A few years ago, I took a position at a church as a web developer. Soon after, a new administration pastor and IT director were hired, and I felt micromanaged and clashed with them from the outset. We got into arguments about how things should be done, and I bristled under their leadership.
I was wrestling with the situation and felt the Lord convict me about my attitude toward them and my lack of submission to their authority. I wrote this in my journal:
I talked to Peter and Paul and apologized for my behavior. It went well with Paul, and we ironed out scheduling. The talk with Peter didn’t go so well. Instead of accepting that our styles are different and working to a compromise … he basically told me I need to fix my style and be able to give timelines because our “customers” expect it.
The new year rolled around and we were in the midst of a large project. I don’t know if I intentionally went to James for my Bible reading that day, or if God just led me there, but it was a word I needed to hear:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? James 4:1″
I got into a heated discussion with Paul yesterday. I think part of the reason I got mad was he didn’t understand the concept I was talking about, but mostly it’s because I think I’m right and he thought I was wrong. My pride and ego reared their heads and I got angry. I went for a walk because I was livid…I’m having a hard time being submissive to him. He has done and said things that I deemed as ignorant so I’ve failed to give him my respect and submission.
The next day I disagreed further, but I just kept quiet and did what he wanted, even though I didn’t agree with it. A few weeks later, we went through all the technical decisions from the past year and a half. The conversation felt like an inquisition, and I took it as a personal attack. Around that time, I was reading Philippians 2:
I am not looking out for Paul’s interests. I want to do my best so that he is eventually seen as incompetent or foolish. Father, how do I move from that to a heart of humility that wishes to see him praised and honored through my actions? How do I humble my desire to be right and to be praised?…This has already been a long battle, and it has barely even begun. Remind me daily that this is a test of my faith. I am on the potter’s wheel, a lump of clay being kneaded to start over on a new vessel.
At the end of the summer I was still struggling with my supervisors. I wrestled with finding a new job, but the Lord told me that I needed to learn submission before I could move on:
I have bouts with pride and envy lately. The pride because I think I know better how to run IT … and I’m envious of Paul’s position and he doesn’t have to do all this BS work they’ve given me.
During the intervening months, I was moved into my supervisor’s office. They claimed it was so we could collaborate better, but I took it as a lack of trust. By Fall, I felt led by the Lord to talk to Paul about my frustrations instead of stewing about them:
As I prayed this morning I sensed the Lord leading me to talk to Paul. So today, I told him how I felt, that I perceived the move as a lack of trust and respect. He assured me that he has the utmost respect for me… So that worked out well.
As the year progressed, things were changing in my heart. A group of us went out to lunch, and I ended up sitting next to Paul. As we talked about our lives, it hit me, “Six months ago, I couldn’t stand this guy and didn’t want to talk to him.”
In February of the following year, I was laid off. I left with a clear conscience knowing that I had worked at learning submission. I still struggle, but that experience left an indelible impression on me. I am glad I submitted to the Lord’s discipline instead of running from it.