I'd been at my job for 2 1/2 years when I left to have my son. I certainly didn't have the most seniority, but I felt confident in my abilities and I was able to complete most tasks with some assurance that I wouldn't be questioned.
After almost 2 years of absence I returned to a different workplace, several new employees, and new procedures in place. I felt a little out of place. People who had been new when I left now had as much experience as I'd had when I took my leave - but they had experience with the new machinery, current coworkers, and the new doctors.
It was humbling.
I'd forgotten a lot. I had to ask a lot of questions. I couldn't remember things that I'd known how to do when I left. In many ways it felt like starting all over again.
I was talking to someone recently who is in a similar situation. It's never easy. It feels awkward, uncomfortable, out of joint.
And, when a situation like this arises I'm not so sure about you, but for me at least, I can feel myself bristling against it.
Why aren't they asking me for advice?
Why am I being discounted?
Why are my opinions not considered?
It's a pride thing.
We all have something that we're in some way proud of. We might not consider ourselves masters of anything, but there is that one thing that we know we do well. We enjoy it. We've worked hard at it. We have experience in it. It can be almost provoking when it seems as though people ignore these attributes that we possess.
There have been many times, situations, where I have felt the frustration that stems from my pride creeping up, bubbling to the surface.
It's a hard lesson. Often, we might be the best person to talk to. We might be the best candidate for the job, the most experienced, the most senior.
I guess in some ways it's similar to a child not listening to their parent. The parent has years and wisdom on their child, but the child inevitably gets to make their own decisions, lead with their own heart. They might make a wrong turn, take a path that leads them astray. They might come back and apologize... or not.
I guess, it's just not always about us. Even if we're the best, maybe we're not supposed to lead that person, or have that job. Maybe our talents are needed elsewhere... Maybe our voice needs to be heard by someone else.
Keeping quiet, humbly accepting where we are now, realizing that we're not always that person - well, sometimes it hurts.
I ended up getting pregnant again and leaving my job permanently. It was a great job, I had great friends there. It was a wonderful place for me in that season. I'm thankful that I had that experience.
There is value in learning from multiple sources. There is value in our children going to other adults for advice, having mentors, and learning from people other than ourselves. There is value in our friends seeking advice from other people. There is profit in our spouses having friends who can help them in difficult seasons.
We cannot be all things to all people.
I'm learning to take a back seat. I'm learning that I don't always have to be right, I don't have to talk. I can sit quietly, listen, learn. I can allow other people to make mistakes or to say things I don't agree with and make the choice to not lock horns.
There will be times when I'm needed. But, perhaps this day I can sit back and learn, take it in, and rest easy in the fact that sometimes I learn more by humbling myself.
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2