Lack of Office Part 1


Diagnosis normally precedes a prescription for healing.  Before working on the cure for not being in an office, let’s explore a diagnostic grid.

In the story of Hagar I find eight markers for what it looks like to live a life without being in an office.  Let’s express them in such a way that they become portable across cultures.  That should help us distill out this particular malady from all the other labels and liabilities we have discovered over the last few decades of the inner healing movement.

1)     Utter Innocence

Hagar, the Egyptian, begins the story as a slave.  Scripture does not say whether a slave trader brought her to Canaan where Abraham found her or whether she was purchased when Abraham was in Egypt.

Either way, it is most probable that Hagar was innocent of doing anything that put her in that situation.  It is unlikely that she choose to sell herself into slavery.  It is most likely that she was born into slavery.

And if she was purchased in Egypt, then we can add the fact that it was not her fault that Abraham choked on the promises of God and left the land he was assigned to for the ill-fated sojourn into Egypt.

It is my experience that people who are not in an office they should be in, find themselves caught up in bizarre situations where they truly are innocent, but they can’t help themselves.  It seems to have a little different look and feel than the usual victim spirit scenarios.

In the classic victim spirit dynamic, the person has a mental structure that can explain why it is right for things to be wrong.  To at least some small degree, they are contributing to being in their own mess, or at least not taking steps to exit the mess.

But when an individual is not in an office they should be in, life seems to happen to them in utterly uncontrollable ways.  They are caught in the cross fire of other people’s junk and are unable to escape.

2.     No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Regardless of how Hagar became a slave or where she was purchased, it seems that she was a functional asset because of her own investment in herself.  She either knew how to work hard or knew how to work smart.  Either way, it was her excellence at something that drew Abraham’s attention, and it was her excellence that got her assigned to the highly sensitive post of being Sarai’s personal maid.

Less excellent slaves did more menial tasks, further away from the inner sanctum of the personal needs of the boss.

Again, people who are not in the appropriate office tend to strive for excellence in some area, as a subconscious means of achieving the status and acceptance they crave.  And just as often, their excellence without an office causes them to end up in really harsh situations where they have unreasonable responsibilities because of their excellence, yet an appalling lack of rights, because of their lack of office.

3)     Fulfillment Denied

When one is in the office of woman, after being in the offices of person, daughter and adult, the offices of wife, mother and grandmother should follow.  This is a part of a woman’s sense of fulfillment. However, since Hagar was a slave, possibly not even fully in the office of person, she had no control over that progression.

It was quite common for slaves to have a mate and to procreate.  I know nothing of the culture of slavery in Abraham’s days to know whether the master selected a spouse for those he owned and there was something relatively formal or legitimate about the marriage, or not.

Suffice it to say that whether the coming together in a family unit was fluid or formal, primitive or beautiful, initiated by the slave or the master, at the end of the day, nothing at all happened for Hagar. She was quite evidently physically an adult and capable of stepping into those offices, but her master did nothing at all to move her, or allow her to move herself, toward fulfillment.

One of the marks of not being in the office you should be in, is that there is no progress toward fulfillment.  Whatever the social code around you is, it does not seem to apply to you.  Whether it depends on your initiative or the initiative of others, you are simply powerless to move forward and progress toward fulfillment.

4.     Fruitfulness Demanded

This is called “adding insult to injury.”  After Hagar was denied fulfillment in the roles of woman, wife and mother, she was commanded to be fruitful without those offices, whether she felt like it or not.

It intrigues me as I watch the double standard that applies to people without an office. While people with a victim spirit are often asked to do more with less, the individuals without an office are almost invariably ordered to be fruitful in areas that other people are never able to be.

There is no logic at all to the constructs.  And the non-office holder simply cannot protest, appeal, negotiate or point out the injustice.  There is an acute need that an authority cannot fill on his own, so therefore, by some twisted logic of this parallel universe that the non-office holders live in, it is obvious to everyone that they MUST do what their boss cannot do.

