STORIES OF FORMATION
Using The Call to Work tools and frameworks, participants are guided to respond to their specific, hour-by-hour work situations in better, more Christlike ways. As we intentionally practice more Christlike responses to our daily situations, God honors our efforts and uses them to form us and our patch of creation towards his will and his ways. See below for real life participant stories showing us what it looks like to act as an agent of God’s benevolent reign – at work on the front lines of his Kingdom!
...I realized it was something I had to address. He and I had been distrusting each other around the death of a relative and who should manage her estate. I wasn't trusting his intentions, and in turn, he wasn't trusting mine. He accused me of wanting to take her money and it was breaking my heart. I was the one by her bedside for the last months she was alive, caring for her in her suffering and it was an obligation for me to steward her resources in her death. My Dad's language was hurtful and I wasn't sure if I was ever going to be able to forgive him for treating me this way.
As I walked through the exercises, recognizing how God is at work in this situation, it became clear that my Dad's reaction was not about me but about his own grief, and the Christlike response was not one of judgment or anger against my Dad, but simply letting him know what it was like to be with this relative in her last days, and reassuring my Dad that she cared for him.
Just after we did the practice session, and prayed for God's assistance, my phone rang. It was my Dad. I was able to explain to him exactly what I had just articulated in the Kingdom Orientation Worksheet, with the assurance and honesty of a Christ-led heart, and the response from my Dad was beautiful. We shared a moment of love and appreciation, and I hung up the phone feeling like whatever I give up to God, no matter how hard it is, when I apply these frameworks, the relationship outcomes will be fruit-bearing. I am so grateful for these resources. Thank you!"
...even in concerns about work that I assumed were too minor to bring to him. For example, I was feeling frustrated with one of my organization’s vendors, a contract company we have worked with for several years. The timeline on a recent project had been derailed by mistakes made by the vendor. I was feeling impatient with these delays and even starting to wonder if it was time to end our relationship with this person. Could I continue trusting her to do good work?
Through The Call to Work, God showed me that the real issue underlying my frustration and impatience was fear. My identity felt threatened. Fear of failure and fear of looking bad to others drove me to blame and distrust this person. It’s true that she had made mistakes, but my fear was narrowing my perspective on the situation. Instead of envisioning solutions and potential positive outcomes – outcomes where God’s grace could overflow even in the midst of others’ mistakes or things out of my control – the fear clouded my mind with negative possibilities, fueling feelings of frustration and impatience. During The Call to Work, God invited me to give Him my fear and rest in His peace, to trust His grace to be at work in this project, even when it wasn’t going as planned. Without the cloud of fear, I knew that I could forgive the vendor – who had done plenty of good work over the years – for her mistakes. Most importantly, Jesus replaced my sense of fear with a sense of love. He reminded me that my identity is not in others’ opinions of my work or success. Instead, I am found in God’s love.
Now, when I encounter similar situations that trigger impatience and frustration, I have the opportunity to practice remembering God’s love and changing my old habit of reacting out of fear."
...I had a situation at work where I had to upwardly manage a difficult manager. In that situation I was able to take a step back to assess the situation holistically to understand the relationship i.e. what was good in the relationship, what was not optimal in the relationship, what would God want my approach to be etc. I was able to stay calm despite the tenuous relationship with my manager and approach our working relationship in such a manner that eventually led to me reporting directly to the Director of the group. Since then there has [been much less] strife at work and I am managing larger projects with higher visibility and responsibility.”
...She plays her music loud, is rude. I struggle with her daily. My natural feelings: I don’t like her. But the thing is I just came from a [long] quiet time with the Lord. What’s good about the relationship: we are both made in God’s image. We seem to have respect for each other’s space. The brokenness is: we’ve never communicated. 2 Peter 1:7 [says] “and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” So I prayed, then today I talked to her. It’s the beginning. I let God [in]. It went well and we wished each other a [good day]."
...My uncle is in the same line of work as me and has high expectations for my progress at my firm. While I know my uncle cares for me regardless of how successful I am, I often let his high expectations alter how I interact with him. I feel as though I need to constantly communicate to him the ways in which I’m performing well at work. I feel like I always need to be well-composed when I see him and share insights into the world of finance. This has left me feeling like our relationship is fairly surface-level and that I’m afraid to be my true self around him.
