My job was overwhelming, yet I was desperate to appear competent. With each passing week, I found myself giving misleading responses to my boss. All right ... they were lies.
As a young college graduate, I was grateful for the position. It included writing, which I loved, plus answering the phones, which I didn't love quite so much. But the owners promised the position would develop as the company expanded.
Over time, both the company and my work level grew ... but I still answered the phones. Eventually, it got to the point where I couldn't manage everything, at least not well.
My boss was very hands on and often called me into her office for an update on my projects. I found myself dreading those meetings, knowing she'd be displeased with my lack of progress. I could feel myself getting anxious as I fell further behind.
And that is when the lies started:
"Yes, that project is coming along nicely." "I'm almost finished." "Just waiting for a few more pieces of information."
After our meetings, I'd rush back to my desk and frantically try to make my progress match the inaccurate response I'd just given. Over time, the lies and truth became jumbled.
I'd crossed a line of personal integrity that nagged at the edges of my conscience, but not enough to make a change. Until one day my boss gave me another request: to lie for her.
She hadn't gotten something done, and asked me to give false information to a person on the phone. I felt sick to my stomach. This wasn't right. She hadn't even started the project. And now I was supposed to cover for her? It was as if God made me do a 180 and stare at the line of integrity I had already crossed.
I'd compromised my character one half-truth, one excuse, one rationalization at a time. But no more. I had some decisions to make. I needed to determine on which side of the line I would stand.
Would integrity be a mask I put on at church and took off at work? Was my career more important than my character?
Those were heavy questions for a young woman. Especially one who desperately needed a job. But they were necessary. God was using this situation to help shape the person He wanted me to be.
It was a defining moment, and I knew where I wanted to stand.
Knowing I could lose my job, with humility and respect I told my boss I couldn't, no I wouldn't, lie for her. Amazingly, she didn't fire me. With a huff and a sigh, she accepted my decision.
While I wasn't up to confessing all my lies to her, I did confess them to God. And I made a commitment that day to honesty, no matter how personally difficult it was. Luke 16:10 reminds us that God cares about what may seem like a harmless little lie: "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."(NIV)
Compromise is easy, but character takes work. Yet with God's help, I'm making progress to become the woman of integrity He has called me to be.
Glynnis Whitwer is Senior Editor for P31 Woman magazine. Visit Glynnis' blog for more encouragement.
© 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
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