The Value Series
This particular day was no different than any other. It started with a weekly work meeting room full of men. I was no stranger to this environment or the topic of our conversation. Everyone combined in the room, including me, had a collective 100 years of experience in our meeting topic. What made this day different than any other I've experienced in my life was a conversation that followed this meeting. A conversation that would be etched into my memory for many years to come.
The conversation began with a compassionate tone of voice from one of the men in the room. Since he was 20 years my senior I was open to what he had to say. My mom taught me to always respect my elders. He said, "It seems you are very knowledgeable about our meeting topics, but in the future, you should ask permission to speak before you say anything."
I will let you soak in that comment for a moment.
It was the grace of God that my mouth didn't convey my anger, discontent, and disrespect for this man. Instead, I said, "I have met with international governments, Hollywood actors, well known global leaders, and yet I have never in my life been told to 'shut up and sit down' just because I am a woman. And I'm not going to start now."
Sharing this story years later still turns my stomach.
This was not the first time I remember being disrespected as a woman, it certainly was not the last time I would be told that I was better seen than heard. In today's society, we have heard shocking stories like this one more frequently. The #metoo movement has seemed to open up doors for women to be vulnerable and speak out against unfair treatment.
This was not the first time I remember being disrespected as a woman, it certainly was not the last time that I would be told that I was better seen than heard.
Technically, I should have taken this conversation and the colleague to the HR department, but I didn't. I didn't because he was best friends with the head of HR. I had seen brave women take their concerns to HR and the ending left her without a job, while the man stood tall in his pride.
Instead, I pushed down my anger and frustration and walked away. How many times have you done the same thing, whether you are a woman, man, child, spouse, brother, friend? You've been unfairly judged by others and pushed down your feelings to save face or protect your livelihood?
I know I've done it my entire life. I continued to push this conversation and many other offensive statements from men in this workplace environment for years until I couldn't anymore. It took counselors and years to heal from that toxic work environment. What God showed me was that by pushing hurtful words down deep in our my soul we soon begin to believe them. These lies soon begin to impact our thinking and make us doubt ourselves and our purpose in life.
You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever; he will always protect us. Isaiah 26:3-4
I'm confident that satan, the enemy of our souls, used this man to create doubt and speak lies about who God has created me to be. I understand now that he was tearing me down because of his own insecurities and intimidation by my professional skills. However, I know that God works everything out for my good and what satan meant for evil, God turned around for my good.
I encourage you to give those hurts, pains, and lies to God by speaking them aloud and asking Him, "God, I give you these lies that have been spoken over me. I ask you to reveal your truth to me about why you've created me and the purpose you have designed for my life. Remind me of who I am in You."