TC2W has been incredibly valuable to me in processing this situation. It has enabled me to become more aware of the situation in the first place. TC2W gave me the tools to begin with seeing the many positives in my relationship with my uncle instead of just starting with the bad. It has enabled me to envision ways in which the relationship can be restored. In more recent interactions with my uncle, I feel less pressure to always feel like I have to be “on” when I’m around him. I believe TC2W will continue to impact my relationship with my uncle in the years to come and help us grow closer as I feel more equipped to be authentic around him."
...But daily these Uber charges were popping up, which put her account in the negative. She brought it to his attention. He said it was an accident - that he pushed the wrong button on his phone. Her other issue is that they are not close, but are just starting to get close. Because of The Call to Work, I have learned not to solve her problems for her, but be a loving presence. I am prayerful too.
She wants to get close to him. By showing her the Key Relationships Lens, she herself came to the conclusion to change her credit card number. She then told him that he is more important than the money. If he can't pay it back that's alright. It is more important for her to be in communication with her son. She loves him."
...because she thought that one of her children's medications was not called in and she was getting the run around. Finally, she spoke to me and proceeded to curse me out and tell me how unprofessional my office was. I tried to calm the situation (as I usually can by explaining to her that it was a miscommunication), however she told me that she didn't want to hear what happened, she just wanted me to fix the problem and she would never be returning. I was hurt, shocked and angered by what had happened, and my plan was to send her case to my office manager, and never see her again.
However, my spirit wouldn't rest, so I asked my husband to go through one of TC2W tools with me. After using the tool, I was able to see the situation differently - how God would have wanted me to handle it. The next day I called her and did not try to explain what had happened. Instead, I told her that I heard her say that she had been sick and I wanted to just ask how she was doing. I explained that God had put her on my heart and that he loves her, and if there was anything that I could do to help the situation, to please let me know. She began to cry and said that she couldn't believe that after she treated me so poorly and cussed me out, that I would call and check on her. She thanked me and hung up.
I know that it was TC2W tool that allowed me to see through my anger and ego - that guided me to see the situation through God's lens."
“And it wasn’t because he was genuinely struggling in the subjects, but because of tardiness and sometimes cutting school altogether. Upon reading the email from his Counselor, I did what I knew I could do – I yelled and criticized his poor decisions. It made me feel like I had some level of control in the situation, but I knew it only created more distance in our relationship. Now, on top of feeling like a failure of a mom in our performance-driven society, I felt like an all-together bad mom for my reaction. “What kind of parent are you?” is what the voice in my head was still asking when I walked into the workshop that day.
These feelings and more surfaced as I journeyed through the Key Relationship lens. The lens uncovered feelings of guilt, of not being enough, and showed just how much my identity was wrapped in my son’s performance. It also became apparent that although I wanted the relationship between my son and I to get better, I was more concerned about the image of failure in the eyes of his teachers and administration at the school. I was mad at him because I felt embarrassed.
I didn’t get all the answers in that session, but it started a work within me that God continued for the next few days. He gently guided me to answer the question, “what would it look like for you to take full responsibility for both your children’s behavior?” It seemed like engaging that question would have sent me into a place of unbearable guilt, but I trusted the process and started to write down specific situations that caused my children pain.
For three days God and I journeyed “into the valley of the shadow of death” right into depths of brokenness and pain – both my children’s and my own. God specifically invited me to stand in their shoes and experience the distress of looking into their mom’s angry face as she blurted harsh words. He exposed ways I parented out of unhealed childhood trauma and led me to the reality that no matter how much I loved them and wanted the best for them, the root of fear and inferiority within me would continue to cause pain.
I don’t know when it happened, but at some point the weight of fear started to be lifted. It allowed me to explore new possibilities for our relationship and approach my kids from a place of compassion instead of judgment. I reflected on the families of biblical characters like David and the father of the Prodigal Son. I started to consider how God “parented” me and how I could do the same. Most of all, my trust in God began to deepen. Instead of fearing my kids future, I was more confident in God’s ability to guide them where I could not. By the time I walked through the door of my son’s school to pick up his report card, my heart was hopeful about the future and I wasn’t ashamed to show up. I pray that God will continue this work in me and am so grateful for TC2W and the gracious, supportive community it provides me.”
