, stopped by her office.
“Do you have a minute?” Joyce asked.
“Sure. Come on in.” Kim smiled.
Joyce had an unusual expression on her face – curiosity maybe, or astonishment. “I just have to ask, what’s happened to you over the past month?”
“What do you mean?” Kim looked puzzled.
“Well it’s obvious isn’t it? Every Friday since last spring, you’ve stormed out of the meeting room and closed yourself in your office.” Joyce went on, “Not that I blame you. I don’t think I’d last a day as manager of this team. But something’s different… you’re different. Seems like no matter what Steve dishes out, he can’t ruffle you. What’s changed? I don’t get it.”
“O Lord,” Kim prayed silently, “Is this why you have placed me here? To witness to Joyce? Thank you for this opportunity. Please speak to Joyce through me today…”
“It’s about lunch time,” Kim said glancing at her watch. “Let’s go grab a sandwich and I’ll tell you all about it.”
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