I’ve had something spinning around in my head for the past two months. I went to a friend’s seminar on the Pacific Institute taught by Dr. Lou Tice here in the Pacific NW. One of the days in the seminar we were talking about “setting a new normal” in our mind, so that we might achieve the potential that God designed us to achieve.
It’s been rattling around up in here for some time now, and I’m beginning to like it. I find myself caught up in comparisons and competition with, well… myself.
I used to be a young youth pastor with really thin-skin for criticism and what felt like personal attacks on my character. Now I’m an old youth pastor with not so thin-skin, but still take criticism personally. Why do I get so side-lined by what people say of me, or about me, or to me in correction? I’m sure some people have good intentions. Not everyone can be that mean.
The skill I’m learning to integrate into my life is “creating hope for a new normal“. What I mean is this…
• I’m learning to stop all negative self-talk
One of the lessons in creating a new normal for me is stopping all bad-mouthing of my own character to myself. You know what I’m talking about… “dang, I’m a jerk when I do that,” or “What the heck was that?!”, or “I can’t believe I said that again, or acted like that, I’m so stupid.” This kind of talk does nothing for building a confident image of myself and doesn’t let me crawl out from under the rocks I pile on myself. Instead I’m learning to say, “That’s not like me” when I make mistakes, or “That’s more like me” when I am successful.
• I’m learning to fill my mind with optimism and hope
It’s a little bit more work, but creating a clear picture of the things I hope for in my ministry is helpful in creating a new normal. I used to always get the same results with people over conflict, or trying to find resolution because I didn’t make it a practice to picture the best mutual results in my mind before an encounter with someone. Now I’m beginning to picture how I’d like that relationship to resolve, and make my best effort to live into that picture. I have to take the other person’s free will into consideration, as always, but I find that I can lean toward optimism and hope rather than self-defeating images.
• I’m learning that I’m not the victim, I’m a leader
I am growing in my understanding that I can project professionalism and leadership onto others if I live like it on the inside. One of the most self-defeating pictures I lived with was being the victim and “letting others” take criticism of me. Now, people still have things to say, from their perspective, but I’m no longer the victim in the conversation. I own the parts I need to own, apologize if necessary, and deflect the parts I don’t need to own back into the conversation for more clarity. As a leader, I don’t blame anyone else, but speak up for the best possible mutual solution as an outcome.
In creating a Hope for a New Normal, I’ve learned to clearly picture the “what” that I want to achieve, and the “how” figures itself out.
What kind of hope for a new normal do you want in life? What things is God redeeming in you that were one way once, but through Christ are a new creation now? Live into it.