My dear friends —
I know morale’s low. Very, very low. I know you feel betrayed. Shafted. Unloved. And very, very angry. I know that denial stage comes quickly on the heels of those very big feelings. “Surely, this isn’t happening!” you think. Emotionally, the room spins. Your stomach bottoms out. Your heart pounds.
You default to the coping mechanism you’ve learned so well: keep busy and go numb. You sing it in hymns. “Oh, to be Nothing.” “Let me Burn Out for Thee!” “May the Lord Find Us Faithful!” You hear it in the ether. “Just two choices on the shelf: Pleasing God or pleasing self.”
In the end, you’re mad that you’re feeling at all. If you could only stifle these enormously conflicted and loud emotions, you’d be okay. You’d make it. You’d conquer this pseudo-“sin” of feeling. You hope for some glimmer of kindness from this organization that you’ve devoted your entire life to serving, but it never comes. You empathize with the administration’s feelings more than your own.
You finally yell out in prayer, “God, please help me to stop caring about this!” He won’t do that. Read any Psalm and you see that they are full of these conflicted feelings. The Psalms teach us that God’s okay with our most difficult emotions. He can take it. That’s why He’s God.
As you slosh through these last few months, I want you to know that God made you — a living, breathing, feeling soul. He loves you. He redeemed you. He didn’t redeem you as an employee per se or a robot. He didn’t redeem you to stop feeling. He didn’t redeem you to be a compliant worker. He did redeem you simply because He loves you, and He feels with you. He’s as angry at the injustice as you are.
And I’d like to warn you about a couple things:
- They are going to tell you how to feel. They are. They are going to just insist that you feel things their way. Gary and Stephen both did this to us personally. Do not let them. You feel what you feel. It’s okay.
- They are going to tell you what to say. Even down to how you write your resignation letter. Dave Fisher says this to nearly every employee who leaves. He has them re-write their resignation letters. It’s a control thing.
- They are going to tell you how to act. Even after you leave and are no longer in their employ, they will send you along little notes or people to tell you what’s proper behavior all while dangling the carrot of future employment at BJU. Your pastor — someone you thought you could wholly trust — will do the same (he’s been told to from the BJU administration). These are love bombs. Be prepared for them. Distrust the love bombs.
It’s hard to see clearly right now. Your feelings are actually more clear-headed and God-given than the standards of behavior that your employer imposes on you. That statement alone is so counter-intuitive to everything we learned in our life together, but it really is the truth.
The Church is out here waiting for you. With open arms. We are feeling this pain with you. We are crying with you, praying for you, and ready to help.
All my love and admiration,