Taking Authority

He may have missed the work that I did, but I’m sure he didn’t miss my input at staff meetings. I’m talking about one of my old bosses who consistently wrote on my evaluations something like this: “Rhonda is a good worker, but she has to learn the times to contain her thoughts or phrase them in a more diplomatic way.” He said this because I didn’t hold my tongue when he used all types of euphemisms to discuss problems we were having with other departments or even the president of the college. I would raise my hand and say, “Mr. Man doesn’t want to say, but” and proceed to make the situation plain. I would tell it like it was. I would keep it real. But I was real out of bounds; I had crossed the line. I would usurp my boss’ authority.

Mr. Man had decided to be diplomatic when talking about colleagues and his superior, and I decided that his approach was incorrect. We didn’t need anyone tiptoeing around the problems, I thought. We needed someone strong enough to lay it all out so there would be no confusion. And my attitude was that if my boss wouldn’t do it, I would. Maybe I was right about the need to be more straightforward, but I had no right to take over the meeting when I wasn’t asked to do so. As a subordinate, this is the wrong type of control. I needed to stay in my place (Ouch!) until given permission (Double ouch!!!) to leave. This was not the way I operated, and sometimes it’s still not the way I operate though I know it’s what God commands (Romans 13:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:12). This is yet another reason that I say I am a (recovering) strong black woman.

Copyright 2009 By Rhonda J. Smith


4 responses to “Taking Authority

  1. Just a quick comment. I agree with the fact that a distinction must be made between being “in control” of one’s thoughts vs being “controlling” of others – out of order. I believe that we are to bring our thoughts and actions under the captivity – submission and authority of the Lord i.e. control ourselves. But all too often we extend that captivity to others and overstep. We need to remind ourselves that ultimately God is in control. It’s like when I think I’m in control of my household when I tell my husband what to do. If he chooses to comply it’s not because I’m in control; it’s because he’s just letting me FEEL like I’m doing something. (even if I’m “right” that doesn’t mean he has to listen or “obey”- so if he is listening, it’s because he WANTS to listen not because I’m in control. I think God does that. He let’s us go to see if we will turn to Him (or if we will become arrogance).

  2. musingsofastrongblackwoman

    Alice, thanks for your insight. I would like to hear more about what you mean when you say “. . .all too often we extend that captivity to others and overstep.”

  3. Hello Min. Rhonda:

    Our personalities and behavioral patterns are shaped and molded by our environments and at times by our own insecurities. Most of the time, our responses have “hidden” signals that simply say I want to be recognized, appreciated, acknowledged and even rewarded! We are human before we are divine. The new nature is a life-long process that has to be “worked-out”. Out with the old and in with the newness of our identify now “hidden” in Christ. Our past way of doing things can be used as a measuring rod of just how far we have come along in our transformation. We just need to “keep it moving”. Keep up the good and godly work!

  4. musingsofastrongblackwoman

    Charlene, I like what you said about our past issues. We should use them as a measuring rod to see how far we come then use God’s word to see how far we have yet to go.

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