OK, the title is not entirely true. I am getting laid off as of June 30, 2012 from my half-time job at a local government in Oregon. I have had many friends that have lost jobs, and being in management for nearly 15 years, I have also been the one who has had to let people go. I know that these experiences can be both traumatizing and nerve wracking for both sides (the manager and employee).
As I sat down in the conference room with my boss, and one other person from HR, I immediately knew what this meeting was about. I knew my employer was facing a fairly severe budget crisis, and that layoffs were eminent. I also knew what the other two were thinking: “How will he react?”
I have found that in these types of situations, there are generally two reactions: anger and sadness. The first is generally an emotional outburst that involves the employee saying really harsh things to their boss and about their employer. The goal here, as I have observed it, is to cut their boss deep with insults, and to make it personal. The second generally involves a lot of tears and tissue. Though one might be tempted to say that one goes with the males and the other the females, you would be wrong. Gender does not matter in these instances. People react without stereotype.
So, there I was. I had just been informed my position would be eliminated in three months. So, I looked at both of them, smiled, and then simply said “OK, I’m good.” They were a bit taken aback, I think.
Don’t get me wrong, I will miss the people I work with, and I wasn’t being sarcastic. But, I was, and still am, genuinely OK with it.
At that moment, Jeremiah 29:11 was flying through my 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 hope and a future.” (NIV)
I have spent the last five years following what God has asked me to do in my life, the lives of my family, and my career. It has been an amazing time. I know that God’s got something cool that He has saved for just this moment. I look forward to seeing what adventure He has planned for me next.
The really cool part was that this opened the door, in a government institution, no less, to share my faith in Christ. When they responded that I was being very gracious in all this, I simply said “It has nothing to do with me. God’s got my back, and I know this only means that it is the start of the next adventure He has planned for me.” I went on to share that I was at peace with whatever happened in my life, and that my God will look after me.
The Apostle Paul got it right when he wrote this beautiful section in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
I have know a lot of people that bitterly complain at God when they go through difficulties in their life. It is easy to love Him and thank Him when things are going great. However, the impulse when things seemingly go awry is to blame Him for the disaster. It’s not His fault. He offers to see us through the difficulties, He never promises that every waking moment of every day will be perfect.
No matter the hardships you go through, be thankful to God that He is there for you. Pray that His desires for your life will be revealed – not just once, but continually. The next part is the hardest part – follow what He asks you to do. Then, when disaster strikes, you will know that it is only the beginning of a new adventure, with Him by your side. He will lead you as you transition.
Thank you, Jesus, for all you have done, and are doing in my life. I look forward to what you have planned for me next.