The Struggle is Kneel: Why Surrender is Hard [at it’s] Core (Part 1)

So lately, I’ve been pondering the challenges of juggling family, vocational, and liturgical responsibilities. After all, my greatest passion is helping marketplace leaders balance the sacred and secular while discovering their influence within their spiritual gift mix.

However, if I’m being straight-up honest, I’m finding this calling, at least in recent months, more difficult than I could have imagined. In fewer words, I could cite career adjustments and pandemic troubleshootings in 2020 as well as the Jubilee journey kickoff in 2021 as justifiable narratives. But this wouldn’t scratch the itch of what lies beneath – the insecurities in the closet, the anxieties swept under the rug, and the fears at bay yet preserved in toleration, just to name a few.

Perhaps time will eventually permit me to unpack this series in greater detail. For now, what I will say is as we hit new strides in an unsettling world, let’s not empower the past by assuming God can’t do a new thing in familiar settings.

For some of you, this is not a struggle, but to me, this can be tough. In fact, I would submit the wrestling, while worth it from a perseverance perspective, is ironic: As we grow through life, as we war through the ups and downs, so do our laundry lists grow of what we wish we could have done differently.

I look at 20-25 and I see a double-minded Christian meandering like a chicken with his head cut off. I look at 26-32, as one who aligned but took too much personally and could have been a more consistent leader. And now after years of counseling and spot-start ministerial assignments, I’m ready to get back into the game. The problem is my hands are tied primarily by what I can’t control…

…and that’s okay.

What’s not okay is the propensity I sometimes fall prey to: Defining relationships by emotional impressions.

By this, I’m referencing the practice of perceiving a person through the greatest internal reaction they’ve elicited be a single moment or repeated pattern. For instance, within a single connection, there may be nine positive interactions; however, if the tenth provokes a strong negative response (seen or unseen), we may taint the entire association to the point of withdrawal.

Again, the issue with this mindset ties to our natural minds. Without holy parameters and godly beliefs, we are almost always going to scale the magnitude of these moments incorrectly. Not to mention if we’re not sensitive to the Spirit to surrender at the point of awareness, that snowball is only going to get bigger.

As I’ve been asking myself…

…what will it take to fully surrender certain disappointments and discouragements?

If I’m waiting on divine intervention in the form of a burning bush, I’m not only likely going to miss opportunities to serve but also moments to show [and grow] up where overcoming can happen.

If this sounds blunt, know it comes as one pointing the finger at himself. Clearly, this is a habit I need to mature in as the first half of 2022 concludes.

Granted, I know I’m not alone and if anyone needs to hear this, I hope this prompts a boost for you to stay the course, forgive past offenses, and deflect the lies of the enemy. As much as we’re curious to know what deceptions other people are plagued by, especially as they pertain to us, dare to not hold your destiny hostage. Instead, find yourself in Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) and focus on the next best step.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

As C.S. Lewis once said…

ā€œGetting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.ā€

Stay tuned next time when I’ll take a deeper dive into how we can integrate surrender into our quiet times, fuse it with our curiosity, and apply it relationally. Until then, I pray Jeremiah 10:23 over you in the sense God guides you to His heart to direct your steps. In all you say and do, remember the way of man is not in himself but in acknowledging and knowing God. Why not draw near, be still, and be at peace as you lean into His highest?

Selah.

Cover photo creds: iStock

Bad Blood: The Struggle with Crusty Clients

So I’m slightly jaded as I type this. And forgive me, it’s been a rough week for this guy though on a Juby note, her health has been thriving of late. Let the record stand my perspective has not fully waned.

As for this post, the intent is not to vent but to gauge a social braintrust – to inquire your perceptions to fill in where mine may be off.

I don’t need to be so specific as to why I’m discouraged; however, I will say as long as I’ve been a professional, I’ve been a firm believer the client is not always right. In fact, I’ll just say it: For most customers I deal with, they are misinformed/uninformed, ill-equipped…or some variation either at the point of requesting assistance or at another within their contract journey. It’s not only one of the reasons why client care is so valuable..but also why I enjoy providing timely solutions, calibrating expectations, and championing concerns.

But every now and then, bad eggs come to town, sometimes out of leftfield…and ‘warpath’/smear-campaign you into the ground…all because their way was not ‘the’ way…at the end of the day. If only everyone could speak from a level head in the heat of a disagreement or blood boil (*sarcasm*).

*Sigh*

As a proud Client Success Manager, I take pride in what I do, ensuring clients understand the parameters behind the principles they’ve agreed to. After all, it’s one thing for companies to have products and processes; it’s even more for them to have principles and parameters to accommodate. True, the policing is not…how to do I say it…fun; however, it’s part of the job security and necessity to promote healthy workflow and streamline.

‘Tis why as an ‘air traffic controller’ of the client experience, as a ‘relationship manager’, I relish the opportunity to keep the big picture in mind as I maximize my reach in the moment…granted, it’s a delicate tightrope act requiring a daily assessment of goals, targets, and time-management tactics.

Yet, what can you do when the abusive bully persona hits your line, blows up your e-mail…and there’s no way out? Either you acquiesce to the client and dilute your company’s customer service philosophy or stand your ground communicating professionally to the tune of BBB threats and negative reviews. Hence, why in some situations, you just can’t win, try as you may be with reason, and why so many 5-star organizations carry 4-4.5 star averages on review-based platforms.

But back to my point: In fewer words, Iā€™m struggling to justify the ‘customer is always right’ rationale. For one thing, Selfridge never intended the phrase be taken literally. Yet, more importantly, if we abide by this motto, not only do we forfeit our ability to lead from empathy and react from fear but we also empower the most illogical expectation, minimizing our help from the hands on to the signed fine print behind it.

Again, these are raw thoughts I’m probing this week. I’m not citing any of this as gospel truth. Rather, I’m calling what resonates to the surface for the sake of unifying our mentality. In most that we do, regardless of our profession, we deal with many people through many interactions. And if there’s any shade of client care in your position, more power to you given the amount of misdirected pointed fingers can be overwhelming sometimes.

That said…

…this is where we must also see our opportunity to reflect the heart of service: To inspire direction, goodwill, and accountability into the voids we encounter.

Take it from one who has learned over time: Quality client care is not based in an ability to bend over backwards to appease but in a commitment to respond and listen in a way that bridges need with best practice.

The fact I don’t cater to out-of-bound demands does not, in any way, imply I don’t have the client’s best interest in mine. Because again, my goal, is to facilitate and foster success by outlining next best steps, making them known, and encouraging confidence into the customer’s decision-making. God at the core, that is the foundation I work on. God in my midst, that is the foundation I work in.

To the word curses of the week, consider the dust off my sandals…

…or out of my shoes in this case.

Selah.

Cover photo creds: PCC The High Road