Lessons Learned from an Exploding Band
I like to work out. I know most people don’t, but I actually enjoy it. I especially enjoy variety – walking, circuit training, Pilates, weights, kickboxing: anything to get the muscles working and the heart revving. After a workout, my mind is always clearer, and I feel stronger and have more energy!
I had a funny moment in the middle of a challenging Pilates band workout recently. While lying flat on my back, legs and arms outstretched with the middle of the band around the arches of my feet and the ends tightly in my hands, the band suddenly split in half. The middle of the band exploded into two pieces, swung around and snapped just over my face. I was quite surprised and shrieked accordingly!
Tension, when working correctly, can be an amazing strength-building aid. When it goes wrong, it can be dangerous! Stringed instruments are also examples of positive uses of tension. When the tension is right, they make beautiful music. When the tension is wrong, it can be painful to listen to.
There are also less tangible tensions that impact our lives and our leadership. One example is the tension between being careful and being careless. When I am operating from a careful place, I can be too concerned about what others think. I am tempted to do and be things I don’t really want to do or be in order to make others happy. My focus becomes pleasing others.
At the other end of the spectrum, I can be careless and unconcerned about the feelings of others. When in “careless” mode, my focus is on me, my wants and my needs without consideration for how my choices will impact others.
In the middle is the muscle building, beautiful music place; a place of “caring less.” In that place I care about others and I am authentically myself. I know my own values, identity, calling and so much more. I make choices that reflect kindness towards others and a clear sense of self. When others don’t approve, I can continue to be confident because I am not dependent on what others think of me. The only approval I need is God’s.
Too often, I get thrown off course and stuck because I care too much about what others think. My goals and dreams remain unrealized, and I stop growing. As my progress comes to a halt, so does the progress of those around me because stagnation is contagious!
Exercise bands need to be replaced or adjusted periodically to prevent humorous, but dangerous, moments. Musicians must frequently adjust the tension of their strings to keep their instruments in tune. And from time to time I need to evaluate the tension between being careful and being careless so that I can be more effective in my life and in my leadership.
What are some things I can do to remain in that balanced place of “caring less?”
1. Increase my awareness
How have your interactions been hurtful or negative to those around you? Where are the opinions of others swaying you more than they should? Where are you stuck in your life?
2. Remember who God is
He created the universe and continues to hold it altogether. He is concerned about my life right now. He is working things out for my best. I can trust Him. I don’t need to manipulate situations – just be obedient.
3. Focus on my identity in Christ
As a believer I am a forgiven daughter (son) of the King with royal privileges.
4. Stay in the Word
It will remind me of who God is and my identity in Him!
5. Ask for help
God knows where I struggle. He knows that keeping things in perfect tension is not something I can do on my own. I need Him – and He loves it when I need Him!
Even more than caring less I need to care more about what God thinks. When I allow Him to be my strength or the source of my beautiful music, I am at my best.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11-12 (MSG)
Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. Ephesians 5:10 (MSG)
How about you? Where are you struggling to maintain that tension between being careful and careless? How would your life or your leadership be more effective if you cared more about what God’s perspective was on your life and on your leadership?