I knew it would be a big commitment.
As part of leadership development, employees that have been identified as having great potential are given “stretch assignments” that put them in situations that will push the boundaries of their knowledge and skills. These experiences broaden their professional horizons and cultivate new traits, equipping them for the next steps in their career progression. Writing for thirty-one days on the same topic has been a such a stretch assignment for me. (Heck, just writing for 31 days straight was a stretch!) This goal seemed to sit barely on this side of the line between possible and impossible. Yet, here we are, thirty-one days and posts later.
And I’m not proud of it.
Nor am I proud of quoting a Britney Spears song. But that’s beside the point.
Today in Bible study we looked at Colossians 3:18-4:18. This is one of those passages. One of the submit passages that induce eye-rolling and consternation across female populations. Our discussion time was rich; we grappled with the text and our culture.
And then it was time for me to teach it.
A few minutes into the lecture one of the ladies stood up and walked out.
Think there could be an upside of always seeing the downside?
I’m starting to think there might be.
Over the last several weeks of writing, I’ve noticed how often my expectations were exceeded. Though I went into situations anticipating the worst, very often I was surprised by a much more positive outcome.
- A difficult conversation with a peer was received with grace and dignity, despite my concern it would elicit defensiveness and anger.
- Despite being late for a commitment, which I was certain would hinder the progress to be made (due to the meeting’s time constraints), we met and exceeded the expectations of our agenda.
Do the words we speak to others matter?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. –Philippians 4:8 NIV (emphasis added)
It took 2.5 hours in a local department store.
Seriously. 150 minutes of running from one part of the store to another, all in an effort to secure complimentary clothing for our bi-annual family portrait session. In a fairly uncharacteristic move, I’d left this chore to the day before the shoot. Nice. Must have something to do with how much I deplore shopping.
I love lists.
Love, love, love them. I do have some digital lists, but many are still the old fashioned paper-and-pen variety. They decorate my kitchen counter and cupboards, my dashboard, and my desk. (Can I call this a decorating scheme?) I’ll buy cute pads of paper and always try to have an array of pens to choose from.
Today I felt defeated as I perused my list. I even wrote a new one to clean it up and make it all pretty-like. (Didn’t help.) It was overwhelming to see how much must be accomplished in the next 48 hours… on a weekend, no less. My reason for writing lists isn’t even all that cheerful: I know I can’t remember what needs doing!
Sometimes it’s just there in black and white.
As part of a leadership exercise, I recently took the Strengths Finder assessment to determine my top five strength themes. While no inventory can adequately categorize a person (because God made us as unique individuals), it always fascinates me to see what a researcher will identify about me from my answers to a series of questions. And often how accurately.
I confess I find this word in Paul’s list to be the least connected to all the others in Philippians 4:8.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (ASV, emphasis added)
Not that I don’t like lovely, mind you. I sure do. It’s just that when I hear the word, I always think of something pretty, or aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Occasionally, I hear it used to describe a particularly charming or kind woman, as well. And my definition isn’t too far off of Merriam-Webster’s:
No news is bad news in my little world.
I found (yet) another place where my pessimism reigns: communication. Specifically, the lack thereof. To me, the absence of information can only be interpreted negatively. Though there are juvenile aspects to this tendency (likely the residue from middle school girls’ tactics of ignoring someone when mad), I recognize that a large portion of it is simply my bias:
- If a lengthy period of time elapses between communication with a friend, I routinely begin to wonder whether something is amiss in our relationship.
- When someone offers feedback on a portion of my work, but doesn’t mention another aspect, I assume they didn’t appreciate the part they chose not to discuss with me.
- After posting a new blog, and receiving no comments from readers, I immediately believe the content didn’t resonate with anyone and therefore wasn’t valuable.
Yesterday didn’t start all that well.
I was awake for hours in the dark of the night. I spent more of it awake than asleep. (I’d love to tell you that I did something constructive or spiritual. But I didn’t. I just got irritated.)
I was greeted with some difficult news as soon as I sat down at my desk. Given my lack of rest, it took more of an emotional toll than it normally would. I had a very negative reaction to it, even though I knew I would respond differently — less pessimistically — with more rest in my system.
My post yesterday was a somewhat sarcastic rendition of my day’s events: the truth that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), but that I’d have to wait almost 24 hours to get another fresh start. I have noticed, however, that almost everything does seem to look a little brighter at the dawn of a new day. I subscribe to the notion that we should “sleep” on whatever is bothering us for a night.