Your name is David and you are the most popular man in Israel. You have fought so many wars that you’ve forgotten half of them. Young men want to be you and women throng the streets to sing about your prowess. It’s a heady life but for you it means one major thing, you love your job and you’re good at it.
One day you walk into your boss’s house. As you turn down the corridor, Michal, your wife and the daughter of the King, rushes to you with a slightly panicked look in her eyes. Your hand goes to your sword as you scan the space behind her. She clutches you “He has started again”. You relax…you know what that mean;, everyone knows what that means.
“Bring me…” the increased panic in her eyes stops you… “send me my harp, I’ll play him something. Don’t worry, it will be over in no time” You take a minute to kiss her, deep enough to take her mind off her father and on to other things, and then you release her with a smile.
As you head to the King’s anteroom, you already know what you are going to play, you had composed a new psalm the night before; it is a song of awe and worship…perfect for a troubled king.
You walk into chaos; the king is pacing, screaming obscenities and throwing things at any courtier close enough to earn his disfavour. Servants, guards and ministers are huddled in frightened clusters. An audible wave of relief goes up as you walk in, followed almost immediately by your harp.
You start to play and almost immediately feel the presence of God. The King is still in a fit, but you know that it is only a matter of time before the music soothes him. You are getting lost in the music, sinking into rhythm; the King turns to look at you playing and then…a warning at the base of your spine…you glance up just in time to see the spear leave his hand, directed at you. You fling the harp to one side and throw yourself to the other. The spear passes through the space your body inhabited before. The shocked silence is louder than anything you have never heard. In that moment when time stops, you look into the king’s eyes and everyone else disappears as you realise that the rage and hatred in those eyes is directed solely at you.
As you scramble to your feet, you know that things will never be the same again.
This passage for me is the perfect one for anyone dealing with a terrible boss – employee situation. Yes your boss shouts at you, yes o, the other day she tried to slap you, ehn…he cut your salary, but has s/he ever tried to kill you? If the answer is no, you’re still in good standing. Lol!
Seriously sha, how do you deal with a boss that is actively trying to kill you? Like for real wants to see you dead? Mean bosses just entered another level.
For me, the most remarkable thing was how David kept his head in the middle of all this. Kept his respect, kept the value he had always had for the king, no snide comments, no yimu-ing behind his back. He was still as obedient, as respectful and as dedicated to the King as he had always been, right until God told him to leave.
I believe that 3 things caused this.
First, God had bred within David an understanding of honour. It is not easy when the person over you displays ogbanje behaviour, but David understood honour, and he knew that, no matter how anointed you are, you will never be bigger than your designated authority. There is no blessing in rebellion.
Second, he had an endpoint in mind. David knew he was going to be King. He had known it for quite a bit, knowing God’s plan for him made it easier to deal with all the wahala, he knew that it was temporary. He understood that what was happening was just an aspect of the full story. He didn’t take it personal (which is a big deal considering that Saul was literally running around the place trying to skewer David like a recalcitrant rat). He was able to separate the events from his work and his purpose, and he dealt.
When I read this story, I remembered a former employer I used to have. It was one of the most unhappy work periods in my life. She was verbally abusive and I was always afraid because I had no clue where the next tirade would come from. I would stand there, unable to speak, as she screamed at me until she was tired. And yet, every time I wanted to leave, I got a clear “Stay” order from God (till date He hasn’t told me why). Finally, one night I wrote my resignation letter, I was going to submit it the next day. The next morning, as I was editing it, I got a call – she wanted to see me. I went upstairs to be told that the company could no longer afford to keep me on fulltime. I was given a choice between leaving or staying on in a project based capacity. I (of course) chose to leave. As I walked out, I cannot explain the utter lightness that I felt in my spirit. I smiled at her and thanked her (sincerely!) for the job and the opportunity. I walked to my desk to meet a ringing phone. I picked it up and heard an offer for another job.
I know there are lots of people in really bad work situations, and many people don’t have the option to stand up and walk away. If this blogpost is for you – pray about it, wait till you have a word before you act. It gets better, you will get through it, there is a plan, you will be fine.
ps1: The Story of David was primarily taken from 1 Samuel 18.
ps2: If I overcome my laziness, I’ll share some tips from David on how to deal