“Living through Times of Uncertainty and Change” was Emily Jones’ topic for our January City Women lunch, kindly hosted by Anthony Collins Solicitors. Emily has worked at Gowling WLG for sixteen years, first in a legal team and now in IT – and alongside her fulltime role there, she’s just joined the ChaplaincyPlus team as 20s and 30s coordinator, sharing this role with Ruth Jeavons, who previously worked as a doctor for some years.
Emily explained that her sixteen years at the same firm had involved significant changes, including a merger and changes in her role. It’s been a positive journey, but has also included some challenges.
Emily worked originally in a legal team – until the business decision was taken that there was no future for that team. It was a hard time. There were feelings of anger and bitterness, when loyalty and hard work had not been able to save the team, and there was also a feeling of sadness as the team dispersed. With the risk of redundancy came uncertainty: what and where, if not here and this? 40% of our waking hours are spent at work – our job is a big part of our life. And it’s our livelihood – with bills and the mortgage to pay. It felt insecure and vulnerable.
Through this time, Emily returned to Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Trust in God – stop trying to work it all out by myself! God sees the big picture, even if I don’t. What does it mean to trust? Joyce Meyer says, “To trust is to lean on, rely on and be confident in another person”. So trust and faith are interwoven – I believe in God, whom I can’t see, and I trust in Him for things I can’t see, too.
Emily’s time of uncertainty ended with a move into the IT team.
At a later stage, there was a department restructure and for a second time there was a risk of redundancy. Emily remembers this time as a big black space – she couldn’t see through it. There were lots of levels of change in the department and not everyone responded well: there was an air of negativity and quite a bit of grumbling and groaning. Emily made a conscious decision to steer clear of the negativity: “I had a word with myself at times, saying, ‘This isn’t the person I want to be’.” Emily had to come back to the deeper values that she cared about, relying on God to bring colour and light into the black space. Her security was in God: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer” (Psalm 18:2). What is a fortress? It’s “any place of exceptional security or stronghold”; it’s “a person or thing not susceptible to outside influence or disturbance”. So through Brexit or other changes or uncertainties, can we recognise that God has a plan which will remain unaffected?
In the end, through this second threat of redundancy, Emily was offered a new role. Emily challenged us to see opportunity in the face of uncertainty. Trusting is a choice and it is also a privilege. She finished with these words from Joyce Meyer’s book, “Trust enables us to live without weights, burdens, or cares because we have confidence that another will deal with those things for us. Instead of feeling that we are continually carrying a heavy load, we can enjoy a wonderful lightness in our souls”.
Emily left us with some questions:
- What kind of things do you tend to trust in, through difficult and uncertain times, that make you feel comfortable and secure, rather than fearful?
- Is there a particular time when you have trusted in God – or when you would have liked to be able to trust in God? What did that involve?
- Do you want to become more dependent on God? What would that involve?
- As you consider the world around you, what need, area of the world or group of people do you feel drawn to pray for / engage with / serve in some way?
And Emily gave us a prayer to take away:
I thank you that you are the God of the impossible. You can do anything.
You never said that it was going to be easy, you simply said, “Trust me”.
I want to trust in your ability and not my own.
Teach me to see difficulties in my life from your perspective.
Help me to focus on you and your power.
Today I bring before you this difficulty in my life [name a hard situation you are facing right now].
Help me not to fear but to trust you in this situation.
I declare my faith in your ability to fulfil your promises to me:
“I will not fail or abandon you.. be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5&9)
I will live this life with gratitude.
Appreciating every little thing; its difficulties and pleasures.
For all this and more, I am grateful.
If you’d like to meet for coffee, focusing on how this resonates for you, you are welcome to get in touch with Emily firstname.lastname@example.org or Ruth email@example.com or Sarah firstname.lastname@example.org