Historically, I've been the one with big ideas, future visions, and a lack of details on the immediate. Battered by the tough realities of life after moving to Atlanta, I was pushed to reminisce about the past and fantasize about the future as a way to survive. During these past seasons, I spent too much time not actually making meaningful progress. I lived in "the dream world", to pull in a Matrix reference. Futuristic, I never expected to struggle with having a larger picture perspective.
I've now found myself a bit short-sighted, now focused on the what's in front of me. As part of going through the Leaders Lyceum development program, we're expected to discover a GO (Growth Objective
) statement. To help us discover this word smithed sentence, we leverage a thinking tool (Growth Gap Chart
) created by the Lyceum. In working through the steps in my first session
, I ended up with my first GO Statement.
"Consistently Spend Meaningful Time With My Kids Weekly."
As I mentioned in my previous post
, there were problems with this statement, at least in regards to its specificity. It limited the strength for applying it to the various areas (faith, family, community, & work
) of my life. So, Keith (founded of the Leaders Lyceum
) and I scheduled a time to review it as a follow-up to the second leadership session.
Emotional Heavy Lifting For Better Personal Strength
In our call, Keith worked through my steps of the Growth Gap Chart to see if I had set the foundation properly (You can read about it, here
). Satisfied with what he found, we turned our focus toward the statement itself to help understand exactly what I was attempting to accomplish.
As we discussed, I realized I currently struggled to sustain the type of relationship I want with my kids, but also with other members of my family. Since we moved to Atlanta in 2005, it created space among my two sisters, parents, and myself. We were spread across three states and maintaining a relationship across distances with them and other friends is extremely challenging. As a result of discussing this tension further, we came up with a makeshift GO Statement to assess where I was, but would also apply to these other areas of my life. Here is Keith's comment of how he perceived my GO Statement.
"Over the next year, I want to be better at prioritizing important commitments & not be held in place by submitting to the necessary."
Interesting. We were making progress, but there was something off about this message. It wasn't that I wanted to be better at prioritizing important commitments it was more about putting time into relationships I cared about. Also, I didn't think the necessary aspects of life were holding me back to the degree the statement made it seem. They do contribute to the pace at which I can move, but it wasn't stopping me. We dug deeper to get to the core of what mattered most. Keith worked up another suggestion for me to consider.
"Doing what I want for others, and not be held back by what I want for myself (my personal agenda)."
That hit me right in the heart, and I quickly became emotional as thoughts and feelings flooded over me. We hit an emotional pocket in my heart that needed a release, and while it was hard to process, it felt good to do so.
A series of thoughts came to mind as we continued discussing. I've helped a lot of people only to be discarded and unappreciated for how I've contributed. I have lived out this statement and by doing so, I got hurt. Bringing this message to the forefront now brought me back to those moments.
When I think about the moments in my past where I was the angriest, it was when I went above and beyond for someone else and not only did they ignore and not appreciate it, they verbally railed on me for not perfectly meeting their standard. And, then they proceeded to direct me to go even further for missing the mark. They leveraged my guilt of inadequacy to get me to give them what they wanted. But, I could give them everything, and it was never enough. On the flip-side, there have been many times I've hurt other people when I put my personal agenda above what I wanted for others, and I can think of countless relationships where this played out.
At the end of the day, I've been hurt, and I've gotten hurt.
And, I found myself attempting to change who I am, which is hard on its own accord. At the same time, I'm also striving to break generation patterns (control & compliance) from my parents and their parents. It seems impossible to change the trajectory of a family and not simply repeat generation sins. When we add in marriage, we now bring a whole new competing and strong dynamic of our spouse and their generation patterns. To change in the midst of these very strong currents is no easy task.
So, now I'm facing this new go statement that puts up a mirror of past hurts received, wounds given, and challenges faced. Most people would probably rather avoid this mirror, run away from it or get rid of it. Most people would include me. Can I just heal without the painful process of healing
What Does It Mean To Sacrifice Ourselves?
After my call with Keith concluded, I wrote down another statement, because following my new GO Statement from above could cause me to get hurt again.
"Am I willing to choose to lose (or give) for the benefit of others, even in the situations where I have nothing to gain or when it costs me greatly?"
That's a hard question to answer, and one none of us hopes we have to actually live out in any significant way. It's one thing to sacrifice when we've never actually experienced that cost. But, when we've done it and it's cost us dearly, the wound is fresh. Will we do it again knowing how much it hurts? I don't have an answer, but I work towards getting to a yes.
Responding To A New GO Statement
In regards my new GO statement, it feels like progress, but I still think it's lacking and needs further refinement. Instead of putting the tension of what I want for others and what I want for myself against each other, maybe it's more appropriate to learn how I can healthily manage and live in this unresolvable tension. When I think of this, the following statement from Jesus comes to mind.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these."
The second command is geared towards managing this tension of those around us and ourself. It was several years ago where the "yourself" part stuck out to me. We can't love people if we don't love ourselves. We can't truly justify loving ourselves, in light of how we've hurt others until we embrace how God has chosen to love us regardless. In fact, it's his story of choosing to love us at great cost to him, even when we have nothing to offer him back, that is so compelling. He does this while we act out in defiance against him. So this balance of tension between loving others and loving ourselves seems balanced by God's love, the third piece of the puzzle.
There Is More Work Remaining
Well, it looks like I've got more work to do. Stay tuned as I continue writing about my journey through the Leaders Lyceum personal development program.