Independence be damned

I’m reflecting today on a series of experiences where either I or another person might have spared one another some grief if we’d only worked together.  My immediate tendency was to have a moment of blaming the other guy for not communicating with me. While not entirely wrong, communication is a two way street and I too should have been communicating.

The trouble is that I’ve been trained my whole life to be employed in the US, a country which values things like being an independant worker, an initiative taker, and a go getter.  That means for the most part in my life I’ve been given a task and then expected to do it without significant consultation with others.  In fact it’s a fair wager that my boss has no idea what I do on a daily basis, and doesn’t want to.  She wants results.

That’s not to say it’s not collaborative, my co-workers and I regularly communicate and brainstorm, but there is a point when we are expected to get our “own work” done.

So, my approach to tasks given to me as part of my discernment has been not unlike this.  For example if a committee I’m asked to do something with needs something, I haven’t generally gone back to the priest unless I had questions, we simply work together and do our task until it’s done.  I do ask God to bless and guide me in the work. In fact, my approach to God has often been like this.  He created me, he gave me gifts, he intends me to use them, so I go to.  Independently. And that is where I’ve gotten it wrong.

In the past year as part of the learning process that is “discernment” I have learned that discerning itself is a skill.  It involves quietness, stillness, patience and dedication to discern.  Discerning is different from asking a few questions, receiving answers and figuring it out from there.  It means letting the answers come to you and not forcing things to develop at a specific pace.  That, I confess is hard to fathom for this modern girl.

I’ve also learned that I need to get better at actively trying to discern bigger more subtle signals from people.  True, my life would be easier if I was surrounded by stupendous communicators, but I’m here to serve people and I can’t reasonably expect to wake up in a different world prior to the second coming. So tact and diplomacy would make more sense if I don’t wish to be continually frustrated. As Jim Rohn, entrepreneur, once stated, “You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.”

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Because really to do anything else, to insist on independence and fight over such trivialities is to ignore God’s calling.  Or as James put it, “You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.”

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So, independence be damned.  We’re in this together, and I just need to adjust.  God isn’t like my boss, He actually knows all the details of what I do.  His goal is to bring about the Kingdom and that has nothing whatsoever to do with the tasks at which I was having a communications breakdown.  It has to do with the communication breakdown itself, the love with which I respond (or fail to provide) is all that matters, the peace that passes all understanding.

Peace be with you.

Chris

 

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