It’s a conundrum…we want a sense of well-being, but naturally (for most of us) resist accountability. I witnessed a perfect picture of this antipathy just this morning.
I was sitting in church taking Papa responsibilities for my 7 and 4 year old male grandchildren. Nathaniel, the 7 y.o., has a quieter personality, somewhat reflective and tends towards compliance. James, on the other hand, to misquote Bill Cosby, came out of his mother with running cleats on his feet, a cigar in his mouth and a crown on his head…at a mocking slant.
I was standing in the pew with the boys on either side. We were singing a song about how great God is and how confident and secure we can feel, simply because of Who He is and the relationship we have with Him.
I had my left arm hanging down and draped over Nathaniel’s shoulder, kind of patting him lightly on his chest in time with the music. It felt sorta good. So, I reached my right arm down a little lower this time, and started to put my arm around James’ shoulder. I didn’t even try to pull him close.
His reaction was immediate. He neither needed nor wanted that kind of attention. He was independent and wanted to be sure there was no misunderstanding. It hadn’t been that long since I was refusing to allow him to put his feet on the seat in front of him and he wasn’t satisfied until my right arm was no longer infringing on his sovereignty.
Just a few minutes later, we were seated…Nathaniel sitting comfortably in the crook of my left arm and James trying to pretend he was there by himself. Suddenly, something rather miraculous happened. I know, I know…in church, even…right?
Anyway, I suddenly felt some pressure on my right side and realized James was actually insinuating himself into my space. I did the natural Papa thing…I nonchalantly draped my right arm over the back of the seat and James casually leaned in against my side. My arm just naturally found itself sliding off the back of the seat and folding around him.
And it didn’t stop there. He then leaned to his left and laid claim to my lap. I began to wonder if someone had switched kids while I had my eyes closed. But when he started squirming, sticking his fingers into all the holes and pockets in the back of the seat in front of us and draping down toward the floor I realized I still had the right boy.
But he was in my lap! Of his own accord, yet! Quite astonishing…and absolutely gratifying to me. And obviously satisfying to him.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I was getting a very personal object lesson in terms of my relationship with God and with other people in my life, both in terms of personal relationships and those of a more professional nature. So, I started thinking. And that brings up another question to my ADHD mind. How is it possible to be listening to a sermon and still be thinking on this kind of tangent?
Anyway, here’s a few thoughts that seemed significant to me. How about you?
We all have blind spots. Even when we don’t recognize it, we have a need for someone to be looking over our shoulder, sharing their insight and strength for our benefit. Why do we resist it so much?
I have a client who believes so strongly that he is both omniscient (has all knowledge) and invincible, it has led to him keeping all his staff at arms’ length, becoming very angry when he perceives anyone is offering even a difference of opinion or additional option. Bazerman and Tenbrunsel have suggested there is a direct correlation in our ability to identify our blind spots and our ability to experience satisfaction with our world.
It really is satisfying to sense security. Many of us, when we hear security, tend to gravitate to thinking about money. But that’s really a minor thing by comparison.
Whether it’s in our relationship with God, with friends and family or with a mentor or coach, there is security in knowing, in the language of NCIS, someone’s got our 6. All of a sudden realizing we are more isolated than we knew or that we have risk we can’t handle is a common theme expressed by people reaching out for help from the Divine or from human aides.
All of us need someone…and Someone. This relates back to #1. All of us need to be personally in relationship with the Almighty. But we all also need to have a team of people around us to keep us focused and accountable. I currently have five or six such individuals for different areas of my life and work. Some are paid (by me). Some are not.
I know as I reflect on my experience today there will be other lessons to learn. Can you think of any? If so, please respond and share them. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, please sign up. And please share it with as many people as you can in as many different ways that you can.
Thank you for reading.