I don’t really have intentions of writing more about failure, but I like to write about things honestly. The most recent item I felt I was learning from was the area of professional development that I wrote about in the second entry of this journey.
I mentioned the need to recenter myself around some of the core values of our organization. One of those value is the idea of Passion for God (I wrote about it here). Part of this is seen in our willingness and commitment to make sure we are LISTENING — listening to what God is trying to show us.
Now, this shows up as relevant here in two ways. One of them is that we would live and work in a way that has space to hear God’s voice. In this, I utterly failed in my first semester of sabbatical. In what I believe was an attempt to make up for lost “COVID time,” I scheduled all sorts of trips that had been on my to-do list for a couple years. This meant that I was on the road way more than I wanted to be. It’s pretty hard to have a posture of listening when you are constantly on the go.
The second way this shows up is to make sure we are spiritually alert and fully present in the situations we find ourselves in, despite the circumstances. In this, I have found more success. I have encountered lots of conversations where people have been trying to tell me things I need to hear — about my leadership or our organization. I feel like God has helped me to be aware of these conversations and be able to quiet my mind and receive what was being said. Most of these conversations have not been easy. I have heard about how I have hurt others or failed some. This is a part of life, but hearing these stories with grace and a desire to get better is what this idea of listening is all about. For those brave folks who have been willing to talk to me, I am grateful, for God has spoken through them.
So what about the failure? Well, ultimately, that is an easy fix, as long as I can stay disciplined and committed to saying no to all the “extras” that come my way. At this point, I have seven and a half weeks in 2022 that are purely at home with no traveling scheduled. Let’s keep it that way, so I can do an ever better job at listening.