This month (August 2019, as of this writing) has been a busy and stressful month, but I am grateful for all God has done in my life during this time. Right now, we are in the process of remodeling our countertops, since ours was outdated. We had waited for a month to get it done. During that time, my family and I were tempted to question if it would ever get done. We had to take out the kitchen sink, so we had to walk to the laundry room sink to cook or even wash our hands. Everything in the drawers and cabinets also had to be taken out.
Right now, I hear the workers coming in and out of our house to set the VERY heavy countertops in our kitchen. Thankfully, the weather is nice, and not excessively hot or cool, so opening the door outside is not a problem. Also, the workers would not get too exhausted, since it is not excessively humid or hot.
Not only in the matter of the countertops, but also in other areas of my life, God has been working to show me that He is always good, even when we, or our circumstances, are not. I learned that:
- God puts trials in our lives to grow us.
- God always provides for our needs.
- God always works things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)
First of all, God puts trials in our lives to grow us. I will be one of the first to admit; I have an aversion to trials, mostly because of anxiety and fear that things may turn out disastrous once I’m in the trial. However, thinking about some of the trials that I have been in throughout my life, even this month, I have seen that most of them have helped me grow in my character and trust of God. For instance, this week I worked at another location than the place I normally work. Because I have a tendency to get lost in place where I’m not familiar, I had someone drive me. However, their car overheated on the way there. Immediately in our minds, we were understandably (my co-worker more than me) stressed out and I even was thinking that I may not be able to get to the location at all! However, I tried to stay calm, while my co-worker asked for help. Eventually, we were able to get to the location we were supposed to be working at after that. Moreover, God provided someone else to drive me back to my regular workplace safely, and a friend to take my coworker to get his car towed and repaired. Through this little trial, God taught me to trust Him to provide for me, and that I didn’t have to panic or get anxious during a trial. Sometimes, I have even found that God allows trials in our lives to prepare us for the future. For instance, the experience with not having a kitchen sink for a month, and even working in another location, may be preparing me for something in my future or even to grow more versatile career-wise.
Second of all, I learned that God always provides for our needs. Even when we didn’t have a kitchen sink, God provided the laundry room sink so that we could wash our dishes, our hands, and cook (to get the water). When I worked in the other location, I learned to be grateful that I am working where I am at now, and not to gripe about it, even if others around me may be. I learned that where I’m working at now is really a decent place to work and is the right place for my personality, my giftedness, and the season of life I’m in right now, despite people around me quitting or encouraging me to quit. When God provided a job for me at my current workplace location (On how I got my current job, click here.), He knew what He was doing, and His plan was good and perfect for me!
Finally, God always works things out for the good of those who love Him. Last week, I was a little bit concerned about having to work the whole department by myself this past Monday and Tuesday. God knew I would be overwhelmed if I had to work those days in my normal location. So, an hour after I was clocked in on Monday and started doing freight, one of my managers asked, “Patricia, would you like to work at [name of other location]?
I said, “ I can’t drive far distances in locations I am not familiar with. First of all, I don’t have GPS. I also get lost really easily when I have to drive to places where I’m not familiar with, but if there is someone that could drive me there and back, I could.”
My manager replied, “if [name of a co-worker] is willing to drive you, would you come?”
I replied, “Sure.”
So, I ended up working at the other location on Monday. After I came back to my normal workplace location, one of my higher up managers wanted me to work at that same location I was in Monday, and I agreed. My anxiety over having to work the entire area by myself on Monday, and especially Tuesday, melted away, because I didn’t really have to work the department at all! Moreover, there were not too many customers those days, so the area wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be when I came back to work in my regular location on Wednesday with my co-worker Todd*.
This sure has been a busy and hectic week, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything, because God has taught me so much. Though I knew intellectually that God is good, now I can see God’s hand and His goodness more clearly in my life. May you see the goodness of God in your life as well!
*=name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual mentioned.
I wrote on April 9, 1999, when I was still in high school: “I wish I could be more […] effervescent (lively). I feel dead without being physically killed. I hope I don’t die emotionally, but I am dying. If I could only find that zest, that greatness life is supposed to hold. But where is it, at least in me?” I had no hope. I was fine physically, but I was slowly dying inside.
