Sunday, July 7, 2019

A little change in direction may be helpful

Mom had a saying when she couldn't find something. She'd say she "put it away so carefully, so as to find it the next time," only to find it was nowhere to be found when she needed it! Have you ever been looking so diligently for something only to find that what you sought with such great earnestness was right there in front of you all the time? When you finally realize that the object of your search was just within your reach, didn't you feel a little silly having spent all that time and energy in the seeking? It's kind of like you just have to say, "Duh! Here it is!" and give yourself a little knock on the head!

Somehow, though he moves right in front of me, I don't see him; quietly but surely he's active, and I miss it. (Job 9:11)

A process in the business world known as "building shared vision" is usually facilitated by bringing a group of people together for a period of time to tap into what it is that they imagine for the success of the group. Get the right people at the table and this can be a very good exercise. Get a mixed group at the table and you might find it a little more of a challenge. Get the wrong group at the table and who knows what you will get. It is all about getting the people in the group to bring their thoughts and ideas into play as they "vision" the work they do as a group, or what they see as the outcome of their work. It opens communication, gets people on the same page, identifies some barriers to "being on the same page", and can help a group see the steps necessary to move forward in a full "team approach".

In the end, the group will be asked the telling question: "How do we get there from here?" I think this is a question that we often ask God in our daily walk. We see ourselves in some present circumstance, imagine what we'd like to see come out of that circumstance, and then we stand there wondering what steps we will have to take to realize the end that it is we are hopeful of achieving. We stand at an intersection - one path leads to one outcome, the other to quite a different one. At the moment of decision, we stand there asking "WHY" do we choose one or the other - often deliberating to the point that we don't move at all. The goal of a good group "facilitator" is to give people the chance to talk things out. In other words, the "facilitator" asks the "who", "what", "where", "when", and "how" questions with skillful tact. The ones in the group answer while the facilitator "pulls out" common themes. I think Jesus does this with us. We stand at that decision point in our lives, he spends a little time with us "pulling out" the common themes of past choices we have made that got us in our present circumstance (and others like it), then allows us to figure out that choosing the path in that direction will just lead us into the same muddle again!

I often hear believers say, "I just don't know what God wants me to do!" To that I simply answer, "He has probably facilitated this conversation with you multiple times already - you just did not recognize it was him facilitating that discussion!" We've probably uttered the words, "Somehow, though he moves right in front of me, I don't see him; quietly but surely he's active, and I miss it." We are so focused on the intersection of familiar choice vs. best choice that we don't see him moving down the path of best choice ahead of us. The path of best choice is often the one we have never been on before! I have a pastor friend that says it this way: "If we always do what we've always done, we will always get what we've always gotten!" So, think that through today. Ask yourself this question: "What path have I settled into a little bit of a comfort-zone while traveling?" It may very well be that God will bring you to an "intersection" moment soon. In that moment, let God "facilitate" that discussion that "pulls out" the common themes of past choices that may not have been all that helpful to you. In that "discussion with God", stop long enough to realize his movements - then ask yourself, "Can I get THERE from where I am traveling today?" If the the answer is "probably not", then perhaps it is time for a change of course! Just sayin!

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