Sometimes in life we get placed somewhere that ends up being a very difficult and dark environment. Have you ever started a new job and absolutely hated it? Maybe it was a problem with management or a problem with your peers. I think we’ve all been there.
It doesn’t have to be a job, it can be any hard place in your life where things are dark and difficult. Maybe it’s a family situation for you.
For the majority of us it’s very difficult to keep our heads up when we are stuck in what seems to be an impossible situation.
It can affect you with high stress levels, anxiety, fear, depression, and worse of all it can affect your relationships and your entire life. That happens because it’s on our mind constantly which makes us lose hope and makes us moody to where we snap at those around us or we avoid people all together and isolate ourselves.
How did you handle it? Did you let it take you down or did you stay positive and keep going? Did you cry on your way to the office everyday? Did it affect your entire life?
I’m going to share a story of mine that shows a different scenario of why bad things sometimes happen.
In 2012 I had made the decision to turn my life fully over to God and to follow my heart. I was expecting this warm and fuzzy journey with God but I received quite the opposite. Little did I know I was going into a firestorm.
My company sold me on the idea of moving to Portland for a new large athletic company client. I would be leading a team of 18 and implementing our company at the client site. I was so excited for this change. Not only was I going to work at an awesome company but I was getting a fresh start in a new state.
The day I started I met the woman that would be my new boss. From the first moment she saw me she looked me up and down and I could see there was going to be an issue. She was hell bent on being competitive with me and making my life a living hell along with my team.
I won’t go into detail but the entire team I led regretted their decisions to leave their previous jobs to come to this place. We all felt like we just made the biggest mistake of our lives and that our careers would be ruined by this one person out for power and control.
The stress level was beyond anything I had ever experienced. It consumed me and was affecting my health. My team was coming to me in tears daily and many of them were having chest pains due to the stress of the environment.
I was angry to be honest. WHY did God put me in this nightmare???
I had just bought a new house…I did all the right things! There weren’t any other jobs in the area that paid what I was making. I was trapped in this nightmare and the thought of it was torment.
I continued to go in, I butted heads with my boss and stood up to her daily fighting for my team. She seemed to like this challenge.
But at the same time I was developing these deep relationships with my team. My heart has always wanted to help people and get them out of bad situations. I hate to see suffering and I love to coach people.
I became the person everyone went to for a daily counseling session! I would protect them and give them guidance on how to handle things. This was an environment that had professional, intelligent people in tears daily.
After 3 months it was so bad I gave my notice. I didn’t care if I lost everything, I just knew I needed to leave for my own health.
HR was involved but they were not helping with the problem. I had no job to go to, I had no idea what I was going to do but I didn’t care. I knew in my heart, I could not continue doing this and it was my heart that I would follow.
I gave them time to pull things together and plan for my departure. After 5 months I was free and at the last minute a new opportunity showed up. When you follow your heart, doors will open…and typically it’s at the very last moment! That is God teaching us to trust in what we can’t see. He makes the impossible possible.
But here’s the thing…I spent that time angry. WHY was this happening to ME? WHY did God put me in this nightmare situation? Me Me Me…
When I left many people from my team came to me and thanked me. They told me they could not have gotten through this without me.
One told me I had been her angel through it all. At that moment I realized this situation didn’t happen TO me, God sent me into this situation to be the light in the darkness.
I started to cry. Months earlier I gave my life to God and asked him to use me and when he did I was oblivious and focused more on why this hard thing was happening to me.
I felt terrible for being so focused on myself the entire time and why things weren’t going the way I had expected them to, when all along I was there with a different job to do.
I now see hard experiences in a different light.
Ironically, my boss who was so horrible, thanked me on my last day. She said “You were sent here for a reason, I truly believe that, and you’ve changed the way I look at things”. I was shocked. I’m surprised I didn’t fall out of my chair. I’m sure I looked dumbfounded.
I knew I was very forward with her about her behavior and the trouble she was causing the entire time, but I didn’t think she was listening or cared.
The thing is, people who act horrible don’t even realize the impact they are making. A lot of the time they are so focused on what they want or feel inside they don’t realize they are acting out in a very negative way.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” -MLK
God also put me in this experience to show me where my heart was, what my gifts were, and what I loved to do which was help people through hard situations. To be the strength when there was none left.
This is how God works. He takes you on a journey and he brings you close to him. On this journey we learn about ourselves and it guides us to the next steps we are supposed to take.
When you’re in these hard places it may feel like God has abandoned you or is mad at you but take heart, that is when he’s closest.
Hard things also make us seek God. When that happens he shows up and we get to know his heart. We learn to trust him more.
When we get through the hard stuff we can see where he was working and what he did in our lives.
Are you in a dark place?
If so, I challenge you to take your eyes off yourself and start being the light in the dark place. Will it be hard? ABSOFREAKINLUTELY!! But keep your eye on the purpose.
Remember that someone’s life or many lives can be changed because of you. People need something hopeful in a bad situation. Be that hope. Be that person who sets the example. You too may change a terrible person’s heart!
So if you’re in a dark place or the next time you enter one, step back and ask “Why am I here? What can I do here? What is this trying to teach me?”
If you look at it as a place you were sent instead of some kind of torture treatment, you may just find that you’re the light who can change it all.
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen
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