When Something Isn’t Working

I’ve become an avid reader of the Pulse App, which clumps together a world of selected periodicals ranging from hard news to food journals of your choice. It makes for a great productive moment of just sitting. You know what I’m talking about! Those moments in the busy day where you just need to stop your day’s conveyor belt and fill your head with mindless entertainment, world updates, and/or latest technology previews.

One article I feasted my eyes on was a great article from Fast Company about knowing when to let go of a personal business venture that isn’t working or being ok with getting fired from a job that isn’t your life’s goal and desire. It’s the whole attempting to squeeze a squared peg in a circle hole syndrome.

If it doesn’t fit, why waste your time, right?

And after all the dust settled from the article’s eye opening introduction, what emerged was the simple reality that pride is at the center of it all. Pride keeps us from letting go. Pride prevents us from seeing other possible alternatives. Pride blinds us from the current realty that our job situation may not be the place for us.

Pride, in short, masks the fact that we’ve failed.

Failure, let me remind you, isn’t all bad. Michael Jordan once said that he failed more times than he succeeded in basketball and that’s why he became one of the greatest NBA stars to ever play the game. Sure fear plays a role in the whole equation, especially when we can’t see how the future is going to pan out. And rightfully so. Many of us have invested countless number of hours and energy at our current jobs, it’s hard to fathom taking the loss and moving on. But pride does have a way of paralyzing us from potentially pursuing even greater things.

Or, in my context where work and church collide, sometimes shutting down ministries that aren’t working is the best option. Why keep something going if it isn’t meeting it’s initial vision, and doesn’t seem to be headed in that direction in the near foreseeable future? Just because it’s tied to a spiritual dimension doesn’t mean it’s worth dragging it through the mud. And this isn’t a reflection that God isn’t moving. Sometimes, things just don’t work out.

We shouldn’t waste our time and energy on things that aren’t working, rather, we ought to focus our time and energy…and resources, on things that are.

How about you? Are you at a job that you should have walked away from years ago? Or are you among the select few who actually loves their work?

Let’s talk.

p.s. What are your thoughts on the article?


5 thoughts on “When Something Isn’t Working

  1. Excellent post Derrick. As you know, this hits me close to home. I got fired from my job last year, felt the relief of that weight and decided I wanted to pursue what I really was passionate about. But then I got into another job that didn’t lead anywhere and here I am again. Hating my job and the direction it’s not going.

    I think God really is pushing me to get going on the things that make me come alive and not look for just a paycheck. Sometimes we can be really stubborn I guess.

  2. Just as you said Derrick, pride can get in the way of seeing other avenues. In the workplace, that can be a critical hinderance for anyone. On the perspective of something not working, we all know everything must come to an end sooner or later. If this wasn’t true, then that one area of sluggish movement and progress will have an effect on the overall picture. You mentioned about how sometimes, shutting down ministries is the better choice (even though this may upset people). Unfortunately this may cause some ripples in the way amongst people and it’s alright! When there is evidential reasoning to support a difficult decision, [when people are patient] they will later understand and see the end results. Ministries may not work and leaving an area of church that’s not working is can be viewed as a form of disobedience to God. How else is the church to grow if we do not listen to what He wants the people to do (leadership included).

    Look at the people that have been impacted by this economy. Many people have lost their jobs, homes, marriages, retirement savings, government assisted benefits, and etc. There are countless stories of how people did not allow their pride to stand in their way and made the bad economy work for them! Google it and see what you find.

    I made a decision 9 years ago; that was to enter the military. This career is all about not letting your pride get in the way and either love your job or move on to the next. But what I have learned is that if you enjoy what you do and want to progress, putting that time and energy would be quite worth it, although a time limit would need to be set. It shows dedication, patience, selfless service, and loyalty. If you set a time limit and don’t see any career progression or a business deal work though, then it might not be worth it (at least you gave it effort). On the contrary, you’d be amazed what will happen and the feeling of accomplishment of that/those short term goal/s will outweigh an unforeseen event called layoff.

    Fortunately, I love my line of work because God used it to change me to be a better person and best of all…God used my work to lead me to Him.

  3. And the article was great. Quitting is permanent and what may lie ahead is a possible opportunity to start a new business or a greater job that will give you more benefit and meaning to life.

  4. Rodney – Thanks for your thoughts. We are definitely creatures of habit, that’s why we return to situations that we know; even though saidmsituations may not be the best for us. It’s the while girlfriend always returningmto an abusive relationship complex. God took away my ability to write for a season because I didn’t obey His call to use my creative gift to reach people. Once I embraced Him and it, the flood gates of the artistic pen was released. He gives and He takes away, right! We need to take that more seriously.

    James – I love that you love your line of work. Most people don’t and you, my friend, are definitely among the select few. I think we all need to be ok with failure. We take our experience for what they’re worth and move on. Oh…and I’m glad to hear from you. We miss you out here on the west!

    1. I think that people who allow failure to get the best of them sets too high of a standard. Myself, for example, don’t expect very much at what I do in the military because after 9 years I’ve learned not to expect much. There’s times when very little is what you will receive and there are other times you will be surprised at what gets accomplished. It’s with great patience, determination, and faithful, dedicated work that will make our experience – whether failed or succeeded – at what we perform worth while.

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