I’m thankful that I didn’t die or take my own life. Though I didn’t know it on April 9, about one year later, I would find Hope. Hope that helped me through the storms, and come out on the other side being greeted with a beaming joy and confidence that I had only dreamed of years before. Hope has also given me drive to persevere, even when I thought I could never make it. Hope has redeemed relationships that I thought were forever shattered. Hope has taken the junk in my life, and made it a treasure.
Hope was, and always is, Jesus.
Hope has given me purpose to live. Before I became a follower of Christ, I was living aimlessly, for myself. I had adequate material things, but I never really thought about blessing others with it. I wanted to excel academically, but that was getting more and more difficult, and my limitations were becoming more apparent.
With Jesus, I have realized that the world is so much bigger than me. With Jesus, I am able to partner with Him to share His great love and hope for a world that is looking for something bigger than the pain and the drudgery that life often brings.
Hope has given me a light at the end of the tunnel. I still struggle with depression occasionally, but now even in it, I have hope that God will bring good out of even that. I have hope, because God’s strength and light will help me overcome a depressive episode. I have hope because God has surrounded me with a group of people who love and care for me.
Hope has given me renewed confidence and joy that I had never known before. Since I found Hope, He has provided me with several communities of believers who have had my back and who care for one another. This support network I have had has helped me through some of the toughest times of my life, and even helped deliver me from some really bad situations.
Hope has provided me with my current job and some great managers, including several that believed in me enough to help me learn new things. I want to give a shout out to my now-former manager Elizabeth* who believed in me enough to allow me to train to be a back-up cashier and learn some managerial tasks as well. I want to give a shout out to my now former manager Chris* who took the chance and first hired me.
Hope has provided me a great mentor, in J, who always believed in my abilities and was God’s message to me that He would use me to accomplish His great will in my life.
Hope has provided me countless wonderful friends who have put up with my depressive episodes and have helped cheer me on.
Hope has given me much hope for the future. Hope has given me freedom from the shackles that held me back in my past.
Recently, I have seen or witnessed more than my fair share of what happens when compassion is lacking or absent in the workplace. I saw a video of a person vandalizing company property because they had been bullied so much there. Now, there is even training in many companies of how to survive a workplace shooting! What has this world come to? And how can we do our part to make sure each associate and client in the workplace is treated with dignity and respect?
One of the ways we can do this is by showing compassion to others. According to Merriam- Webster.com, compassion can be defined as “ sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress to alleviate it.” (“Definition of Compassion, Merriam-Webster). In other words, compassion is having a heart to help and heal others through their pain and struggles.
Why we should show compassion:
The primary reason for us to show compassion is because Christ did. In Matt 9:36, when he was preaching in the cities to crowds, He “was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” In Matt 15:32, Jesus said to His disciples, “ I have compassion on the multitude,because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.” In each instance, Jesus wanted to provide for them, either or both physical or spiritual nourishment. Compassion is different from pity in that compassion strives for action, while pity is more passive and often takes a hint of condescension.
We should also show compassion for the sake of our humanity. When we regularly and intentionally show compassion to others, we become more caring, and thus, more human. Some people reason if they stop caring about others, they won’t get hurt. While that may have some truth to it, being completely apathetic breeds monsters. The results are people murdering and/ or abusing others “for fun” or just to suit some sadistic fantasy. These people are so callous, they no longer have the capacity to truly care about anyone outside themselves.
Furthermore, we should show compassion for others to help save lives or at least avert violence in the workplace. In the example of a person being bullied by colleagues and even managers, what if instead they tried to ascribe dignity and compassion to them? What if instead of participating in workplace gossip, we focused instead on thanking those who work hard for us everyday? If someone is clearly distraught or upset, instead of ignoring or ridiculing them, we should try to comfort and be encouraging to them. When we do this for the people who work with us, or for our clients, we can sometimes save their lives. Maybe if more people showed compassion, less troubled people would be tempted to wreak havoc at our jobs. Instead, they would have more motivation to do something positive with their lives because they know someone cares.
