​Mission Network writer Wil LaVeist and Pastor Urtnasan in Mongolia, 2013. Photo by Craig Welscott. Click on image for high resolution image. 

Reviewed by Lynda Hollinger-Janzen
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

​When a media company in Chicago aggressively recruited Wil LaVeist in 2006, he left a coveted newspaper columnist job that he loved, and moved his family. The new position held out the promise of benefiting the family and advancing LaVeist's career. He threw himself and his then 15 years of journalism experience into attempting to create the company's first Internet publishing division. However, six months later, with no performance review or warning, LaVeist's newly-hired boss handed him a separation agreement to sign.

"I was fired cold-blooded style from a company that claimed a family-oriented reputation," LaVeist said. "As I watched [my supervisor] mouth words, thoughts raged in my head. I wandered off to … the streets of Brooklyn, New York [where he grew up], to a time I would have dealt with a punk move like this by using my fist, a blade, or a gun."

However, an inner voice penetrated LaVeist's outrage, reminding him that he was a professional, a family man (he was married with three teens), and a new creation in Christ.

In Fired Up, LaVeist describes his struggle to follow the example of the biblical Joseph. Without sentimentality or bitterness, he tells of the steps he took to trust that God was molding injustice into something redemptive in his life, something that could be shared with others as they try to overcome their own crises. 

Joseph's words from Genesis 50:19-20 form a refrain that runs through LaVeist's book, "You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to … save many people."

As LaVeist navigated the situation caused by those who betrayed him, he went through a process of four steps:

  1. Reach out to wise people who love you – your family, friends, church leaders, and professional counselors. LaVeist confided in older siblings, his pastors, and his peers at The DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, a faith-based leadership development program for people engaged in urban youth ministry that his pastor in Chicago Heights (Illinois) enrolled him in. LaVeist now attends Calvary Community Church in Hampton, Virginia.
  2. Assess the present difficult situation by reflecting on your past, and planning for the future. At first, LaVeist was frustrated by awaking at 3 o'clock every morning. Once he discerned that God was calling him to reflect and write about his parents' contribution to his life; Brooklyn's Black residents who made the world a richer, more human place; teachers and others who had encouraged him, the insomnia became a gift.
  3. Allow feelings to flow. "We cheat ourselves when we wear the mask, denying our true emotions," LaVeist writes. "Being honest about our doubts can fuel our faith." Yet, he says that while emotional honesty is necessary and healing, we cannot wallow in our misery and despair forever. In LaVeist's words, "I got stuck and soaked in anger. I nearly drowned in it. Then, finally, I had a breakthrough, learning that forgiveness, the fourth and final step of acceptance, was vital for me to emerge truly free …"
  4. Forgiveness is necessary to move on successfully. "Studying Joseph's story during my crisis helped me to see my way clear," LaVeist writes. "Particularly it helped me to see the importance of forgiveness." LaVeist defines forgiveness as a process "to free the offender of what is owed to you," a gift presented without the need of getting something in return. "It is not a natural emotional response, but a rational logical choice according to your free will that taps into the supernatural … Forgiveness is actually about obedience to God," LaVeist writes.

LaVeist sees Joseph in the Genesis account as a foreshadowing of Jesus, someone rejected by his own people and embraced by foreigners. "It teaches that bigotry destroys the perpetrators perhaps more than the victims," he writes. "Anger tortures the soul of a bigot."

The over-arching truth of Joseph's story is that "true blessings and values come from God alone, not your career status, or family ties," LaVeist writes.

In 2011, four years after being "fired up," LaVeist joined Mennonite Mission Network as managing editor for multimedia. Order Fired Up through Better World Books, or contact LaVeist at www.willaveist.com

 

 

 Related articles

 

 

