Being a work in progress

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One of my favorite irons in the world

It’s been an exciting ride for sure. But you know when you get to those junctions and realize that it’s been kind of a blur. That’s where I feel I am at right now. It just feels like I’ve done so much but not enough at the same time because I haven’t always stopped to smell the roses so to speak. It’s in those very moments, though, that you can see how much you’ve grown. It’s so easy to get focused on the wrong thing when you’re going so fast.

I actually love high pressured situations. I love problem solving and you need to have problems in order to solve them. It’s not always true as depending on which meters are getting pushed, I have a higher tendency to go the wrong direction. Hey, what can I say, I’m a “work in progress” as my friend Wendy always says. However, I think Dwight L. Moody hit it on the nail when he said, “Character is what you are in the dark”. Whether that means you are alone or stuck in some high stress position, when you get squeezed, it so shows on you what’s really inside.

As a consultant, I’ve had an incredible opportunity to witness, experience and encounter a plethora of scenarios. It’s always been really interesting and intriguing. Can you tell I get excited about the human psyche? Anyway, I have really been pressed to learn about boundaries in the last few years. They’re important. In Great Falls, Montana, we have certain intersections that have no indication of who will go first when approaching that intersection. That means at any given moment, a car could blow through. It’s scary. When there are set rules that are recognized by the people, a safe atmosphere is created. As Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. Charles Townsend say in their book, Boundaries, “You need to know where you end to know where the other person begins”. Lacking a sense of self awareness will push you beyond your limits real quick. That means you will be one hot-tempered individual, often unpleasant if you’re in that pressure cooker environment.

Working with people, it’s a science. It’s so intricately complex what comes up and out as a result of hanging with people that are not like you. I’ve heard it said that when something bothers you about another, it’s usually because that very thing is rising up within you. That poses a very interesting theory. Could it be that opposing situations are not actually what it looks like but rather an indicator for areas that we can improve in our own lives? Recently, I had one of those moments. You know, the moments where you say something absolutely profound and say, “thank you Jesus!”  I said to this friend, “When you’re car is leaking gas, you can’t blame the road for stealing your gas. You have to check out your tank and fix the hole”. People are not your enemy. Other people can’t make you feel anything. You choose it. If someone is exhausting you, it’s not their fault you don’t have the emotional capacity to be with them anymore. You’re spent. It happens. Be bold and say no. It’s ok. No is a valid choice because if it wasn’t, yes wouldn’t be an option.

So let’s call it like it is. We’re not perfect and we aren’t getting anywhere closer blaming others. Let’s allow the character shaping process in ourselves to continue by admitting when and why things bother us so we can continue to progress.

Iron sharpens iron as one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

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