Last, but not least, compassion breeds productivity. For example, one of my now-former managers, *Elizabeth, knew I was very stressed one day, and instead of punishing me or getting upset at me, reiterated the qualities she admired in me, and encouraged me to not give up. Also, Elizabeth also allowed me to learn many things under her direction and didn’t give up on me when I didn’t get it right the first time. Her compassion for me when I was stressed and when no one else believed in me is a big part of what kept me going during tough times in our store. Now when I’m stressed and remember what Elizabeth said to me, I feel much more motivated to persevere through the stress.
Ways to Demonstrate Compassion:
Some of the ways we should demonstrate compassion are:
- To encourage others who are going through a tough time.– When someone looks stressed or upset, be there to comfort and encourage them. For instance, if a co-worker is going through a divorce with their soon-to-be ex spouse, tell them they are not alone and help them through that with whatever you can.
- To pray for others.– Another way we can demonstrate compassion at work is to be willing to pray for others if they tell you of a need or concern and are open to prayer. Many people see our willingness to care enough to put their needs and concerns before the Lord as a refreshing and positive thing.
- To serve others.– I have had several coworkers who have struggled with physical health issues, so I have offered to help them with some of their tasks. This allows them to be more relaxed and thus heal faster, then if they had to work at the same frantic pace that may be expected of them when they are 100%. Another way one can help is to pick up some of their shifts if they anticipate not being able to work at all.
- To appreciate others’ good work– When you see someone doing a good job or if someone does something to help you, thank them. Write a note of encouragement and appreciation to the colleagues that have helped you the most, and the managers that do above and beyond what is expected of them.
As you can see, compassion goes a long way to improving morale and general workplace conditions. When we show compassion and care, we learn to be more Christlike; we avoid becoming callous monsters, we can help save lives, and help increase productivity, and thus profit for our company.
“Definition of Compassion.” (July 10, 2019). Retrieved from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compassion .
When I was growing up, I was a naughty and very active child. Despite my energy, I did not really have any close friends. Back then, I dreamed of one day going to a prestigious university, like my parents, and getting the best grades possible. I probably thought, unconsciously, that if I made it to a prestigious and a good university, I would then be able to get a job that would pay me a lot of money, and thus I would win friends and influence.
Indeed, I worked very hard in school and got decent grades. However, I really didn’t have passion for the content of what I studied; I just wanted to do well to please my parents and also to be “the –girl-who-worked-hard-and-got-the-best-grades.” I wanted to be respected and valued. In retrospect, getting good grades at school became a sort of idol for me. I worshipped the god of achievement, and without it, I reasoned that I was worthless.
Then, when I was sixteen years old, I struggled through several classes. I no longer got the grades I wanted or needed. I was even in danger of failing a class. One of my teachers even said in so many words that he didn’t believe I would ever amount to much in this life, probably partly due to the fact I wasn’t doing so well in his class. I also lacked peer support. In fact, no one in my class dared to counter what that teacher said to me. I also I felt my family could not relate to the turmoil inside me, as they seemed to be living a different life. In fact, in a journal entry from April 1999, I had written, “I wish I could be more […] effervescent (lively). I feel dead without being physically killed. I hope I don’t die emotionally, but I am dying. If I could only find that zest, that greatness life is supposed to hold. But where is it, at least in me?” I was so depressed that I wanted an escape, maybe to even end my life.
However, several months later, God saved me from that. Fast forward a few years later, I went to college, but not at a prestigious university which I had dreamed. After I graduated, I tried to look for work in my field of study, but to no avail.
After that, I finally found a part-time job in retail. There, I learned many customer service skills and other people skills I needed to succeed. I did well there, but after a while, I felt God calling me to somewhere else—a place where I never thought I’d end up. It was during that time, that God was preparing me for a new life, where He would give me more than I could have ever dreamed.
I was so excited when I got an interview at one of the local bookstores near where I lived! I had always dreamed of working in a bookstore! I loved books, and the workers there seemed nice. However, the day of the interview, I quickly found out that I wasn’t the right fit. At this point, I didn’t think I would get another job opportunity any time soon. The search went on.
Then, one, cold wintry day on February 25, 2016, I went with my mom to the store I now work to buy a few things. What I did not know was that trip would change my life forever.
