Faith lessons on the job

I have worked for the same company for nearly 30 years. I know – its rare these days to find anyone who has worked in one place for so long (except maybe for family owned businesses). I can honestly say I never expected to be here this long, but it’s been a good company. I have had a number of roles over the years, from customer service to training, analytics to project management. Each role has challenged me and sharpened my skills.

I’m sure many of you could say the same, as you look across the scope of the jobs you have had over your lifetime, regardless of how long it has been.

For me, I can also see how much each job I have had at the bank has taught me skills that translate to my life of faith: handling conversations with people that are frustrated with a calm manner and willingness to show empathy, helping groups move from disagreement to compromise on how to move forward, gaining confidence in preparation and speaking, and being “new” (after the recent merger) and feeling like I don’t belong, yet trusting I’ve got a place.

Just recently, I moved into a new role, that of a scrum master – essentially a team leader or coach, who works to help the team deliver a set of work towards a larger goal. In our case, its code development that is tested and quality checked to bring new functionality to an in-house web application. I know, not flashy.

Putting it in context: this is what goes on months before you get that cool new option your bank rolls out on your phone app.

I’ll admit, I thought I knew what I was doing coming into this new role, having been on a team for two years now and watching some other good scrum masters..…..Then I went to training…..and all I could see was my inadequacy and how far I had to go.

Nearly 30 years in, I am already a high functioning leader in just about everything I have done so far, to the point that I have coached and mentored folks learning new processes after the merger. I’ve established myself as someone that knows what they are doing, and doesn’t give up. I ferret out details, ask the questions no one is asking, pick up the slack and do things to make sure they get done. I live in the weeds. I keep track of stuff and remember stuff others don’t.

It’s always been about how much I know and can do.

My new role? Coach. Teach others to solve their own problems – don’t do it for them. Ask more questions than I share knowledge. Build team collaboration so they can function without me. Help folks resolve conflict, don’t carry it as my own.

I know this probably sounds simple …..but as I have been processing what this is going to take, I had a bit of a spiritual “a-ha!” moment, because it has dovetailed with some other things going on in my life right now.

One might say this is causing a major shift for me.… We’re talking seismic shift here.. in the way I think, the way I operate, the way I operate and consider a job well done. Whew.

Ever been there?

I’m sure most of you have, whether it’s a new job, new phase in life, traumatic event, something with your kids or family our partner you didn’t expect that all of a sudden exposes the reality that sure, you have skills and strengths and personal character, but this? This new thing is requiring more from you than you ever expected.

For me, things like this drag up every childhood insecurity I have ever faced, and raises them tenfold. Old voices come calling:

– You don’t have what it takes

– If you don’t know it all, you shouldn’t even bother

– No one wants you on their team

– You have to know it all NOW or you are failing

This is where the outworking of being humbled finds its place for all of us, I think, and we have the choice to either turn inward and be afraid that we don’t have what it takes, or we can push forward and take ahold of every tool possible, every person coming along side of us to help us succeed.

In faith terms?

What if we saw each new challenge (whether in life or on the job), each new thing we face, with eyes that trusted God was giving us the chance to do something that would help us gain skills for where we are headed next, precisely because he knows we are ready to learn something new …..instead of feeling overwhelmed and questioning ourselves to start with?

My inner evangelical has a zillion bible verses that long to be quoted right about now, but to do that I think would minimize the grandness of sitting in the moment that God awakens realizations that sometimes are larger than words.

And, when we can sit in them for just a bit, I think it causes wonder and trust in a new way, if we will let it.

Here’s to new challenges, my friends, and trusting that as we rise to meet them, we can grow in our trust that the God of the universe, the one who is Love itself, will rise to meet us as we walk forward into his purpose for our lives!

By Tama Nguyen

I'm an avid reader, tea drinker, and outdoor adventure seeker. I am convinced that God is still out to fix this broken world, and He uses us to do it. Chasing after things that matter...

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