Integrity is difficult to build yet easy to tear down, so we must be vigilant and focused in our commitment towards a life of integrity. When integrity becomes our habit and our daily walk, God blesses us because of our obedience.
Last week, my integrity was challenged by a client, without the individuals even realizing that they had done it. They thought they were only questioning my team member’s integrity. What they failed to realize is that by questioning by team member and challenging the work performed, the invoices issued, and certain elements of the project—all of which is overseen and approved by me—they then were also questioning my integrity.
I was upset, disappointed and beyond frustrated. I was tired of dealing with this nonsense every few weeks when an invoice was to be paid. I was upset with myself because God had cautioned me to not work with this company, but I chose to anyway. Now I was experiencing the consequences of my disobedience.
The clients were so focused on what they saw as lack (what they still didn’t have), that they hadn’t seen the evidence of the work that had been done and the solutions that had manifested (that was bringing them out of the valley they had grown comfortable in). They were limited by thinking of the length of time of the intervention, rather than realizing that the time was only a fraction of what had been wasted in years of self-neglect (and that the length of time was set by their request, not mine). It was easier to point the finger outward than inward. It left them to nitpick every little thing that my team had done in this intervention.
God already knew that this would be my experience. This is what He was trying to spare me from. He knew that this client wasn’t ready for this type and level of intervention, and wasn’t ready to endure the journey that was required. No different than the whining, nagging, complaining Israelites who gave Moses endless headaches day after day. I’m not comparing myself to Moses. What I am saying is that anytime you navigate an intervention, if the people aren’t truly ready, you will get the backlash.
Rather than praying to God for a solution, I thought it best to address the client’s questions and comments in writing, via email. A long email. I painstakingly spent about 60 minutes compiling the documentation that refuted their claims, supported the intervention strategy, and cleared up any confusion (in my opinion). I outlined why there was a gap between what they desired versus where they currently stood, and I held everyone (including a third party) accountable for any delays and misdirection. I highlighted how things could be more effective and efficient. I also outlined the in depth steps that my team has executed to complete this project in a timely and cost-effective manner. I emailed this information to the client and requested a phone call.
My integrity, my team’s integrity, my company’s integrity matters to me. I am a firm believer in walking the walk. I’m a firm believer in working with transparency and clarity. To have someone challenge that means one of two things:
1) Either they aren’t used to working with people of integrity, so they always assume the worst, or
2) They doubt my integrity.
Either way, in my eyes my character was in question and it was my responsibility to fix it. So I spent the time to disprove their claims and make things right between us (in my opinion). But by doing so it highlighted even greater their flaws, which left them feeling attacked. By putting things in writing, the black and white left no room for grey (in my opinion)—but for them, they quickly made all of it grey. They jumped to conclusions, made assumptions, and they dug their heels and head even deeper into the sand.
They now refused to communicate with me.
I couldn’t believe it. I grew even more frustrated. But even in my frustration, I knew that God would expect me to seek peace in the chaos and try to bring calm to the storm—even if the end result would mean discontinuing this working relationship—He would want me to do it with dignity, grace, love and integrity. So I have to put my pride to the side and seek a peaceful resolution. His will, not mine.
An awesome quote by Elisabeth Elliot says:
His will, not mine. His will, not yours. His will, not ours.
Let this be your challenge today. Tomorrow, let me know how you did. Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Father each day I strive to be a better person, to walk upright and with integrity. I understand that it is not easy to live and lead by integrity, to be blameless in every aspect of my life–but I strive for that life. I seek out that life. Mold me so that the time comes when no person can judge me and find blame in my walk beyond today. Less of me Lord and more of You.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.