Have you ever asked yourself “Why does God allow bad things to happen to me?” You are not the only one. Sometimes God puts us in uncomfortable or unfavorable situations not because we did something bad or that He hates us but because he loves us. When God puts us in uncomfortable situations He is developing us. Each challenge in our life requires a new level of thinking, a new level of operating in faith. With each challenge, a new characteristic either dies or sharpens. God knows where to place you to get what He needs out of you. A seed can only grow when planted in darkness. To the seed, it looks dark, bleak, unfavorable but to God the seed is exactly where it’s needed to grow greatness. We need to work with God and not against Him during challenging times.
Take a seat sis. It’s story time!
In 2017 I found out I was pregnant and had just accepted a new job offer. When I was first hired, I sat in a meeting discussing renovations and major projects – I was in Heaven. My new manager at first was cool. We took lunches together. She brought me on conferences. I went to her house a few times. I loved it! I did suspect she was a little unorthodox when I was on the job for less than two weeks and she called saying “I’m going to fire Avery tomorrow; do you want his position. It comes with a raise.” I wanted the raise, so I said yes, but the way she presented it to me was the first light red flag. I know I wouldn’t have disclosed to another employee that I was about to fire someone.
Over the next couple of weeks, she went from light red flags to the deepest red of hell flags. She didn’t like my natural hair. She didn’t like that I was pregnant and unwedded. She had mood swings, and so much more. One of the employees didn’t know how to format an envelope, and I showed him how. She laughingly commented “How did you learn to format a letter? Your brother was in prison or something?” I did not find it funny.
On other occasions, I would crave Popeyes’ mashed potatoes during my pregnancy. I went often to grab the mash potatoes on my lunch. She commented another day saying, “Aren’t you black? Where is the fried chicken?” She often said these things in the form of a joke, but my face of disapproval spoke that I was not one bit of amused.
One day she accused me of stealing checks or losing them. She threw the check log on my desk. I found the checks at the bottom of the log, and I kindly threw those checks back on her desk. Another day she screamed at me on the phone. We argued back and forth. She was screaming that she couldn’t enjoy her day off and was on her way. When she got up to the job she started crying – I realized she was unstable emotionally. I got better at handling her dysfunctional ways. I didn’t want to lose my job, and I voiced that to God.
Once I started communing with God, expressing myself, crying to Him is when He revealed Himself to me. When we go to God for our problems, it shows Him “I don’t know it all and know this hurts, but all I know is You can fix it.” Sometimes our pride keeps us from deliverance. Pride, thinking we know it all and can handle it, keeps God away. I started leaning more on God. I started believing that “well, God has me here for a purpose, and He will never leave me, so I must come out with the victory. I need to work on my patience and attitude then.” I had to shift my mindset. I realized God had me on the potter’s wheel. He was molding me into a more professional person being able to handle discomfort, criticism, and pressure. For where he was taking me, I couldn’t have the characteristics of someone whose first response to negativity was to brutally curse you out. This was a test of faith. This was the potter’s wheel.
He was also exposing me to more. At that time, I learned what direction I needed to go in, real estate and law. I met several real estate agents and a commercial litigator. The commercial litigator is who stood out. She was a black woman who just came from vacationing in the Bahamas with her family and was on the way to Italy with her husband. She told me that I was perfect where I was because I was exposed to legal agreements. I saw what my future could be, working in my purpose.
I still experience discouragement at times. This job required that I communicated with different people throughout the day. I often had to send out emails, and I was not use to that. I worked at a job for five years that did not require any written communication skills. I had to email vendors, upset parents, and know-it-all students. I know how to express myself written and verbal, but this was new to me. I haven’t had to use these skills in a long time, and I was a little rusty. I often asked my managers to read over my emails for errors or clarity. I remember one manager said, “just stay away from abbreviations.” It was extremely discouraging but also eye-opening. I realized that if I am going to get into Law School, I need to be able to communicate efficiently both written and verbally. I also realized that I needed to work on my organizational skills. I always got the job done and was applauded (after my first manager was fired) for the work I did. My managers could count on me, but I saw that I needed to improve and work on my skills. God knew that already.
When I look back, I was filled with so much doubt and uncertainty. I doubted myself, my skills, my future. Certainly, God didn’t make a mistake if He wanted me to be a lawyer. So many days I thought I was getting fired, that I wouldn’t have a job when my son was born. But God kept me, He gave me favor, He blessed me financially, and He gave me glimpses of my future. It wasn’t one moment God had forsaken me. I need you to know that God allows things to happen, but He doesn’t let us go through alone. He always will provide even when the enemy threatens us. God walked with me and gave me grace. He will do the same for you. But work with Him and not against Him.
Today I am still working on myself. This will be a never-ending process. I am working on my communication skills, my attitude, organizational skills, time management, and much more. I often pray that God reveals what needs to be worked on. When God intervenes in our life, it doesn’t always look good – therefore we shouldn’t trust our eyes but our faith. I cried to God, doubting my own ability to be a decent worker, but God provided peace. When I look back I see how God strategically placed me there at the beginning of my academic career. He had to show me what needed to be worked on while also feeding my future. I met so many inspiring people, I got great advice, and I recognized what needed to be worked on. He allowed me to obtain four raises. In one year I earned $4 more than when I started.
I trusted God and his strategic plan. He rewarded me with financial advances, glimpses of my future, and revealed what needs work. But what do we do when we recognize when God is showing us something? We take note and implement. I had to learn how to bite my tongue and work on my communication skills. For some of us, God is trying to say budget better, work on your credit, rearrange your priorities, let go of a bad habit. Work with God. Seek God’s guidance, ask Him what do you need to be doing. God isn’t a God of secrets, if you ask He will tell you.