Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dealing with an Incompetent Boss

If you've been in the business world very long, it's likely you've run into a manager who just wasn't doing the job right.  We need to know biblical principles in dealing with these people.

Someone once told me that you can learn as much from an incompetent or bad manager as you can from a good one, and I think that's probably true.  But the learning is more difficult and painful! 

One biblical principle we need to consider is our attitude toward those in authority.  While we recognize that level or position does not make anyone better than anyone else, Romans 13 gives us clear teaching on authority.  Verses 1 and 2 tell us:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

God has established authority as the order for the universe.  And if it were not for the principle of authority, we would have nothing but chaos.  The same is true in our business world.  Authority is essential.  

But we see so much evidence that many people in authority are neither godly nor competent.  Can their authority be God-given?  Yes, even though they may not use their position well or appropriately, their authority is nonetheless from God, and as Christians we are to respect it.  To rebel against that is to rebel against God's order, and, Paul said, it will bring judgment on us.

Obviously, we're going to need special grace and strength to be able to submit to and respect incompetent management. 

First Timothy 2:1 - 2 tells us to offer requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for everyone, for kings and all those in authority.  We are to pray for those in authority, and we are to pray for peaceful relationships with them.  Now, if you're dealing with an incompetent boss, have you been praying for him or her regularly?  This is where it starts, and until you begin to truly pray for them, you won't see much change in your attitude or in their behavior.

Smart employees understand that their job description includes making your boss look good.  The world uses that principle as a manipulative tool, but we have other reasons to do it.  First Corinthians 13 describes the kind of love we are to develop in our lives, a love that is like God's love.  And that kind of love "does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
One of the typical things that happens when we encounter an incompetent boss is that we talk about that person in derogatory ways.  It's easy to do.  A friend was sharing with me that her boss is very difficult and no one agrees with the way her boss runs the department.  She has no trouble gaining confirmation from her coworkers that her negative attitude toward her boss is justified; everyone feels the same way.

It's likely if you truly work for an incompetent boss that everyone else feels the same way you do, and therefore, at lunch and on breaks that's what you talk about.  Instead of covering up the offense, you repeat the matter and make the situation much worse.

If you work for an incompetent or difficult boss, stop talking about him or her to other people.  Pray for that boss; talk to the Lord; get counsel from respected Christians outside the company.  As Christians we are to ever be seeking to have God's love fill us and overflow through us to everyone in our lives, including our incompetent bosses.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Think About What You Think About

I want to talk about one of the most critical areas of your life and mine—our thought lives. Our thought patterns are controlling us in ways we often do not even realize. Truly we must learn to think about what we think about.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul says we are to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."  Honestly, we are in a daily battle as to who will control our thoughts. And when we practice this most important principle of bringing every individual thought into captivity—making certain our thoughts stay within biblical guidelines—it is absolutely transformational. Most of your problems and mine begin with wrong thought patterns, and so often we don’t even know it because we don’t think about what we think about.

Philippians 4:8 gives us some clear guidelines for our thought:  "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

The secret to controlling our thought life is for us to agree to these limits and to bring our thoughts into these parameters. Let me illustrate it this way. Many of you have skated on a lovely frozen pond in winter time. You can go anywhere you like on that frozen surface with freedom and pleasure. 

But if you decide you want to skate further than the pond extends, you'll find it a little difficult. Once you leave the frozen surface, your skates will bog down, and you will lose all the freedom you've had on the pond. So, you decide to stay within the boundaries of the frozen pond, knowing that any other decision is foolhardy.

Do you get the picture? God has set boundaries for our thinking, and within those boundaries we have tremendous freedom. When we refuse to stay within those restrictions, we lose our freedom because we become victims of our own thinking.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Trusting God with Singleness

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11:  “‘For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plan to give you hope and a future.'" That's a good verse to quote when you start to think that the future is bleak because there aren't enough Christian men to go around. God has good plans for you, with or without a man or marriage.

You can know a totally fulfilling life when your life is filled up with Jesus Christ. He has promised us life abundant, and that's exactly what he has for you. You may be missing it altogether because you're looking for it in one place—a Christian man—and the Lord wants to deliver through another avenue. How often have I missed a blessing God had for me because I was dictating the terms to God, while he was trying to get me to see he had a better idea? 

The scarcity of Christian men is not our major problem as single women. Our major problem is learning to trust God in every area of our lives. Most of our frustrations can be traced to our poor understanding of who God is, and to our failure to trust him completely. In my own life, I can see it at every turn: The more I know about God, the more I trust him. The more I trust him, the less I worry—about men or anything else. And the less I worry, the more I am contented and joyful and filled with the fullness of Jesus Christ.

Please don't be fearful about the possibility that you may never get married. You can trust God—he is trustworthy, and he has good plans for you, married or single.

In my book, Common Mistakes Singles Make, I discuss these issues and many more in greater detail.  I’d love for you to have a copy of this book.It is on sale this week for $4, this including shipping.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Common Mistakes Singles Make

I'm going to talk about some common mistakes singles make. I've written a book by that title, and believe me, I'm totally qualified to speak on the topic, since I'm single and I've made a lot of mistakes. 

If you're a single Christian woman, tell the truth: Have you ever said, "Where can you find a really outstanding Christian man?" I admit, it's not easy. I'm sure men think it's not easy to find just the woman they want either, but it's no secret that there are usually more women than men involved in church and Christian groups. 

What is your first thought when you see or meet a new Christian man? Let me guess: Is he single? Or Is he taken? That’s a pretty normal first thought, but we need to learn to immediately abandon that line of thinking. Grab that thought pattern and refuse to go there. So much of this battle is in our minds, so don’t allow yourself to think of men as potential partners.

It’s not wrong to pray that God will fulfill your desire to be married, but that prayer has to conclude with “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done,” as Jesus prayed. 

Telling God there is only one option for our lives and insisting that marriage is the only acceptable plan demonstrates our total lack of trust in a God who created us, knows us better than we know ourselves, and has good plans for us.

Do you find you are feeling sorry for yourself or commiserating with other single women about the shortage of men? This is an easy trap to fall into, but I urge you to discourage these conversations.

They certainly do you no good and they can keep you mired in negative thinking.

Not having a man in your life is not the end of the world. You’re not in an eternal holding pattern. Life doesn’t begin with marriage! While it’s totally normal to desire marriage and a family, it’s a sign of maturity when you can trust God with your future. And that battle is in your mind!

If you’re single or know someone who is, you might want to get a copy of my book, Common Mistakes Singles Make. It is on sale this week for $4 this including shipping.