I asked the HR representative the status of my resume, and after that she offered me to interview at 1 pm. Since I didn’t have adequate time to prepare or change into more formal attire, my mom and I ate lunch at the mall nearby, and then I went back to the store to get interviewed. When I got interviewed, I was so nervous and stuttering over my words, that I thought surely they wouldn’t accept me. To my surprise, I got a job offer! I waited until the next day to accept, after I sought counsel from my family. On March 10, I officially started at my current job.
Meanwhile, many people were leaving my now-former church. I loved that church, but inside there were so many changes that it rocked the congregation. About half of the congregation left or were in the process of leaving. At about the same period of time, my brother told my parents and me that he was going to go to school in Texas to get his Master’s degree. What I didn’t know then was my brother was going to live there permanently.
I felt, except for my new job, that my dreams were going to be shattered all over again. I would either have to accept the changes at my now-former church or find somewhere different to worship. Not going to church wasn’t even an option for me. I would also have to adjust to life without some of the support of my brother.
My brother left for Texas in August 2016. The day he left, the house felt hollow and quiet. The basement that used to be full of my brother’s stuff was now almost bare, but habitable again. My dad went with my brother to help him move. My mom and I remained at home. I felt numb and solemn that day. My heart felt like there was something missing—the void where my brother’s physical presence radiated my life.
Then, in mid-October, I said goodbye to the church that I had been attending for about ten years. It was very hard, as I had established so many friendships there, and these people were like a second family to me. Before I left to visit a church nearby, I was in tears, as I said goodbye to some of the congregants.
However, there was a very bright spot, in the midst of all the goodbyes, a month before I left my now-former church.
In September, I was working the swing shift, and one of my managers, Hope* was closing with me. She was complimenting me about my performance that day. Since I was still part-time, I told her, “I am thinking of becoming full-time. However, Chris*, my manager, said I should wait a while. I was wondering how long I should wait.” Then, Hope replied, “You shouldn’t have to wait. You deserve full-time.” Later on, or the next day, she put me in for full-time. Later, Chris also approved my full- time status. I was ecstatic! Because of all the challenges that I had to face, I never dreamed I would ever get a full time job in my life!
A month later, after I had left my former church, I visited another church. It had many more people than the one I had previously visited. A friendly couple greeted me and I sat by them. Even the pastors were friendly. The sermon that day was very thought-provoking and relatable to what I was going through in my life. I didn’t know yet if this was going to be my new home church, but I liked their genuineness and their devotion to the Word of God, so I kept going. In August of the next year, I officially became a member of my current church. Through my church, I have learned how to have an engaging quiet time with God, how to view life more positively and differently than most of the rest of the world, and how to forgive people who have hurt you deeply.
God’s Perfect Plan
No, I never got the six figure salary I had dreamed of, nor did I get into a prestigious college. However, I have been blessed with more than I could have ever dreamed. Through my church family and people at work, I have gained a strong support system. Also, I am still in touch with several people from my old church, who I still consider good friends, even though they live very far away from where I am now. Through the tough situations I find myself in at work, God has used those to strengthen and shape my character into His. Through church, I continue to train to be able to share the love and hope that I found in life through God and His gracious plans for me. Yes, I still have bad days, but overall, I have found more joy and satisfaction during these past two years, than at any other time in my life. God has certainly blessed me with more than I could ever dream!
*=names have been changed for privacy reasons
After many stops and starts with blogging, having written about twenty posts and then promptly deleting my blog, God led me to start “God’s Whisperings” on December 23, 2015. Since then, God has graciously provided for me so much in my life! I never thought anyone would be interested in reading my blog or that I would be able to write over 200 posts in just over three years! Thank you so much to all my readers and supporters of this blog. Without you, I wouldn’t have ever made it this far! God continues to “whisper” important wisdom and inspiration into my life through the people, places, and circumstances I encounter in my life every day.
I am excited to announce that I am in the process of writing a memoir about how God brought me out of the darkest period of my life and helped me grow into who I am today. It will be called, Becoming a Butterfly: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness. My goals in writing this are: a.) To give those who are going through similar struggles I went through hope that they, too, can conquer their demons and find joy in their lives. b.) to give God glory and appreciation for all He has done for me thus far in my life c.) to express gratitude to those in my life who have helped me become who I am today. d.) to inspire others to find joy and purpose in their lives through interacting with my story.
