Thursday, July 25, 2013

Breaking News: Adaptation May Be Key to Survival and Sanity!

I met someone yesterday who had very high, very specific expectations. He wanted personal assistance with details related to an application on the library system's website. NOW. And he was not at all pleased that I could not deliver what he saw as his distinct need, in the manner that perfectly suited his expectation.

We all build ideas of desired outcomes. Sometimes this is completely necessary (isn't this chicken supposed to be fully cooked?) and other times it's best to adapt and adjust based on a new reality (the brownies collapsed, but they taste still taste great!)

What does it take to recognize that a change is required? How much reality must be experienced in order to be willing to shift one's vision? There are many, many stories in the Bible that illustrate this point. Times when things appeared to be headed in one direction, but then God communicated an entirely different plan leading to an unanticipated outcome.

Being a people-pleaser at heart, I am pretty quick to change direction based on what I perceive to be the needs of others. That's nice, except when I really was on the right track and let myself get derailed by popular opinion. Some of the people whom I most admire are strong, firm in their convictions, rarely swayed by mood or whim. That's good, too. There are times to change, and situations in which it's best to stand firm. Reminds me of that text adapted by Pete Seeger...

     There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven -- 
     A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones;
     A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
     A time to search, and a time to give up as lost;
     A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
     A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; 
     A time to be silent, and a time to speak.

So, some planned outcomes must be pursued to full completion, and some must be altered. My job is to listen to the One who advises, encourages, directs, and occasionally gives me a shove in the right direction.

Oh, and about that person with whom I had the unfortunate interaction... Well, I'm sorry I couldn't meet his perceived need in the manner to which he'd like to become accustomed. Maybe another time?

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