For a new dad, the thought of fatherhood is more mysterious than everBLOGhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5084/For-a-new-dad-fatherhood-feels-more-mysterious-than-everFor a new dad, the thought of fatherhood is more mysterious than everGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Here with purpose: Joe SawatzkyQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5074/Here-with-purpose-Joe-SawatzkyHere with purpose: Joe SawatzkyGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
“Unity in Diversity”: An interview with Martin Gunawan about his cultural heritageQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5079/Unity-in-Diversity-An-interview-with-Martin-Gunawan-about-his-cultural-heritage“Unity in Diversity”: An interview with Martin Gunawan about his cultural heritageGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Anabaptist Witness combines scholarship and global solidarity with Ethiopian issueAnabaptist Witnesshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5077/Anabaptist-Witness-combines-scholarship-and-global-solidarity-with-Ethiopian-issueAnabaptist Witness combines scholarship and global solidarity with Ethiopian issueGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Complex grief of climate changeCreation Carehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5078/Complex-grief-of-climate-changeComplex grief of climate changeGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Here with purpose: Sibonokuhle NcubeQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5070/Here-with-purpose-Sibonokuhle-NcubeHere with purpose: Sibonokuhle NcubeGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Privilege shapes our response to the migrant crisisMigrationhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5068/Privilege-shapes-our-response-to-the-migrant-crisisPrivilege shapes our response to the migrant crisisGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Calais
Here with purpose: Tim YoderQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5065/Here-with-purpose-Tim-YoderHere with purpose: Tim YoderGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Mennonite mission worker continues to nurture friendships with Shia Muslims in IranInterfaith discussionhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5064/Mennonite-mission-works-continues-to-nurture-friendships-with-Shia-Muslims-in-Iran-Mennonite mission worker continues to nurture friendships with Shia Muslims in IranGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Qom, Iran
Easter calls us to open the doors of our homes and our heartsEasterhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5061/Easter-calls-us-to-open-the-doors-of-our-homes-and-our-heartsEaster calls us to open the doors of our homes and our heartsGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Calais
Celebrating Holy Week in multiple cultures can deepen faithHoly Weekhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4879/Celebrating-Holy-Week-in-multiple-culturesCelebrating Holy Week in multiple cultures can deepen faithGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Redefining the future of serviceBloghttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5047/Are-service-programs-dyingRedefining the future of serviceGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Here with purpose: Henok MekoninQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5044/Here-with-purpose-Henok-MekoninHere with purpose: Henok MekoninGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
The heartbreak of the border: A call for compassion and changeBloghttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5043/A-call-for-compassion-and-changeThe heartbreak of the border: A call for compassion and changeGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Here with purpose: Karen HorsmanQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5039/Here-with-purpose-Karen-HorsmanHere with purpose: Karen HorsmanGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476

 

 

 Related

 

 

For a new dad, the thought of fatherhood is more mysterious than everhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5084/For-a-new-dad-fatherhood-feels-more-mysterious-than-everFor a new dad, the thought of fatherhood is more mysterious than ever
Here with purpose: Joe Sawatzkyhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5074/Here-with-purpose-Joe-SawatzkyHere with purpose: Joe Sawatzky
“Unity in Diversity”: An interview with Martin Gunawan about his cultural heritagehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5079/Unity-in-Diversity-An-interview-with-Martin-Gunawan-about-his-cultural-heritage“Unity in Diversity”: An interview with Martin Gunawan about his cultural heritage
Anabaptist Witness combines scholarship and global solidarity with Ethiopian issuehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5077/Anabaptist-Witness-combines-scholarship-and-global-solidarity-with-Ethiopian-issueAnabaptist Witness combines scholarship and global solidarity with Ethiopian issue
Complex grief of climate changehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5078/Complex-grief-of-climate-changeComplex grief of climate change
Here with purpose: Sibonokuhle Ncubehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5070/Here-with-purpose-Sibonokuhle-NcubeHere with purpose: Sibonokuhle Ncube



 

 

For a new dad, the thought of fatherhood is more mysterious than everhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5084/For-a-new-dad-fatherhood-feels-more-mysterious-than-everFor a new dad, the thought of fatherhood is more mysterious than everBLOG
Mission worker used comforter-making to knot God’s people togetherhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/5082/Mission-worker-used-comforter-making-to-knot-God’s-people-togetherMission worker used comforter-making to knot God’s people togetherObituary
Here with purpose: Joe Sawatzkyhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5074/Here-with-purpose-Joe-SawatzkyHere with purpose: Joe SawatzkyQ&A
“Unity in Diversity”: An interview with Martin Gunawan about his cultural heritagehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5079/Unity-in-Diversity-An-interview-with-Martin-Gunawan-about-his-cultural-heritage“Unity in Diversity”: An interview with Martin Gunawan about his cultural heritageQ&A
Anabaptist Witness combines scholarship and global solidarity with Ethiopian issuehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5077/Anabaptist-Witness-combines-scholarship-and-global-solidarity-with-Ethiopian-issueAnabaptist Witness combines scholarship and global solidarity with Ethiopian issueAnabaptist Witness
Complex grief of climate changehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5078/Complex-grief-of-climate-changeComplex grief of climate changeCreation Care