Sunday, March 4, 2018

What process are you setting in motion?

Those who plot evil shall wander away and be lost, but those who plan good shall be granted mercy and quietness. (Proverbs 14:22 TLB)
Good or evil - both are the result of certain processes set in motion within our lives. Deming said that if we could not find a way to describe what we are doing as a 'process', then we actually didn't know what we are doing. All of life is filled with processes, beginning with thought and carried into action. If you have ever had one of those involuntary moments when you are asleep and suddenly feel like you are falling, jerking yourself awake, you know how 'off' that feeling of falling can make you feel. You might not realize it, but we are all subject to 'interpreting' certain actions or reactions based on how they make us feel. Yet, not all feelings are real - that 'fall' was imagined. You weren't actually falling out of bed, but somehow your thoughts engaged a reaction to that 'impression' of falling. A 'process' was set in motion - you were startled, awoke, and now are staring into the darkness wondering if that was real! There are times when we 'engage' in the process without knowing fully where the process will take us! At others, we find ourselves at the end of the process wondering how we got there!
While we cannot control everything in our lives, we can develop consistent processes that help us to maintain stability and make good judgments as those processes around us are set in motion. I spend a great deal of time in my work life just evaluating processes and seeing where they need 'shoring up' in order to improve both efficiencies and outcomes. An efficient process with poor outcomes is not a great process - it might get the job done, but the job reflects the lack of consistency in the process. In our daily walk with Christ, there are a whole lot of processes we could engage to help us remain consistent in our walk. We might read scripture each day so that we get a little of his Word into our minds and hearts. We might engage in purposeful conversation with God (prayer) in order to get things out into the open and then hear what he has to say on the matter. We also might meet with others who are working good 'in' and evil 'out' in their lives - making the idea of two being stronger than one a reality for us. Processes - each designed to help us be established in our walk with Christ, consistent in our 'outcomes', and directed in our focus.
Some think there is not way to change the process of evil either within ourselves or around us. Both of these beliefs are dead wrong. Evil exists because man hasn't 'shut down' those processes - there is an 'allowance' for them to still exist. In terms of looking at the process, I might label this as an 'allowed variation'. In other words, we allow just 'enough' evil that we get the thrill of it once in a while, but not so much of it that we exemplify this evil all the time. Whatever we allow will eventually be accepted - hard truth, but it is truth nonetheless. Allow variation in the process and you will eventually get deviation from the process. This is another truth about processes. A little 'wobble' may not seem like much, but allow that wobble to continue over time and eventually the wobble will allow a 'gap' to form. The ignored or tolerated 'wobble' actually creates 'holes' which allow more variance. The idea of evil beginning as that tiny 'wobble' in our choices, if tolerated long enough, carries the added idea that the consistency in making those errant choices will result in a totally different process than was once designed or desired!
While the process matters, it is the steps in the process that all lead up to the outcome. Any step in the process that is neglected affords an opening for a new process to begin. That new process may the very thing that gives us the greatest opportunity to stumble and fall. That variation ignored long enough may not become evident to us until we are startled by the fall! Just sayin!