Feedback and Input


I think I've learned one of the keys of life. 
This is likely just a momentary revelation. 
I'll probably return to my previous state in a matter of moments.
So I'm going to write this all down now.
And then I can refer to it tomorrow. 

The key: It's all input. It's all information. Everything. Every interaction. Every experience. Every bit of feedback. It's just information. 

Nothing in the whole wide world needs to be taken personally. 

Why on earth was I taking everything so personally? 

Earlier this week I got to have a cup of coffee and a conversation with some of the retired pastors from our synod. A kind, thoughtful bunch. Each with a unique perspective. They shared thoughts and stories. Concerns and feedback. We laughed. And at points, I got misty-eyed. Mostly because I had the privilege of spending time with leaders of such vast experience. It was humbling. I was reminded of how little I know and how much I love to listen and laugh with people who know more than me. 

I think there was a point in my vocational journey..perhaps not too long ago..yesterday I think..when I would have walked away feeling threatened and defensive. By their suggestions. By their vast experience. By their knowledge.

But for some reason, some switch has been flipped. 

And maybe it's only temporary. But I will savor it for all its worth. 

Suddenly, for no reason at all, I recognize that feeling threatened and defensive serves no purpose. It doesn't help anything. Taking things personally. Rejecting feedback. Discrediting people. It's purposeless. 

I'm not sure if everyone has good intentions or not. 

But I think a lot of people do. 

So whether I only remain in this state for a short time...or perhaps it lasts forever (highly unlikely)...I'm thankful.

I'm so utterly, eternally thankful for these few moments when I realized that life isn't a competition. That I have nothing to prove. I have absolutely, positively nothing to prove. That we're all on the same team. That even if I excel at nothing, I still matter and have value. That life is about learning...especially learning from people who have experience. That I'll grow a lot by hearing the opinions of other people. That while I don't have to act on every suggestion, I will learn a lot and heal a lot JUST BY LISTENING. 

I don't know it all.
I don't know a lot.
I know very, very little. 
A speck upon a speck upon a speck. 
And it's okay!

And the only way I'm ever going to truly grow and learn is by admitting how little I know and how ready I am to absorb the tiny slivers of wisdom I encounter each day.

God of grace, thank you for this brief moment when all I wanted was more opportunities to learn. 
Thank you for this brief moment when I saw all of life as information and experience. 
Thank you for this brief moment when my defenses were down and my heart was open. 
Thank you for this day of days when the Holy Spirit was so radiantly shining through everything and everyone. 
Remind me of this. 
 Please, oh please, don't let me forget.

1 comment:

  1. Phenomenal, Em! And your face in the picture says it almost as well as your words.

    I'm privileged to call one of your day's companions my friend, and you're absolutely right about his caring wisdom.