This last couple of months has been about transition and a great deal of change. Good changes! Exciting stuff transpiring over here in Aisle 3! In the event that you’ve been under a rock and have not heard I’ve finally rented my house and have relocated to Los Angeles. I’m back to maintenance-free apartment living and the glorious city.
Los Angeles and Southern California require a whole new grid work for thought process. It’s nothing like North Carolina or the Midwest or even Michigan where I grew up. And so a new season begins. Interesting fact: we will always find ourselves at the start of a season in one aspect of our lives, mid-season in another aspect and bringing something else in our life to a close. I don’t know why that is. I just find it to be universally true.
I’ve started more households than I have fingers to count on. I love filling out the forms that want the last five addresses. I have to keep a log. I’m starting to look like a fugitive. Being mid-season with things … no matter how I add it up, I am mid-career. I’m a senior analyst whether I asked for the title or not. Knowing how to gracefully end a season in our lives is just as important as knowing how to get into stride and stay there, how to endure. I recently brought a five year tenure with my last employer to a close. Ending well requires liberal doses of graciousness.
The metaphor of a marathon or long distance bike (bicycle) ride is refreshing when I apply it to the changes that I’ve been facing. I suppose the 100 yard dash is the most accurate with all the hurdles I’ve been jumping these last weeks and months. Whenever I had a long ride planned, 80 or 100 miles, I made a lot of decisions ahead of time. I knew when I would leave, and I was prepared for the blazing sun to make the sweat run in my eyes and nearly blind me with salt. I would squirt orange Gatoraide in my eyes for relief. I was ready for a rain shower in the afternoon that would wash away that same dried sweat on my face but it would blind me as the water would pelt my face. I knew that I would arrive back home with a wicked headache but I’d go out again and again. Once the decisions are made the disciplined athlete does not revisit the issues. Let.it.rain.
What areas of your life have non-negotiables? In what ways have you made up your mind, and you are sticking with your decision, no matter what it costs you?
I am reminded of a couple of Olympic athletes. You are waiting for me to mention Lance Armstrong, but I was thinking of Mary Decker. A ferociously talented runner, but in the 1984 Olympics Decker collided with Zola Budd. She was carried off the field by her boyfriend. I cried. I’ll never forget it because I was in high school rehabilitating my knee after a orthopedic surgery at 15 years old. I was a lovesick ballet dancer. I knew that I’d never really make a future out of it, but certainly not after that surgery.
No matter the things that beset us, the rides where we’ve eaten dirt or the hurdles we’ve taco’d … or even the pointe shoes we’ll never don again … I’d like to do this season well. Reader, we’ve both got a bit of road behind us but there is plenty of road ahead. We have finally learned how to dream big dreams with our giant God, and we have much to become. We are no longer afraid of our own shadow nor walk in shame over our mistakes.
Let’s run this one in such a way that we might win.
Have you ever had a situation with someone either at work or in an organization where you felt you couldn’t resolve your differences? Never, right? What do you think about it now that time has passed?
Understand that in the 80’s I was a ‘babe-in-the-woods’ socially, and every way possible. I had moved from a rural town in Michigan into Lansing which, to me, might as well have been New York City. I was a young 17 year old, living with roommates, learning to take college classes, catch a city bus, use my paycheck to pay bills … and I wonder why I was stressed! Anyway I had taken this secretarial and bookkeeping job with a firm in downtown Lansing. I didn’t understand office politics let alone know how to surf them. I don’t recall the specifics of what happened but interpersonal relationships were too complex and too volatile for me to navigate and so I gathered up my things and left.
I had no perspective of unfinished business.
I could pretend that the situation was one of injustice, but it probably wasn’t. I could pretend that the situation was spiritual, i.e., this was happening because the other people weren’t ‘saved’ or ‘spiritually mature’ like me, and so this was all satan’s fault. Many times my reasonings around a situation are there to cover up my failures … perhaps sarcasm, disrespect, bad attitude, lack of humility. If I over-spiritualize the situation then there is no need to expose myself. Leaving abruptly, whether from work or a relationship or even a conversation with a friend, ensures that I won’t need to expose my shortcomings. An awesome defense mechanism, by the way.
If we believe in carrying the Kingdom of God to our workplaces then the way we handle things will be different from what seems most natural. Instead of demanding our own way we invite a conversation, share our ideas and risk rejection. We verbally acknowledge our failures and make ourselves vulnerable. We trust the Lord to work things out but we don’t hide behind spiritual fences. We let people see us as the mess that we can sometimes be. We fail in front of them. We succeed in front of them. And we let them wonder about our giant God.