Yes, I will still be writing in this blog, and yes, I still plan to work full-time at my day job. However, I will focus more of my time to write this memoir, and will share it with you when it is complete. If any one of you would like to guest post on my blog, please email me at: email@example.com. Thank you so much for being part of my writing journey, and I hope you will continue to find something of value in what I share with you.
I believe that most of our problems in relationships stem from an “I-deserve-better” attitude. This past Friday (at the time of this writing), a disgruntled former employee opened fire and killed five of his co-workers at a manufacturing facility, about a half hour from where I live. I attest one of the reasons why he got so angry was because he thought he truly deserved the job, and when his bosses fired him, everything in this former worker unraveled before him. Though most of us would not murder when we don’t get what we think we deserve, we can still get tempted to get similarly angry when our “rights are being violated” or we think we aren’t “getting the good we deserve in this life.” This causes us, me included, unfortunately, to become defensive and angry at those around us…and even at God. However, a good thing to keep in mind, especially if you are a follower of Christ, is, “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17a) and that we don’t really deserve anything! When we have a mindset that everything good in this life is undeserved and is a gift of grace from above, this entitlement attitude starts to disappear. However, in the society we live in, especially if you live in a Western country, this entitlement attitude is deeply ingrained in us, me included, that I think we need to learn how to embrace the “gift” mentality instead. Here are some things that I have learned about why we should strive to treat whoever and whatever comes our way as gifts, not as something “owed” to us.
When we think we are entitled to someone or something, we are not acknowledging that God really owns it all. However, when we acknowledge that everything we get is a gift from God, we are recognizing His control and His power over our lives—an important aspect of true worship. My pastor said today that we must be willing to be a living sacrifice in order to truly worship God, and part of being a sacrifice is relinquishing our rights to His control. If you work, even the money we “earn” from your job is a gift because it is God who gave you the abilities and skills to do your job well enough to be able to sustain employment and thus a paycheck! I wonder if the recent shooting on Friday could have been avoided if, when the man who shot five people at his job got fired, instead of getting angry at this perceived injustice, he just appreciated the money he had already gotten from his job and just appreciated the gifts he still had in his life more.
When we see everything we have as a gift, and not something that someone “owes” us, we become more able to be content with life, even with its caveats and imperfections. Think about how it feels when you get a gift that you totally do not expect or deserve. Not only are you most likely to feel intense joy, but also, more likely, an overwhelming sense of gratitude and humility towards the person who gave you the gift. When we strive to approach our lives the same way, each blessing we get will cause us to feel joy and gratitude. However, when we think we are owed something or that we “earned” something, we are not as grateful because whatever we get is our due, anyway, or so we believe. This is why most of us get upset when we don’t feel we are getting what we perceive is owed us. We see it as an injustice, a violation of our moral rights. However, if we take away the “scoreboard” in our souls of things supposedly owed us, this anger has no longer has any place to reside, and will melt away.
When we see everyone and everything that is given to us as a gift, we tend to value them more. For instance, if my friend gives me something that I perceive is from his or her heart and that is not owed me, I tend to want to take better care of it, so that I don’t lose the preciousness of the gift. This not only applies to material gifts, it also applies to treating each person as a gift from above. When we treat each person as a gift from above, instead of someone or something disposable or suited only to meet our needs, we tend to treat them better. I have witnessed and heard in many different workplaces, unfortunately, of people being treated like disposable objects, or at best, tools, if you will, instead of the precious, complex image-bearers of God they are. This mentality seems to be growing worse and more prevalent, not only in workplaces, but also in other social constructs as well. However, when we go against the grain and strive to treat each person we encounter as the precious gifts they are, we can not only touch lives, we can change the world around us for the better.
When we acknowledge everything we get is a gift, not something we are owed, we are most ready to worship God rightly; we are more likely to be content and grateful with our lives, and we will value those around us more. This week God has been teaching me over and over again that everything I get from Him is a gift, and not something I could really deserve or earn. When I realize all that has been given to me, I realize that I am blessed beyond measure by a God who gives me more than I could ever deserve.