Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 9 December 2015

Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. Mark 13, verse 11.

I’m finishing up my project now.   Since this is the end of the year, and since we were blessed to have a spectacularly successful go live in October, the time has come to close down the project. It’s a melancholy time, satisfying to know that my team – a bunch of rock stars – did exemplary work while being the best group you could ever want to know, yet bittersweet knowing that this time together is ending.

What’s more, since the main project is winding down, I volunteered to take on a short-term project for my client. I led a small team to write requirements for a new transaction the client wants to use, and in just under a month we made great progress, finishing the draft requirements and putting project structure around some things that had languished for most of a year.   Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fit and the client rolled me off the project no-notice this week, assigning it to another project manager.   I’m a little bitter about it, mainly because of the way they did it and the fact that our small team progressed very far very fast.

I feel like I got fired even though I didn’t. I still have a job, working for my consulting company, and I will likely be moving on to a new client in January. This kind of thing happens regularly, and if your customer wants someone else to do the work, that’s their prerogative especially since I had only a few weeks left with them anyway. Still, as I said, it leaves me feeling upset, betrayed.

What do you say when things like this happen?

Here’s the blessedly tough and real thing God wants me to say:   “Lord, bless their decision.”   Like Job said, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.   Blessed be the name of the Lord.”   In reality, the ONLY way to get through tough times, especially when they gob-smack you without notice, is to take them to God and pray for those involved.   When you get tough news, roll with it by rolling onto Jesus.

I’m a big fan of self-talk, of talking to myself and rehearsing what I’m going to say.   I used to do it a lot, practicing what I would say in briefings and presentations.   But I don’t do it much anymore.   Instead, I do indeed prepare as best I can, familiarizing myself with facts, data, and what’s needed.   Then I let the words come out righteously.   I let God’s Holy Spirit put the words in my mouth and follow where they lead.   I’ve never been led wrong by doing this.

That’s how I know that the right thing to do when you get bad news is to rely on God to speak to my heart, then speak through my voice instead of just me.

Especially when I want to respond in unkind ways to people to whom I had devoted much time and effort.   Yet the better way is to pray for them, to understand that it’s business and usually not personal, and that even in business people are often doing the best they can under bad circumstances.   In that light, it becomes even more important to rely on God.

Lord, I rely on You for my words, for my responses, for what I say and do with others.

Read Mark 13, verses 1-31.

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