This is not been a fabulous week at work. Or, more accurately, my behavior has not been fabulous at work. We are in the midst of painful change. The coleader with whom I have worked for the last nine years left the organization last week. In fact, several folks with whom I have worked closely have left the organization. The “leaning” of administrative staff has even made its way to the front page of the Charlotte Observer. These changes have greatly affected me and the physicians with whom I work. Change is never easy. But, if you’re not changing, you’re dying. So change has to happen.
Truthfully, now that I’ve gotten over the initial shock, I am excited about the new opportunities ahead. And, I’m looking forward to this new administrative structure as a way to build relationships with new people. It just takes time and effort. But, when you’re operating with little margin, it’s hard find that surplus.
Also, in the last month, we have moved to a new interface with our electronic medical record. I have been piloting the new interface for months, but the vast majority of my colleagues moved to this new process. Change is not easy.
On Thursday, all of that change hit me rather abruptly. As I was frantically trying to see patients before a large meeting that afternoon, the electronic medical record was functioning on yellow, likely due to the onslaught of everybody jumping onto the new interface. That simply meant that I was spending a lot of time looking at an hourglass. The new functionality was not working well. And, I was behind. I found myself walking into the last several patients of the day apologizing for being behind. No fun.
The big meeting was one of the first functions with my new coleader. I have spent no less than 20 hours in preparation for this meeting. And I had worked diligently to find an icebreaker that set the stage for the theme. Technology had failed me, and I could not get the slide deck for the icebreaker to open with any interface other than my iPad. I resorted to taking my personal iPad to the meeting, and I was going to try to link the iPad with the AV system in the room. I arrived later than anticipated, due to the drama of the EMR at work, and quickly tried to connect the devices. No luck. A very kind, well-meaning young lady took my iPad from me and proceeded to work on the connection. Within 30 seconds, she had lost the presentation. And, and could not get the link to open it again. I was devastated and mad.
I panicked. I was snippy and grumpy towards the young woman trying to help me (who lost my presentation). There were other folks walking up to me asking questions about the meeting, and I was distracted and rude.
I went into a funk. I’m not sure how long it lasted, but obviously too long. I could not see how my meeting was going to go well without my brilliant icebreaker presentation. Somehow, by the grace of God, we were able to resurrect the presentation within about five minutes. I pulled myself together and moderated the meeting. But, not before I had damaged some relationships. I had royally screwed up first impressions with many folks with whom I need to work in the next few years.
I left that meeting and had to drive to Shelby, North Carolina, for another evening meeting. I spent the whole way there beating myself up and using Siri to draft emails of apology. I stewed in my self-loathing. I tried listening to K-Love and His Radio. I was seeking comfort but every song was utterly convicting. And, did I mention it was pouring rain? It fit my mood.
I arrived at the business dinner and God showed up... in the form of liver mush. Allow me to explain. Earlier in the week, I had sent out to my leaders an example of an exasperating correspondence I’d had with a patient. This leader had responded that his day was better since a patient brought him homemade liver mush. I expressed my jealousy as I love liver mush.
Well, my coleader had contacted the chef of this restaurant (which was Chinese by the way) and had her create a delicious and beautiful liver mush hors d’oeuvre just for me. See for yourself. I was speechless.
My coleader explained to me that he wanted to bless me with a liver mush hors d’oeuvre. He went on to explain to me that his wife had been reading my book. It had brought her to tears and laughter multiple times. And, her bookclub was planning to use it as their next project. I was overwhelmed and humbled. He said the best part was that my stories were real and transparent about what a hot mess I really am. Well, I knew I had been that same hot mess again today.
I spent the drive home from Shelby realizing that God can work even through our weaknesses. I prayed, I cried, and I thanked God for loving me despite myself.
This morning, our pastor started a new sermon on victory in prayer. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about praying for my children. Indeed, I have seen God‘s miraculous work in their lives and in the lives of our family. The time on my knees praying over my children is transforming our household. The events of this week at work, however, convicted me that I haven’t been praying for my job the way I have been praying for my household. Our pastor, David Chadwick, played basketball for UNC-Chapel Hill and then played professionally in Europe for several years. As one of his sermon examples, he mentioned that coaches spend hours watching game videos. They look to find the weakest link of an opposing team and attack there.
Satan found my weak link. He’s been watching my stress level at work. He recognized that I’ve been trying really hard to fix things on my own. And, he knew exactly where to hit me. A simple failure of technology brought out the worst in me. And certainly did not display Jesus to the folks trying to help me. Satan found my weakness in my game videos from work.
I recognized that I’ve not been taking situations at work to Him in prayer the way I’ve been taking situations at home. Shame on me. The only way to ensure victory is to take things to God in prayer. Satan is not going to see those same weaknesses in this week’s game video. I am on my knees praying for my job as well.
In my quiet time I found this workplace prayer. I plan to ponder it daily. May it be an inspiration to you too. If your workplace is stressful, I pray that God shows up for you with liver mush too!
My Heavenly Father, as I enter this workplace I bring Your presence with me. I speak Your peace, Your grace, Your mercy, and Your perfect order in this office. I acknowledge Your power over all that will be spoken, thought, decided, and done within these walls.
Lord, I thank you for the gifts you have blessed me with. I commit to using them responsibly in Your honor. Give me a fresh supply strength to do my job. Anoint my projects, ideas, and energy so that even my smallest accomplishment bring You glory.
Lord, when I am confused guide me. When I am burned out infuse me with the light of the Holy Spirit. May the work that I do and the way I do it bring faith, joy, and a smile to all that I come in contact with today.
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