"Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you? You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions." James 4:1-3
There have been numerous seasons when sharing my thoughts, ideas, desires and feelings have been difficult for me. Somewhere along the way I was made to feel guilty, crazy, embarrassed about what was in my mind and heart. So, instead of sharing I pushed these thoughts and feelings deep down inside.
As my hesitancy to ask for what I wanted increased, my desires did not decrease. This meant I had to get creative in getting what I wanted. One of these creative methods I employed was the idea I now call, Pork Barreling Desires.
Pork Barreling is a term used in our government. When lawmakers in our government add financial "bonuses" to laws for their local districts usually having nothing to do with the actual law. By piggybacking on others' desires we realize we can get what we want and avoid a potential conflict.
How does it play out in real life?
I love Chick-Fil-A, and I love the Spicey Chicken Sandwich. This desire used to come with a guilt about wanting something for myself. I felt I was being selfish. I also wanted to maintain a certain image to the world and to my wife so I couldn't come across as selfish.
Out of my own self-righteousness, I got creative. I knew she loved the vanilla milkshakes, and I knew if I offered to get her one she would not turn it down. I would go to to her, without disclosing my own desire, asking if she would like me to go get her a milkshake. She said yes, and I went.
Then, while I was at Chick-Fil-A getting my wife a milkshake, I went ahead and ordered that Spicey Chicken Sandwhich while I was there. I served my wife, and I got what I wanted. It all worked out well, right?
My actions looked clean, but my heart was tainted. I was attempting to maintain a certain image of myself and get what I wanted secretly. In writing this, it seems silly to think I behaved liked this.
What do I do now? I'm upfront and honest. I say, I'm heading to Chick-Fil-A to get some food. Would you like something while I am there? Easy and open. No confusion. No hiding desires. No facades.
What desires are you pork barreling at home? At work?
Here is the best content I found during the last week.
Best in Business
"Most people will walk a little further and pay a little more for a better experience and experience is intimately tied to the quality and authenticity of relationships. The good news about this is that work is more fulfilling AND more profitable when people come first. It is something so simple and yet so easy to forget."
Best in Learning
"What is this quest that kills so many of the monks? And what can you and I learn from it?"
Best in Science
"Recently, anthropologists set a world record when they isolated mitochondrial DNA from the 400,000-year-old femur of a Homo heidelbergensis specimen. The sequence of this DNA yielded a surprise for researchers when they discovered that it aligns more closely with that of the enigmatic Denisovans than with Neanderthal sequences. This latest work highlights the tentative nature of even the best ideas in human evolution."
When we have children we start to learn quickly how much the "how" matters. The other day David, our son, asked for orange juice. As I poured the orange juice (content) into the green cup (container) he very angrily expressed how I put it into the wrong cup and how he wanted it to be in the orange cup. He was unwilling to drink it out of the green cup.
I'm thinking, he asked for and is getting the orange juice why does it matter what color the cup is? To him, in that moment, the type of cup mattered more than the orange juice itself.
This is not so different than us.
Have you ever had a friend, boss or spouse tell you something about yourself that was hard to hear?
Were you so upset or hurt about how (Container) they said it you missed what (Content) they had to say?
Many of us have a hard time accepting the 'content' when how (container) it is shared offends us. In many cases, we respond emotionally as a gut reaction thinking later there was no truth to what they said because of how they said it.
So, what if we could learn to drink from a purple cup when purple is a color that disgusts us?
What if we could learn to grow when our spouse or friend says something that hits a nerve?
It's easier said then done and when it comes to the people we care about most it almost seems impossible. As difficult as it may seem, know when we make the commitment to embrace the 'what' regardless, within reason, of the 'how' we can become a catalyst for growth in our relationships.
For those of you sharing truth, criticism or feedback consider asking the recipient if and how they would like to receive it. When we do this, we setup a better environment for true reception and reflection. Being intentional about our 'how" minimizes the likelihood it becomes a distraction to "what" is really important.
Where are you too focused on the "how" and not enough on the "what"?
Here are my best findings during my last week of reading, listening and watching on-line content.
Best in Parenting
Best In Faith
"Faith isn’t a blind faith, but a response to the evidence. It is based on real events that can be investigated. A leap in the dark has never been the offer, as it is about stepping into the light."
Best In Science
"Indeed, Martin and Livio provide yet one more example of the evidence accumulating for the supernatural design of the solar system for the specific benefit of human beings and human civilization. Let’s thank God for the exquisite design of our solar system’s five belts of asteroids and comets that make it possible for us to exist."
Best In Marriage
"What makes a happy marriage? It’s an age-old question that all married couples are forced to grapple with, especially when wedded bliss evaporates. And it’s the very curiosity that author and researcher Shaunti Feldhahn explores in her recently released book, “The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages.” Feldhahn, who is in the midst of a multi-year research project about matrimony, has spent years collecting qualitative and quantitative information about what makes — and breaks — couples."
Best In Challenging
"This is frightening, because when you offer a menu, often people will get hung up on their status quo and just say "no." You can't get rejected when all you offer is an index, but getting your menu rejected is one of the symptoms that you're doing the hard work of making an impact."
Best In Art & Entertainment
(Hint, Hollywood has gotten lazy)
Best in Reality Check
A while back, I attended a networking event and ran into a great friend. As we observed the crowds at the networking event, it stimulated a conversation between the two of us about people and leadership.
If you have not heard the story of the crabs or the concept of 'crab mentality' here is a quick recap.
When you go fishing for crabs with a bucket, it is important to bring a lid for the first crab. The reason is, they will attempt to crawl out of the bucket and will most likely succeed. Once you catch a second crab, you no longer have to keep the crab covered because the other crabs in the bucket will keep each other from crawling out.
When we are in the bucket (situation, trouble, etc...) with others, we tend to pull each other down. I then thought about the idea of helping others out of the the bucket, so I asked, why when we try to help others out of the bucket do they tend to resist so heavily?
He put his hand out and asked me to put my hand out. He began pushing on my hand and I immediately, out of instinct, pushed right back. He then put his hand out again, face up. I put my hand out, he grabbed it and began to walk away. I immediately began to follow.These were very similar actions but resulted in two completely different responses.
When we push people to move forward, we establish resistance. If instead of pushing, we choose to open up, invite others and move forward, they are more likely to willingly follow.
In your life, who are you pushing? How will you transition to pulling?