Further, the alternative rule system is fully comprehended by all the bystanders.  When there is the familiar strain of victimization, people around the predator/victim can usually see the unwholesome dynamic.  The community usually does not intervene, but they see it.

With the non-office holders, somehow the whole community is mesmerized into thinking that it is the most natural, normal, appropriate scenario for that individual to do what is required of no one else.

Let’s park it there for this blog.  The next four steps to follow some time.

Copyright September 2011 by Arthur Burk

From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim

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9 Responses to Lack of Office Part 1

  1. Salome says:

    This is exciting. However my thoughts are that the “person lacking official office” does also play a part in the sense that they close the doors of their heart (although this might be a natural reaction from someone not having any choice in matters affecting them). So I agree with Catherine, that such a person cannot receive for lack of open doors. It is a viscious cycle, something happens outside this person’s control (complete innocence) and they “respond” by protecting themselves and close the doors of their heart. Even though God has appointed a father figure/authority in their lives, they cannot receive the download of legitimacy/affirmation of office because of distrust. I also agree with the issue of twistedness – it seeps into the relationship between this person and their immediate authority which warps all perceptions and the entire relationship. Whilst fear and wicked perceptions keeps this door closed, it causes this person to always be on alert for lack of having a safe place (their legal office), always having to defend themselves and their position (because others have an overruling right to/over them) and what they feel and say is of no relevance or importance. And this opens a huge door for download from the enemy, causing misunderstanding in overdrive.

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  2. Mike says:

    The exhorter discussion had me on the ropes and this discussion has me on the canvass! Exhorters appear to have a strong sense of destiny (Moses, Jeremiah, Paul, William Wilberforce etc…) They also appear to have a knack of getting ahead of God. Pure intentions, a strong sense of calling, wrong timing. I wonder if that isn’t the reason they end up on the wrong office? Need to process more.

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  3. With this discussion, I feel like I can almost peak around the corner of understanding something very significant for me and all the daughters in my family. Time seems so linear, and while that is one aspect of it, God again is not limited to that straight line. I enjoy having Him show me the layers of revelation and healing and overlap that He orchestrates that look more like clothes tumbling in a dryer. I am seeing one again along the office line as I am living with my parents at age 51, knowing and feeling His restoration of me, even though I’ve already been wife and mother. Here’s to coming out wrinkle-free with our proper attire being worn beautifully in maturity.

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  4. Derick Gross says:

    I think of the story of Jephthah, misplaced, away from his office. It seems the expectation and need to earn in him, was high. I think the best way to describe somebody not in an office is like somebody that goes to the movies and sits in a seat he/she has not purchased. The ticket owners come along and tell him to move. He/she has no option to move out of the way.Awesomly Christ has given us a place to rule from, i think it has to do with the realisation of that place and to embrace it and perhaps even fight for it. I think of Israel and once more Jephthah!!!

    12 ¶And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land? 13 And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably. (Judges 11)

    Israel had to fight for her legitimacy and it is interesting that Jephthah had to fight this war, an internal war he himself was fighting. Because of the claim on the land the king of Ammon saw no wrong in proclaiming war with Israel even when it was quite unreasonable. Jephthah answered back with a the testimony of Israel and with God. But once again the king of Ammon saw no wrong in removing Israel out of her land. God gives testimony to somebody perceived ilegally in office and He then gives testimony by His Spirit of a person He annoints to do a certain task. For that office.

    I am thinking of Moses, How God has set Moses from a place of being an herdsman to being Israel’s leader. God did it through the testimony of His power. Moses felt totally out of place when God requested Moses to do this task. He quickly referred to his stammer as making him in appropriate for the task. God was angered by Moses’s suggestion. And even Moses’s unbelief did not stop God from making Moses, Israel’s new leader.

    I can see exactly the same thing happening to Jacob!

