Dear beat-down and broken-apart me,
The term you are looking for is “workplace bullying”, and, no, there is no explanation that will make you feel okay. Your job has turned so ugly that you are consumed with the dread of the next day even as you lock up the office each night. Ironically, you’re spending more and more time there, although it’s the last place you want to be. You are paranoid, depressed, and riddled with anxiety. No matter how hard you think back, how many coworkers you question, you can’t figure out what you did to anger your supervisor to this point. You feel trapped, without options.
Let me reassure you: You aren’t the screw-up she is saying you are. You are a hard worker, a dedicated professional, a bright employee that all your future managers will treasure. But you are young, and your immaturity and naivety are liabilities right now. God will use this period of aggressive refinement to humble and wise you up a bit. As a result, you will recognize your worth in Him so you can stand your ground, while also being an advocate for others. You need this for exactly the reasons described in James 1:2-4 (MSG):
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Yes, it feels like you’re constantly being watched, scrutinized, and called into meetings to tell you what you’re doing wrong. Don’t live in fear of those confrontations – prepare for them. Ask God to walk into each of those meetings with you. Better yet, ask Him to walk into work with you each day. Remember that He is beside you, and that He is your ultimate Boss. Hear Him say, “You are My beloved child, and My employee. My correction is gentle and for your benefit.”
Spiritually, there is a battle going on around you. You belong to God, and you will experience suffering for that. So join with the believers you meet in this place and pray together. Speak truth and love and light over this situation. Invite the Spirit to bring peace to the hearts of those who are troubling yours. It sounds crazy, even impossible, but it gets easier with practice. Stop playing victim, and let Him be the Conqueror!
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)
You’re going to make mistakes as you deal with this abusive environment, but your Boss’ grace is vast and He will fill in the gaps you leave behind. Strive to be faithful to Him, to live a good testimony to those who see what you’re experiencing. Let His light shine through you, even amidst this darkness! Fight the temptation to gossip and slander those who are hurting you; it only brings you down to their level. Resist the temptation to grow resentful. At just the right moment, your Conqueror will throw the door wide for you to move into a new, amazing career! And the freedom will be ever so sweet, especially if you have stood firm in complete dependence on Him.
By His grace & in His time,
P.S. When you arrive at your next job, you are going to meet a very special friend. You only have a short time with her in this world, so treasure each moment and conversation. Don’t let your busyness swallow up the opportunities God has given you with her – there is so much timely healing this friendship will provide you both!
Jessica S. Marquis is the Founder & Editor of Verses 3 to 5. She resides in Phoenix, AZ, with her husband and three kiddos.