Fight or Flight: two basic responses to stress.
Which did you choose January 6th?
To be honest, I don’t usually choose to fight or run away. I freeze. Very mature. I’m working on me though.
I woke up feeling like I don’t want to fight, don’t want to flee, don’t want to be stuck either. I do feel the need to face “it”. [For the record, I’m not going into the “it” because “it” is different for all of us.] There’s a rumbling for vulnerability in this country. And we need to address it, one by one, for the good of the whole.
Our country is a mess. I believe there’s a calling out there for you and me right now. We don’t need a new leader to fix it. You, me, we can all be leaders in our families, our circles for change. I need you. You need me. WE need to work side by side, extending Grace to each other while we respond to the call.
So, how do we do it?
Rather than fighting or running away or freezing:
1. FACE it.
Are you angry, hurt, sad? With the Church? Racism? Trump? Biden? Covid-19? the mask? White people? Karens? Fox News? CNN? God? WHO? WHY?
Ask God to untangle the mess inside. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
While you’ve got God working in there, ask Him to show you all the gifts you have too (you’ll be needing those).
2. SIT with it.
Push past the anger to the real feeling: Is it fear? Fear of the Unknown? Do you feel exposed? Uncertain? Vulnerable? Guilty? Dumb? Territorial? Wrong? Shameful?
SIT WITH IT.
Isaiah 30:15 says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” There is strength to be found in stillness.
While you’re sitting with all the things; invite Jesus in please.
“Come Lord Jesus” – you say the word and He will be there beside you.
To have the powerful companionship of God – your God who knows tears and injustice and isolation and hurt- while sitting with all of the stuff makes all the difference. Inviting a holy presence into the process will transform you. Promise.
3. NAME it.
There are three strategies that I’ve seen work to transform always knowing into always learning.
1. Name the issue. It’s a tough conversation, but clear is kind: I’d like for you to work on your curiosity and critical thinking skills. You’re often quick with answers, which can be helpful, but not as helpful as having the right questions, which is how you’ll grow as a leader. We can work together on this.
Knowers often have a lot of people talking behind their backs, and that’s unkind.
2. Make learning “curiosity skills” a priority. Some people may be perceived as naturally curious, and others need to be taught how to be more curious. Don’t assume people aren’t curious because they don’t care. They may not know how to be curious.
3. Acknowledge and reward great questions and instances of “I don’t know, but I’d like to find out” as daring leadership behaviors. The big shift here is from wanting to “be right” to wanting to “get it right.”
We define grounded confidence as curiosity + the willingness to rumble with vulnerability + practice. While armor is our greatest barrier to being brave, grounded confidence is the heart of daring leadership.*Adapted from Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts (2018)
Look. You, me, we BELONG here right now. God put us here today and so we will be equipped for the work ahead.
I, for one (while slightly terrified) am also excited to think that if I do the work well, I can bring some change to this world. What fills me even more hope is the idea that you are here at the same time! And if we do the work well TOGETHER – WOW!
Let’s be terrified and excited TOGETHER! WE are here for a purpose. You are meant to be here. Don’t throw your story away in anger or violence or stereotypes, we are worth much more than that.