    Jacob… and i know that was a God ordained office of the firstborn. Altough he gained it without the total blessing of his father. Isaac loved Esau due to his hunting prowess and i think he was just as surprised with Jacobs tenacity as Esau was. God confirmed Jacob with many wonders, signs and miracles throughout his life! God made sure that Jacob understood that God gave him the position. But he did not necessarily had it amongst people!

    Amongst men…

    …i think here is the whole basis in which the whole struggle is based!!! From Jacob, Moses, Jephthah they all seemed to have had resistance from others walking in the office God has given them,Christ had it too! And i think this is where it comes in on how we react to this whole construction.

    It was how they responded to this problem. As we all know Jephthah handled it poorly, Jacob had fear Issues and Moses had speaking issues. The elders of Israel did not accept Moses at first and rebelled quite frequently towards his leadership. This was people that had established offices for generations. The establisment if need be 🙂 After Pharaoh’s first increase of labour prescriptions only a few was behind him. He was not seen as the king or authority of the Jews at that moment.

    In some areas they all handled it badly but God made a way and gave testimony to them through power, signs and wonders. Jephthah had his victory, and he could have it without the sacrifice he made. I can see that if they just went against everything they experienced at that moment things might have been different. If they stood unashamedly in their position people might of gotten offended (due to the nature of it) but the victory would always have been God’s in their live, another testimony of His greatness. I think the angel had a wrestling with Jacob to take away that character trait he had, and gave him a new name in the process. And even there God did it for Jacob as a son and as the one that has the blessing of Abraham.

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  5. Lisa says:

    The clarification between victim and lack of office holder is very encouraging and lifegiving. I am wondering if the path to freedom is directly correlated to the willingness to appropriate the open doors that God brings. As He is the giver life, He makes a way where there is no way. However it sometimes takes incredible bravery to appropriate the opportunities He brings in wilderness rather than live in fear/bitter/choose to hide/acquiescence, etc. Is coming in the opposite spirit in this case living by who God says we are rather than what those who enslave and refuse to recognise us say? All soldiers, when captured, have a duty to escape. Is it the same with us? David modelled this when he ‘chose’ to go after Goliath and not to remain in exile when being pursued by Saul. He was overlooked/not given his office – but he refused to stay hidden/give up – but vigourously went through the doors God (eventually) opened for him.

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  6. Megan says:

    It is quite mind boggling to see fruit of some of our offices blossom and grow, while there are core areas such as this that remain barren, or at most there is a flower that refuses to progress beyond a certain point. You would think that the growth and healing and everything else would cause movement in that area because the principles would apply. But it doesn’t, much to our sorrow. As I looked at the story of Hagar in a new light, I wondered about the expectation of fruitfulness in an area that doesn’t “exist”. Is there any reason to think the Egyptian heresy might be at play? Certainly with Hagar she was placed in a situation that was upside down. Is there any pattern in what we know that would suggest this could be a thread running through the whole cloth?

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    • Catherine says:

      I wonder if there is a correlation between the Egyptian heresy and defiled/absent/replaced spiritual structures? If there is an expectation of fruitfulness in an area that doesn’t “exist” that looks to me like a further reduction below the office of person to the function of machine. Machines are expected to do what they were made for, and if they malfunction, the society around them knows there is a problem with the machine, or at most an operator error, not a problem with the society.

      I wonder if in those areas that refuse to progress, the the issue is absence of a platform. We have to be able to receive before we can give/act/move forward. If there is no platform on which to receive in the first place, then at best we can only try to apply principles through our perception from another area in life (or in someone else’s life) we have seen principles work (or achieve enough excellence to make it look like principle is at work), and they don’t translate simply because a void, a vacuum, or maybe some other upside down/inside out structure exists that negates or deflects those principles from taking hold and bearing fruit because there is no place, no ecosystem which they can come to life in…

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  7. Rosa says:

    Just another thought..missing out on the person/daughter/adult/woman affirmation ,at age forty something, it feels like you missed out on your whole life,to some degree.

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  8. Rosa says:

    Point #4 describes my past week to a T. How interesting.And I wonder why I’m exhausted.

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