Unfinished Business

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Have you ever had a situation with someone either at work or in an organization where you felt you couldn’t resolve your differences? Never, right? What do you think about it now that time has passed?

Understand that in the 80’s I was a ‘babe-in-the-woods’ socially, and every way possible. I had moved from a rural town in Michigan into Lansing which, to me, might as well have been New York City. I was a young 17 year old, living with roommates, learning to take college classes, catch a city bus, use my paycheck to pay bills … and I wonder why I was stressed! Anyway I had taken this secretarial and bookkeeping job with a firm in downtown Lansing. I didn’t understand office politics let alone know how to surf them. I don’t recall the specifics of what happened but interpersonal relationships were too complex and too volatile for me to navigate and so I gathered up my things and left.

I had no perspective of unfinished business.

I could pretend that the situation was one of injustice, but it probably wasn’t. I could pretend that the situation was spiritual, i.e., this was happening because the other people weren’t ‘saved’ or ‘spiritually mature’ like me, and so this was all satan’s fault. Many times my reasonings around a situation are there to cover up my failures … perhaps sarcasm, disrespect, bad attitude, lack of humility. If I over-spiritualize the situation then there is no need to expose myself. Leaving abruptly, whether from work or a relationship or even a conversation with a friend, ensures that I won’t need to expose my shortcomings. An awesome defense mechanism, by the way.

If we believe in carrying the Kingdom of God to our workplaces then the way we handle things will be different from what seems most natural. Instead of demanding our own way we invite a conversation, share our ideas and risk rejection. We verbally acknowledge our failures and make ourselves vulnerable. We trust the Lord to work things out but we don’t hide behind spiritual fences. We let people see us as the mess that we can sometimes be. We fail in front of them. We succeed in front of them. And we let them wonder about our giant God.

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