One day I went to work prepared to make a Big Mistake. I was planning to speak out to my boss about some growing dissatisfaction and was going to point out how I was much more valuable than management had realized, and how I needed more power and money and so forth. In retrospect, I was about to do this at a particularly unwise moment and certainly would have done damage in several ways. I probably would have antagonized some very good people and left the meeting ready to quit or perhaps even without a job, and I think that leaving would have been the wrong choice. Even if I had prevailed and they had honored my greatness and my glory, I think it all would have been a Big Mistake. I can see that plainly now, but I was quite blinded my selfish preoccupation with my desires on that morning, the morning of an annual performance review.
When I pulled into the parking lot at work, I realized that I really needed just a little more guidance before I attempted something as risky as what I was planning to do. I had prayed about things the night before and earlier that morning, but was still determined to do things my way. (If there are any other weak and fallible mortals like myself out there, please take this as a warning: it is entirely possible to make a ridiculous and idiotic decision after praying, especially if we are focused on selfish interests rather than truly seeking counsel from the Lord, or if we have refused to think carefully.) I had felt like bringing my Book of Mormon along that morning, recognizing I was behind in scripture study. So while in the parking lot, with only about 2 minutes to spare before I had to rush into the building to make my early meeting with my boss, I said a brief prayer and then randomly flipped open the Book of Mormon just in case there might be any useful advice there.
I do not mean to advocate the use of the scriptures as a printed version of an ouija board, but it is amazing how many times I have been able to “randomly” open them up in a time of true need to find something that helped me. Maybe there is help on most pages, if we read seeking to learn and understand the Father’s will. With only seconds separating me from a serious self-inflicted injury to my career, my eyes turned to the lower half of a column on the open pages before me and began reading some verses marked in red at the end of Moroni chapter 7:
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must failÃ—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
OK, I can take a hint. This was a big one. It hit me strongly: my whole attitude was selfish. I had a great job, an excellent boss, I was paid well and treated well, and needed to be more grateful for this. While I had worked hard and made some significant contributions, so had many others. I had no right to get puffed up over my contributions and become demanding.
I did my best to repent and change my outlook as I rushed to the appointment, and felt a huge burden lifted. Selfishness is such a burden. It makes life harder, more onerous.
I went into the performance review with a more positive, accepting, and grateful attitude – and what a difference that made. Communication was much more effective, and I left almost elated at understanding where I could make a bigger impact and how I could achieve more. I was more grateful than ever for my job and more optimistic than ever about my future. And the things I learned in that meeting also showed me how poor my timing would have been if I had persisted in my selfishness and whining.
Two minutes of prayer, pondering, and SCRIPTURE STUDY changed so much for me that morning. How grateful I am to the Lord for the scriptures and the marvelous way than can become alive for our present needs when we turn to them prayerfully. And I’m also grateful to have a job that I really love – at last!