12 May 2013

My Mother's Day Musings...

It's such a bane... the tyranny of the importance of THIS particular moment, THIS specific crisis...

I've been thinking about this for a few weeks now, largely motivated by extreme amounts of frustration and not a little bit of hurt feelings as I've felt, at times, the scapegoat for things that were totally outside my realm of control. I know I don't have the market on those sorts of feelings... someone (or more than one... outside my kids) possibly feels I've scapegoated them, so I'll also be the first to admit that I'm quite probably blind and often times, as guilty as the next person, perhaps even more so.

I just wish I knew what to do about it. 
  • First, I want to let God help me fix this problem within myself. 
  • Secondly, I hope to teach and disciple my children - hoping that as they see me model a more godly action or response, they too will learn. 
  • Thirdly, I wish I could encourage those with whom I work on a regular basis to make better, gentler decisions and that thinking about this topic might help interpersonal relationships in work and ministry. 
So... what do I mean by bane?

Not this ugly, scary looking dude... although Batman might disagree with me!

Artwork for the cover of Batman: Gotham Knights vol. 34, Nov, 2002.Art by Brian Bolland.
Retrieved from Wikipedia, 4/292013.
According to Dictionary.com, bane is:  

What in the world am I talking about? 

I'll speak in first person, because as I said, I'm as guilty of this as the next... but I also don't believe it is me alone, a just-my-problem situation.

In general, I have greatly over-inflated, grandiose ideas and opinions about just how important the work and the ministry that I do is, in the overall scheme of eternity. I treat way too many situations as life and death equivalents and am all too willing to find a battle I think worth fighting. In the process, I assume those who may disagree with me are messing with divine plans and possibly out to ruin me personally... and I take personal offense someone might consider my ideas and opinions ridiculous, invalid or as holding no weight whatsoever. I forget that it is most likely that regardless of what happens in whatever particular "crisis" I'm living, the sun will  rise the next morning, whether things go my way or not.

Okay! So that's not the case... exactly! 

That includes a bit of purposeful hyperbole... I don't actually completely forget. I just act like it... or think like it... deep down inside where only God and I can see...

Don't misunderstand me - I do think God cares about my daily activities. He wants me to be the very best I can be, to do all that I do to bring honor and glory to His name, to love God and people, to live holy and pure. I do believe that He works in and through all that we do and that choices I make today may impact eternity... certainly my own. But I've also think I've let it become way too important in MY own eyes, or even when I manage some sense of balance, it is only because I'm fighting that tendency the whole way slash entire time.

In this world, working with other fallen and sinful people, I have to find a balance. 

With a lot fewer exceptions than I tend to imply {by my thoughts, words and sometimes actions}, most of my day to day work warrants very few battles especially not each time someone disagrees with me, particularly not when I'm talking about my colleagues in ministry. You know, the guys on my side? The folks who form my team?

So one of my fellow teachers focuses on the importance of not overburdening the teaching staff while I emphasize the sometimes opposing need of that same teaching staff to go above and beyond to accommodate for the needs of exceptional students. We have different priorities and I don't find anything sinful or wrong in leaning towards one or the other point of view. Sin, however, can barnstorm the picture based on how I choose to respond to such differing opinions: 
  • do I stop communicating, 
  • do I indicate my disagreement subtly via facial expressions and body language, 
  • do I use angry, frustrated or inflammatory words when I converse, 
  • do I go behind the other person's back or gossiping about my frustrations,
  • do I manipulate and try and get others to take sides...???
Gentle, respectfully honoring and kind dialogue where I agree to support the final decision regardless of my initial position because I trust the motives of my colleague is going to accomplish more in the long run, while preserving unity and relationship. 

It comes down to this: Do I choose to believe the best in that other person, do I trust that God's Spirit is actively working in his/her life? If I do, then I can believe the other person also sincerely seeks to do his/her job to the best of his/her ability, to honor God, loving Him and people with his/her skills and position with as much dedication and passion as I do. If not, then I am first ready to take offense and respond in kind, weapons drawn and eager to draw the first blood... metaphorically speaking, of course.

I feel as though I've been stumbling through battlefields littered with wounded this year because of these sorts of battles over important but not THAT important decisions and policies - among my colleagues and even within my own family and closest friends. Do I refuse to cooperate because someone failed to communicate my responsibilities in a timely manner? Do I get angry because a colleague disagrees with my professional opinion regarding a child's need for specific services or not? Do I walk away with a lower opinion of one of my teens because s/he stood their ground and refused to compromise in an area where s/he felt to do so would compromise their integrity?

I hope not...

I hope I will recognize and admit that I do have my own personal agenda - something to be expected and accepted. 

The bigger concern is can I... will I... lay down that agenda, admit the existence of an inflated perspective and a way too high opinion of my own importance and work for God-obedient, God-honoring compromise?

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