Sunday, February 17, 2019

Becoming Clear

"Muddy water becomes clear if you only let it be still for a while.” Dallas Willard

Have you ever faced a confusing or difficult situation and jumped into action only to make it worse? Our desire to make things right or to force an outcome leads us to stir things up when the better choice might be to let them settle instead. 

Part of my natural reaction is to want to fix things. When I see something out of alignment I want to make it right. I don’t think this is a terrible trait, but I have discovered (often the hard way) that making decisions and taking action before things are clear doesn’t always end well. My eagerness has often led me to moving prematurely before fully understanding what’s really happening.

Over the last decade I’ve learned to pause before jumping into situations and asserting myself. As a person of action that hasn’t been an easy habit to develop but has been honed through many difficult life lessons. This is something each of us can develop if we are committed to change. Over time we can then make the conscious decision to pause, take a deep breath, and carefully examine the situation before deciding what to do.

The habit of patient contemplation is often underrated. Allow yourself time and space to think when things are overwhelming and you are unsure. Learning to be still in our thoughts and actions makes the next step more clear.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Measure Carefully

For almost all of my adult life I’ve been a communicator. The platform varied depending on the environment—in the classroom, on athletic fields/courts, in small groups, from a stage, and one-on-one. I feel it’s one of my gifts and something I continue to work to sharpen as my life path continue to evolve. There have been some hard lessons over the years as I haven’t alway communicated in a healthy or constructive way. Damage was often done because I didn’t realize the full power of this gift and didn’t always use it to build others up.

The truth is that all of us are communicators. The size and proximity of our audience may vary, but we all convey information, thoughts, and emotions to the people around us. To understand the impact of what we say it is important to remember a simple truth: our words have weight. Whether we always recognize the result or not, the things we speak will affect others. Those closest to us can often be most wounded by our words. A leadership position in our career also adds weight to what we say and can have unintended consequences if we are careless.

Considering the responsibility of being a communicator might lead us to choose not to share things at all. The better choice is to take a few moments to think about what we have to say before we speak. Once those words leave our mouths they can’t be taken back.