A Word on Hope From a Surprising Source
Recently, I was in a discussion with a Supervisor at work about current work opportunities, professional development, and advancement.
I normally count it an honor to speak to a Supervisor candidly, and even more of an honor whenever one takes the time to share nuggets of wisdom.
These people are busy. Every moment counts when they’re on the clock.
However, the corporate culture must hold onto relationship-building as a core value, because I have been amazed at the moments in time Supervisors have opened up and shared with me. The company still values and teaches the Golden Rule as part of the new trainee onboarding program: Do unto others as you want them to do to you (see also Matthew 7.12).
I’m honored, grateful, and often amazed at the wisdom they share.
In the recent conversation with a Supervisor about current work opportunities, professional development, and advancement our conversation shifted to past work regrets and missed opportunities.
What if it would have turned out another way sooner?
What if I could have done more?
The Supervisor just began to flow with nothing short of a word of encouragement, and eventually declared:
“If I’m thinking about ‘shoulds’ I should’ve done then it leads to depression because that’s back there. You can’t change your past because they haven’t invented time travel yet. You can only change your future, so for me each new day is full of new hopes.” Rachelle, Supervisor, JCPenney
we boast in our hope… and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us (see Romans 5.1-5)
In line with Rachelle’s word of hope, I post the Scripture on “hope” from Romans now as an afterthought.
However, in the moment with the Supervisor, I had nothing to add. She had spoken something like an axiom, a truth that stands alone on its own.
I was so impressed, I posted her quote all over my social networks. She seemed surprised that I had posted it and asked if she could take a picture of my Instagram post right off of my phone. She showed another Supervisor who read the quote out loud. Rachelle said, “Those are my words. You’re going to make me famous.”
“shoulds” and “musts” are out
In my first masters degree in educational counseling, the other students and I were constantly warned not to use “shoulds” and “musts.”
The reasoning was the same as what the Supervisor expressed. If a counselor says “you should have…” or “you must do…” then it automatically triggers negative reactions in the client.
If a list of shoulds and musts is allowed in the counseling setting, it can lead to frustration for the client, possibly anxiety, and even depression as Rachelle confessed.
In a Biblical sense, shoulds and musts are not the invitation of the Spirit through His gentle, persuasive conviction. Quite the contrary, shoulds and musts evoke a sense of condemnation, a tool God never uses.
timeless words on hope
Some words are timeless and deserve to be shared for contemplation and spiritual formation.
God speaks in various ways and through all types of people in His Holy Writ.
I’m ever developing a listening ear, not only on Sundays and Wednesday nights, but also all throughout the week.
Come here. You’re okay!
The Supervisor sensed my deeper question and answered it.
Wednesday night in the crowded church lobby, I walked passed the children’s check in station on the way to the group I am currently leading.
I saw a young boy look to one of the volunteer children’s workers with a look of angst.
I don’t know what was wrong with the kid, but the volunteer called him over.
She took a look at him and said, “Come here.” She quickly assessed his situation and said, “You’re okay!”
He checked in, but he needed to be checked out by an expert.
Every once in awhile after bad things happen we all need to hear something like, “Come here. You’re okay.”
Brandon Heath | It’s Alright
We all need to have someone validate the fact that bad things happen to us at times like past work regrets and missed opportunities.
Nonetheless we need to hear we’re still alright.
For more readings like this, consult The Writings archive CLICK