Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Keep-Your-Cool Boot Camp

Keep-Your-Cool Boot Camp, I'm calling it.

Two weeks ago I talked about how I'm seriously considering a new venture, one that will inevitably have me playing a bit of defense as I navigate the feedback, fears, and faultfinding that will come my way should I plunge head-long into... whatever this thing might become.

The action steps have been pretty simple so far: start drawing up a document outlining my personal mission, vision, and goals, begin meeting intentionally and strategically with people who may share an interest in my passion, and get to know the gay community in San Diego better than I do via volunteering at the LGBT Center, Pride, AIDS Walk, Dining Out for Life, etc...

All of which is just great. But my friend pointed out to me perhaps the one thing I should be most interested in at the moment, the thing that could be my biggest immediate hurdle, is my tendency to REACT.

Let's name it & claim it: "longsuffering" is not my bag of fruit. At least as it pertains to the general mass of humanity. When people don't navigate well (and that concept translates to many aspects of life: conversation, choices, driving...), my first reaction is to SAY SOMETHING. React. Spew forth my own wisdom - at least, as I perceive it.

I'm not naturally gifted with Jesus' ability to look out on a crowd of people and feel compassion. In all honestly, I'm probably more likely to say something along the lines of "Look at those crazy fools." Not so with an individual - you give me one person who is hurt, confused, broken, needy, ignorant, rebellious, angry... whatever, and I'll be fierce in my resolve to see him through. I can relate to the one. But to the many? Well... it's a challenge.

My friend knows this about me. Which is why he suggested I spend some serious time on my knees over the next few months asking God to prepare me to stand in the middle of a culture war where slings & arrows are being thrown from both sides. To temper my reactionary nature. To give me access to a deep well of patience & grace.

The opportunities to learn this lesson are LIMITLESS, I've found. The old adage seems to be true - if you ask God for patience, a big box of it isn't likely to fall into your lap. Rather, you'll be given moments that challenge, try, test you and give you an opportunity to learn to exhibit patience. One moment it's being stuck behind an inept driver. The next it's answering the phone to a rude comment about the quality of my company's website. Then it's being confronted with the reality of people who just aren't on the same page as you. That urge to yell "GET WITH THE PROGRAM!" is what I'm learning to surrender.

So I'm in Keep-Your-Cool Boot Camp. That's action step numero uno. The great thing is, I've experienced firsthand many times this year how keeping your cool can really change the direction of a conversation. It's a skill I truly want to develop. So, if you see me out of line, you're invited to remind me. I just ask for a little patience & grace and I try to learn a little... patience & grace.