Over the weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Twin Cities to attend the closing ceremonies for Allen-Michael's nine-month commitment to NET Ministries (www.netusa.org). The second stop during our day-long agenda was a lovely lunch with all of the other 2013-2014 NET team members and their families.
I had the privilege of sitting near a gentleman I'll call Troy. Troy, who is fifty-seven and a married father of TEN children, almost immediately launched into a tale which was weighing heavy on his heart, no doubt brought on by the theme surrounding the day's events.
Troy told us he had been employed by the same religious-based, non-profit organization for the past thirty years. He was committed to the work he was called to do through this organization, and as a husband, father, provider and leader, Troy had invested much of himself into his job over the past three decades.
However, in the last several years there had been increasing change in his work environment which was really challenging him emotionally. You see, even though Troy is employed by a faith-based organization, he has been told by his superiors not to talk about God while at work. Troy, and the other employees, have been told (on a number of occasions) if they choose to speak about God while on the job, they will be fired.
Now that just sounds like crazy talk, right?
Follow me here...Troy works for a religious-based, non-profit organization (more specifically, his job is to help immigrants find and move into housing) and yet if he brings up God while on the job he will be fired. Troy has been given a direct order not to engage in any kind of conversation about God or religion many times over the last decade.
The strain in his voice, and the stress on his face was evidence of Troy's clear conflict between how he made a living and the betrayal of an intregal element of who Troy is (that is, someone whose faith in God is very dear to him).
Because Troy is as old as he is, and because he still has some of his children living under his roof, he does not feel he can walk away from or change his career at this point.
I couldn't help but ponder the enormous cost this has had for Troy over the years (and on his wife and children).
And then I began to wonder how many other men and women end up exchanging their souls for a paycheck.
Troy's story really tugged at my heart, I have been praying for him and his family since we met at that lunch table.
I have been praying God will give Troy the courage to be brave. Brave enough not to stomach one more day of living an unauthentic life.
What do we do when we cannot live our lives honestly? When our job conflicts with the core of who we are? When a relationship we are in goes against our very nature? When we have to deny ourselves for something our mind convinces us is for the greater good?
The answer is we are unhappy. And eventually the unhappiness seeps out of us (no matter how much we try and cover it up) and gets tossed out into the world in the form of our words and our actions towards others.
Often towards the people we love the most.
I pray today that Troy, and every man and woman like him, has the courage to be brave in word and deed! If you are in a situation where you have to put on a mask and endure a something or someone which makes you want to recoil at the end of the day, I am challenging you to muster your courage today.
Please don't waste another precious moment, God is calling you to walk bravely TODAY!