CONVERSATIONS can be anything from interesting, absorbing, boring, to life-changing. And when we are in a great deal of spiritual flux, we actually need more of those regular life-changing conversations. Here is an easy list of ten clear things I learned in a short conversation on the phone recently:
1. “Why” is the only important issue — the rest of our concerns look after themselves. When we know the answer to the question is “yes” (i.e. “I know why I need to do this thing, and therefore, I can do it…”), the “how” becomes irrelevant. The “how” is a simply about engineering the necessary transactions that must take place. Purpose is impetus. Purpose is all we need. Know “why” and we have the reason to know everything we need to know.
2. We share the same problems. Most of our problems — when we are in a cohort — are actually shared by others in the cohort. More individuals who have the same life situation have the same thoughts and struggles. We just don’t know it because we don’t commonly communicate it.
3. Close working relationships are like marriages. Conflict is bound to be experienced. Negotiating the conflict is the elixir of healing. Bipartisan compromise paves the way to sustainability. Christians have a better share of the answer; only one party needs to accept and assume responsibility and reconciliation has more than half a hope. And when both see reconciling issues as important, the ‘marriage’ is healthy.
4. Perspective is truth; the truth is borne when perspective is in sight. As we reflect we have always been more effective than we thought we were in the midst of the moment. It’s simple. We know more later on. We know more about the actual effects of our work and the impact it’s had on people. We may seriously underestimate the effect of our work for the Lord if we reflect prematurely and critically. All we need to do is maintain our intent. That’s faith.
5. Make decisions hastily at your peril, and miss out on what God’s doing both in you and through you. God’s calling to something else, or God’s release to something ‘bigger’ and ‘better’, always lags behind our own agitation to move on and get on with things. We want everything perfect. But perfection is in gratitude and thankfulness, not looking over the fence. God’s release from an arduous ordeal will always ‘lag’ simply because in the adversity is all the material we will ever need for learning. But we don’t like being uncomfortable and humble. To embrace these, however, can only benefit us, both in the now and in what is still coming.
6. Passion is the way through anything. Fall in love with the actual place and position we find ourselves in, now, and we will find we have never been more content. We overflow in gratefulness and thankfulness. Passion, like purpose beforehand, comes to be everything.
7. Our purpose as the Servant is to showcase God’s glory. The purpose superintends the activity — in every single case. It really doesn’t matter what season we are in. God has chosen it for us, and, because of this and not in spite of it, we can endure it, and the gold is, we grow through it.
8. Take the risk and be honest — with trusted mentors it’s always worth it. When God creates space for a mentoring conversation we are shrewd to make of the opportunity all we can. Twenty minutes well and truly soundly invested has such eternal weight for our growth journey now and to come.
9. Opportunities to serve that are taken up always end up as a blessing. God goes before us. When we discern the opportunity to serve, and we defy our fear for a lack of capacity or wisdom, offering ourselves up as a living sacrifice, humbly, in any event, we are blessed, even if the other party is most centrally blessed. Such a blessing is in the form of an affirmation — God saying, “I want to use you… in this way… that I know… endears your heart. I know you need purpose — here it is!”
10. A ‘word’ left to ponder graces the subconscious with a divine work where the Spirit can only elucidate. The gift of having been left with something to ponder — a thing that lined up wonderfully with what someone else I respected had said only the day before — is a most divine gift.
Conversations we have with the wise today, enrich the conversations we have with ourselves tomorrow.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.