Still feeling bruised from their most recent staff meeting (or rather the conflict that followed it), Layla found herself reeling at the task looming ahead of her. She’d been selected to be the leader on the next overseas expedition of their company. They were heading, with a team of volunteers, to Indonesia, where their company had been working steadily on various community development projects.
The unfortunate verbal confrontation following the meeting really rocked her, mainly because it had been with Sean, who till that point had been her closest friend at work. What he’d said had rocked her also. It was his words that made her doubt she was the best one for the job. He’d accused her of playing up to the company directors, worming her way in so that she’d be selected. He rubbed her face in the fact that he’d been working there much longer than she, and he’d completed more of the company’s leadership training. He made it painfully obvious that he had wanted the role of leader on this trip, and he didn’t think she deserved it. Layla was crushed, because she suspected he was right.
The next few days, as preparations began, Layla started to feel better about the whole thing. She couldn’t change the directors’ decision, so she set her jaw, gave the situation with Sean over to the Lord and started to work.
It was now a couple of months down the track. Everything was set in place and in the next week team members would be arriving from around the country. Knowing she should have found this week a period of respite, Layla couldn’t shake her feeling of dread. Things between her and Sean had not improved at all. If anything they’d worsened considerably, and she was about at her wits’ end. Knowing she needed some outside perspective, she decided to seek out Naomi, one of the company heads.
“Come on in, Layla. What’s up?” Layla breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Naomi was having a break and not at her desk. She approached her boss and sat down nearby with a heavy sigh.
“It’s a couple of things, really. It’s my friendship with Sean, and it’s also a lingering question I’ve had on my mind.”
Naomi could’ve probably guessed what both issues were. But instead she stayed quiet, and prompted Layla her to go on with a sympathetic smile, eyebrows questioning.
“I don’t know if you’re aware- I’ve never actually talked about it- but things between Sean and I haven’t been too good since the day the board announced me as the leader for this trip. That day, after the meeting, he confronted me and made it pretty clear he thought you’d made the wrong choice.”
At this point, Naomi did comment. “Well, Layla, before you go on you should know that all of us are well aware of Sean’s attitude. I want to assure you that it really isn’t even about you. It’s just unfortunate he used you as a kind of scapegoat for his frustrations. He’s had some other issues going on, and actually as of this morning we decided he wasn’t going to be joining the team on the next trip. We were going to let everyone else know at this afternoon’s meeting. We can talk more about that afterwards, but first, what was the other thing on your mind?”
At first too flabbergasted to answer- I couldn’t believe my ears- I finally found my voice. “Well, I can’t stop trying to figure out why you guys chose me to be the leader, when I’m probably the least qualified and the least experienced.”
Naomi nodded, not surprised at all and completely understanding where Layla was coming from. Deciding that, for now, the simplest explanation would be best, she smiled encouragingly and said, “Layla, we chose you because you clearly love people and you clearly love the Lord, and it’s evident to everyone that you will lead as a servant, by example. That’s the example Jesus himself gave to the disciples. We chose you because, like Jesus, you are a servant.”
Dropping her eyes and understanding the simple truth of Naomi’s words, a
humbled Layla nodded. With plenty to think about, she decided to leave the discussion there. She'd talk with Naomi more later, but for now she needed to get alone with God and thank Him for His supreme goodness.
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