”And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
I am a work in progress. I am an encourager. I love fiercely. I smile almost always, no matter how I am feeling. When my heart hurts, it’s rare that I let you see that side of me. Maybe I’m afraid you will think less of me or not understand me? For there have been many times throughout my life when I have felt I was being judged unfairly.
After working at a local elementary school for over seven years, I transitioned into a new part-time position at a different school. I feel like I have adapted with the change of each administration over the years. Never once did I receive a complaint or have a performance review that was less than satisfactory, until last year. To my surprise, my supervisor and co-workers rated me very poorly in almost every area. Really? How could they possible perceive me and my job performance in such a negative and harsh way? I had been certain things had been going very well, especially since there was never any indication to think otherwise! They couldn’t find one positive thing to say! Are you kidding me? I told myself that obviously, they didn’t know me at all!
But at that moment, I don’t think I ever felt more misunderstood and unappreciated. My heart felt like it had been ripped right out of my chest. Was I being judged for someone else’s short comings? Obviously, these people didn’t really know me or my heart. I felt defensive, deeply hurt and extremely resentful. They needed to see the real me, but I didn’t know how to show them. So I put on a brave face at work and tried not to show how I was really feeling. I continued to greet co-workers cheerfully and as always looked for something positive to say.
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (ESV)
This was a very difficult time for me, but what I discovered is that God knows my heart and ultimately, that is really what matters. Only God can judge me. When asked to write a blog on dealing with co-workers and what God has taught me through this experience, I pondered and prayed about what God had for me in this. He gave me the word, “resilience”. God has shown me that I am resilient. To be resilient is to be “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.”
“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God…We are not commending ourselves to you but giving you cause to boast so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart…For the love of Christ controls us …therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:11-21(ESV)
God is always faithful. All I need to do is call upon Him and lay at the feet of Jesus. God has called me to be His servant and to show the light of Christ through me. If you look for something negative in a person, you will always find it. Only God is perfect. God has shown me his mercy and grace and has healed my broken heart. He has taught me that I am resilient. God is always on my side. I have allowed others to judge me and to think less of me. I am no longer a slave. God has rescued me. He has shown me that I can be His vessel to shine truth, light and love by speaking life into others. I may be misunderstood by the world but I am a child of God. God is mine and I am his. I am a work in progress.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stefi Burkhard was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and grew up Jewish. After graduating college she worked several jobs before becoming a Technical Recruiter in Phoenix where she met her husband, Dave. They quickly became best friends and soon engaged. They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and were married by a Mormon bishop in a sealed ceremony at the Arizona temple a year later. They have been married for 29 years and have three grown children. They converted to Christianity over 20 years ago and have served the Lord faithfully ever since. Today Stefi spends her time working with special needs children at Alvin Dunn Elementary School. She loves shopping, traveling and spending time with family.