Entries in adaptation (3)
I just passed two couples walking while in my neighborhood. The first couple, togive you a visual picture, was rather ordinary from the first glance. They wore old, dirty tennis shoes and rather old and plain sweatshirts. They looked as though they were walking for exercise, but they walked rather slowly. The second couple was much more attractive and “put together,” and their pace was much faster. They had their arms pumping back and forth to generate speed.
But I noticed something…
The first couple was working harder to stay on the sidewalk. It looked laborious, actually. They even accidentally bumped into one another a few times. They were working hard to stay side-by-side. The second couple was walking with more ease and speed, but the husband was one step in front of the wife.
The challenge is that the narrow sidewalk, much like life, can be managed easier if one just steps in front of the other. But I don’t think the easier way is usually the best way. It’s kind of lonely to be looking ahead onto your path without your spouse in your periphery. And it’s a difficult to always be the one lagging behind. It certainly is more work to not rush ahead and take the lead or to also not let your spouse always rush ahead and clear the path. Some walks we can only take alone. Some walks we lead others. And some walks are meant to be side-by-side. I think the walk of marriage is most beautifully lived out when we bump into one another.
My life has gotten a bit more complicated the last two months… maybe challenging would be a better word. In November I was asked to take on the preaching responsibilities for my church for the next six months and I accepted. I agreed knowing that I would be pressed in with a packed schedule and many more responsibilities. Stress would increase… I determined as I went into this season that I needed to have some more rigid boundaries to help me navigate my responsibilities. With the help of my wife, here’s what I came up with:
- I need to lessen my professional schedule appropriately. This has never been easy for me to do, but it is mandated by the need for speaking preparation.
- Maintain a healthy exercise regimen. It’s necessary for me to continue to take time to work out and allow my stress to be dealt with naturally.
- Accountability to an objective mentor that will ask hard questions and give me a 30,000 foot perspective.
- Implement a tweaking process that will allow adjustments to help me adjust to factors not accounted for.
- A Sabbath rest that is non-negotiable. This consists of a day where I do no work and enjoy my family and commune with God.
These boundaries might appear simplistic, but they have helped so far and I would commend them to you as a template that might aid you in your own challenging schedule. Here’s to becoming healthier in 2013!
It’s been raining all weekend and it’s an unusual amount coming off the summer thunderstorms where you’ll have downpours one minute and bright sunshine the next. These rains were soakers and the sun did not shine through once for over 36 hours. A friend of mine mentioned to me that he loved weekends like the one we just had, all wet and gray with soot-covered cotton-ball clouds. When I asked why he said, “It just changes things up… it lets me know that cool weather is finally coming.”
All Floridians long for cool weather coming out of summers that are white-hot with daily temperatures in the mid to upper nineties. My son, who lives in Seattle, longs for the sun and heat of Washington’s August and September. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective and learning to adapt to where we are in our experience. In fact, I guess perspective is everything, when you get right down to it. Will my perspective be one that will allow me to see the positive in every circumstance? Will it lead me to see what God’s viewpoint is as compared to my own? Someone in Florida who longs for cool rainy weather has a perspective that is carved out of a heat-filled summer. Someone in Washington who covets warmth and sunshine has a longing that has been soaked in the cold and rainy days of the Northwest.
Our longing is a reminder that things are not going to be perfect on this earth and that something better is coming. This does not mean that we cannot embrace the reality of where we are and wring God’s blessings out of every moment. And the change of the seasons is to me, a reminder that God is continually inviting us into personal change, change that leads to growth. I invite you to ask God for His perspective on your life, and once you have it, ask Him for the ability to continue to grow.