When you go to lunch with your colleagues, what do you talk about? Do you talk about work, office gossip, life here and life there? Do you discuss sports, last nights baseball game, and who won the Masters? If you’ve ever been to lunch with a coworker, have you ever had a conversation that goes deeper than small talk?
Most of the time when we eat lunch with our coworkers, especially those we don’t know as well, the conversation does not go much deeper than office gossip, sports, and basic information about our lives anyone could find out with a simple Facebook click.
However, a few days ago I had lunch with a coworker that went beyond the usual “How is your day going?” chatter. He and I drove to Chick-Fil-A in Irving, sat down in a booth, and really took the time to dig into each other’s lives. What we found was we are far more similar than we thought.
Let me backtrack a little bit, in passing earlier that day I had made a casual comment about why I am the way I am. This sparked curiosity within my coworker so we went to lunch together to have a full conversation.
Normally these conversations scare me to no end. It can be awkward opening up about your personal life to someone, especially someone you barely know, yet I told him anyway. See, the comment I made was how my life has transformed over the past two years and he wanted to know what happened. My mind was flooded with thoughts, do I just tell him the basics, do I go into full detail, do I tell him some parts and not others? What really is the proper way to tell this story? But I decided to stop thinking, started from the beginning, and I just told him.
“Well” I said, “Two years ago I was a dating a guy I had every intention on marrying, but God had different plans for us.” The conversation took off from there. I told him everything. I explained to him how I had my heart broken but it ended up being one of the most beautiful things to ever happen in my life. I talked about how in a matter of time I was broken down, hurting, and confused by everything in my life. I told him about some of the thoughts I had and the things I struggled with. Then I told him how it was in those lowest moments of my life, I found God in ways I had never experienced in my life before.
As I told my story to him, I realized I wasn’t dwelling on the past or the pain I had been caused, I was emphasizing the work God had done in my life. I explained to my colleague how even though I couldn’t see it at the time, there was tremendous beauty in the breaking. Over the past two years as I have opened myself up to the work God has done in my life, I realized how much I have been rebuilt. I wasn’t just fixed here and there or made better, God broke me and made me new. I am the same person I have always been, yet I am also different. Before the remaking, I had to endure the breaking.
Overtime I’ve noticed when I tell most people my story, they tend to look at me like I’m crazy. How could I be so positive that God stripped me of everything I found my identity in? How could I not be bitter at my circumstances? After all by society’s standards I have every right to be. Yet I always explain it’s because in that process of losing myself, I found out who God was, and that is BY FAR the most important part. My journey that past couple of years has brought me to a place stronger in my faith than I have ever been. God may have had to give me quite the push to get there, but I’m thankful that He did. I am a far better person because of it.
Much to my surprise, my colleague understood everything I said completely. Not only that, he reciprocated with his story which ended up being similar to mine. If I had met him only months earlier, I would have met this big shot engineer telling frackers what to do on job sites, and making six figures while doing it. However, the oil and gas company he worked for went bankrupt, and the guy who once had a very well per diem paying job, went to running lead generation for a direct marketing firm instead.
As we spoke, he told me how throughout his time in oil and gas he abandoned his faith and let the six figure paycheck he was receiving run his life instead. When he lost his job was when he began to realize God was knocking on the door of his life telling him that his company may be bankrupt, but his life didn’t have to be. I was blown away. As I listened to him speak, there was no denying the Lord was at work in his life.
We realized that day in a Chick-Fil-A how amazing the work of God can be when we open ourselves up to His work. Not only did I get to know my colleague a little better that day, I also received encouragement from him, as well as getting to encourage him. We were both able to resonate with each other’s stories and give the glory to God the entire time.
Our lunch together was truly uplifting. I realized how incredible things can happen when we open up about the work of God in our lives. I felt tremendously better the entire day because of that specific moment. I knew no matter what happened at work, I was living a life and fulfilling a purpose my Father had planned for me. I know my colleague felt the same way too.
While I was in Baltimore I sent a tweet that said “Encouragement can change lives. #LessonsFromBarnabas.” In that moment with my colleague, I realized how true that tweet was. The encouragement I received was incredible because the Holy Spirit was present and at work in our conversation.
Now I tell y’all this to encourage you to the same thing. Tell your story, let the Holy Spirit guide you through the process, open yourself up to whatever it may be the Lord is placing in your life because you never know how positive the outcome can be until you make the leap of faith and do it.