Sometimes you have to tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to just sit down and shut up. TobyMac#SpeakLife
Well, I go this message on Facebook a while ago and I really liked it…it’s a bit irreverent, but SO right on! I tell you, that “negative committee” not only meets inside my head…it seems to reside in there permanently.
As I have shared multiple times before, I have a tendency to over-worry, to see the empty side of the glass and to fixate on the negative odds in every situation. I’m not proud of it and I pray the Lord helps me overcome these harmful tendencies. I know one day He will free me from all that bondage, because it is for freedom that He has set me free. As He guides me to freedom road, Christ is teaching me to pray for wisdom and discernment in order to pay attention to everything that happens to me. This way, I can see the message in it and try to extract the lesson in all circumstances…so I can move on rather than become stuck in the muck of negativity and fear.
Well…such has been the case lately in my life. As it happens, I applied for a promotion at work back in October. The odds were completely against me since one of my colleagues also applied and she is absolutely deserving of the promotion…way more than me… She applied for a different and higher rank than mine, but again, her portfolio is just so entirely astonishing that from where I stood, I didn’t have a chance. Actually, there were several times, while preparing the almost 15 pound-binders x 3 I had to turn in to the review committees (3 different committees, they each got a binder) I was tempted to give up and not bother with the application. There was one instance, at the very end when I actually got so upset that I told the chair of one of the committees that I was not going to apply. She yelled at me and told me to shape up…so I did, and I turned in the packets.
Anyway…the months went by and one day I overheard the Dean of our Department say to my extremely, super qualified colleague that her promotion was basically in the bag…I felt happy for her…but that was kind of confirmation that I didn’t have a chance. I had a feeling, though not confirmed by anything I had read or seen anywhere, that the committees would not approve two faculty members to be promoted in the same semester…so I kind of lost hope…
However, I kept praying. The Holy Spirit moved me to keep lifting up this promotion in prayer daily…and every time I prayed for it, all I said was something like: “Lord, I give you all the details of this promotion. I give it all to You. You are the One who decides, not the committees…You are the One who knows…” So every day, from October to May I prayed.
One day, I can’t remember when it was. I think it was toward the end of April, I came in to work and I saw my colleague, the one with the extra heavy promotion binders, crying in the doorway of our Department’s Office… “I’m not getting the promotion,” she said. I was dumbfounded! “What happened?” I asked quietly. “A technicality, a form with the wrong heading … one piece of paper, and they won’t even let me change it…” I felt so bad for her…I did! “You have to appeal! It’s not fair!” I commented, totally irritated by the ridiculousness of the whole thing. But no matter what she did, the committees did not allow the change and she was irrevocably disqualified to apply for promotion this year. She would have to turn in the three binders next year again.
A few weeks went by. I got busy with the end-of-the-semester preparations, so I stopped thinking about the promotion. The first week of May went by. We celebrated Grant’s fourteen birthday and then boom! There was a crack on the floor. Dan lost his job…
Although it was not completely surprising, it was utterly shocking. We began to make cuts to our budget as I wrapped up the semester and praised God for the summer class I would teach since that represented extra money. I also praised God for the way Dan manages our finances, which allows us to be debt free. I also praised God for the fact that Dan was finally free from a job that was toxic for him. I also praised God for the fact that losing this job has opened a door to a new adventure which may allow Dan to pursue what I’ve always believed is his true calling: teaching. But I can’t deny I also panicked.
A couple of weeks later we found out that unemployment benefits were denied. I was counting on that…
I kept praying for God to open and close all the necessary doors for Dan to find the path that will lead him to His will. The phone has remained silent. No job interviews… only a bunch of doors closing up on the one side, while on the other, the door to a graduate program seems to open wider and wider every day. I praise God for what appears to be a straight path. However, I can’t deny I’m still very nervous about finances. In the meantime, the sale of a piece of land I inherited from my Dad became final, providing the necessary funds for Dan to be able to go back to school without having to get into debt. Praise the Lord! But I can’t deny, I still fear.
The semester is over. I turned in my grades and shifted gears to get ready for the summer class I’m teaching. One afternoon I got home as Dan was sorting through the mail. In the pile there was a letter from the university. As usual, I immediately panicked. I grabbed the envelop in my hands and returned it to Dan unopened, thinking: I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is, it can’t be good. Dan opened it and began to read it. The letter was WAY too short, not a good sign:
“I have reviewed the information regarding your request for promotion and have received the recommendations of the appropriate persons. As the President’s designee, I am pleased to inform you that I have approved your promotion in rank from Assistant Professor to Associate professor effective at the beginning of the next academic year.
I offer my personal congratulations.”
We have just found out that according to the bylaws, only one faculty member per department can be promoted in any given year.
As the Lord of all committees in the world has spoken…the negative committee that lives in my head finally sits down in silence.