I had some data that could paint a different picture, exposing him in the process, but was unsure if I should share it. Using the formation framework, my breakout partners helped me see that I couldn't answer the question about action, until I understood the concept of my motivations. What truly were the motivations behind my actions and how does that impact my relationship with God? Spending the time to get clear on what my motivations were made the right decision a no-brainer. (P.S. I didn't share the data and best of all felt peace with that decision. As it turns out, the boss learned of the co-worker's character in a different way!)”
The Call to Work helped me to reflect on the situation and gain new understanding. I realized I was pushing away from teaching because, in my mind, it was a connection or reminder of the emotional pain I suffered as a pastor’s kid. I associated teaching in the church with judgement, criticism and insufficiency.
Now that I could see what was at the root of my resistance to teaching, I was able to approach the problem differently. I've decided to co-lead a group for TC2W. I can’t believe that I'm getting ready to teach again.
On one occasion, I had a patient whose baby suffered from a heart defect. The baby also was not growing as expected and the mom was in denial of the current situation. She was known for abruptly leaving the office whenever she heard bad news, and returned at her own convenience. This really irritated my co-workers because it would always put us behind schedule. One day, during a scan, I was able to talk to her and listen to her story. I couldn't help but notice how TC2W's framework helped me identify brokenness and care for my patients on another level of God's grace and compassion.
Viewing work through TC2W's lenses and frameworks, I've now grown in confidence to serve people who are broken physically and spiritually."
About the job, families, even Trump the president. Two of the women go to church and say they are Christian. It hit me...to straight out tell them. If they want to find solutions to the problems, I'm up for it. Bet let's look for the good, though it may be harder to find, or let's even look at ourselves. By being silent for so long, I was allowing it to get worse. By confronting them in a loving way, it caused them to see a different way that was up-lifting. We have a much better lunch now."
Before my TC2W session, I didn’t think the relationship was of any value or importance. I knew my interaction with the person bothered me enough to not want to go to that gas station anymore, but I still didn’t think it was a big deal. After bringing it up in session, not only did I find many judgements in my own heart, but I also noticed the stress that the interactions caused. When we started talking about what God may want out of the situation, we discovered how His love and healing could be displayed in my personal life, in every interaction with this stranger (if I would answer the call), and how it could impact my community and the Kingdom alike. It doesn’t matter if it’s a close relative, co-worker or stranger, every one of our interactions with others matter! God wants all of our brokenness to be healed and if I decide to be intentional in my daily interactions with people, I come alongside Him in that purpose and His glory is revealed. My big a-ha was that I don’t have to look to necessarily make a BIG impact for the Kingdom, but purposeful impact in my daily interaction with others. These are the front lines of the Kingdom!”
It became clear that God was calling me to focus on one organization. I felt a sense of commitment to the other where I've held an executive leadership role for three years and a commitment to the CEO whom I regard as a friend. Nevertheless, I worked through the frameworks and found myself empowered to walk in obedience and ultimately positioned to confront the perfectionism that had me bound. I struggle with being perceived as incapable. As a result, I often found myself burning the proverbial candle at both ends in pursuit of competence and therefore "value." I am still allowing God's love to heal me, however, the frameworks permitted me to deepen my understanding of the counterproductive nature of this mindset. Finally, I had a very vulnerable conversation with my CEO. In the end, he allowed me the time away that I need to focus on the other organization, with a part-time schedule which is utterly not germane to my industry.“
They help me focus on a Christlike way of dealing with life. When I was on the subway there was a problem - it was stuck. People were angry, I could [have] joined in too, very easily. It was not moving for a good 1/2 an hour. But what was going through my head? “What would be a Christlike response? How can I let Jesus be there thru me?” I was thinking of the Formation Lens. I used my words and attitude in a Godly way. Praise the Lord.”
Up until this point I have been focusing on the technical side of the transaction - the costs, benefits, ROI, etc. One 20 minute conversation using the TC2W facilitation approach helped me see the need to connect with my boss on a human level, too. I was amazed how in such a short period of time, with a facilitator who is willing to put aside impulses to advise/judge etc. and create the space for the Holy Spirit to work, what great things can be done. Next time I met with my boss, he commented on how he saw me more enthusiastic that day than he had in our 3 years or worked together. Great experience!”