So I called his coach and told him what was going on. No problems. Nothing to complain about. Just a move that we felt was best for the family. While disappointed he understood.
At the next swim meet a coach and friend from another team came up to me and said: "That's so hard on a coach when a family switches teams." I knew he was right. It happens to Pastors all the time.
It's not always springtime for planting in our lives. There is a normal, natural cycle of Fall which brings the harvest. Change is not abnormal but there are so many ways we mess it up. I think I've learned some (did you notice those words of uncertainty - "think" - "some") better ways to move forward in our lives.
I have found some ways to guard my heart when change comes, as it always does. These things help me, I think, live redemptively with others, especially when change comes over a disagreement. Too many people blow up relationships when it isn't necessary. These steps are helpful.
1. Speak the truth...
My call to the swim coach was difficult. I was not looking forward to it. His graciousness helped afterwards, and we remain friends to this day. He inquires how my son is swimming. I ask about his family. Our relationship has changed but there remains a positive connection.
I think another way to say that is "own your choice." Our culture loves to pass the buck of responsibility. Speak the truth. "I'm leaving because of......"
2. To the person(s) involved...
Cornerstone is going through the Book of Acts in worship right now. In chapter 4 the first persecution breaks out against the new church. It's significant that the persecution leads to prayer, not Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media has given us an electronic tongue. In the Bible, James talks about the power of the tongue:
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." (James 3:9-10)When we make a change in our lives and it involves leaving some people or a person, communication helps the change be redemptive instead of automatically destructive.
Triangulation with others about a 3rd person is neither Christian nor helpful. A good friend uses this phrase: "Stay in the room." Stay connected. Stay engaged in relationship even when a change is being chosen. It's redemptive that way. It honors the name of Jesus.
When we don't speak truth to the people involved and instead turn to electronic gossipping, the Kingdom is hurt. Jesus was clear that a main tool of His in evangelizing the world is the love shown between followers of Jesus (John 13). The way we talk about and care about other Christ-followers is a statement about the character of Jesus. It's really important.
3. With humility that you don't know everything
Departures sometimes occur because people don't realize that they don't know everything. Something happens - you liked a coach, a staff person, a co-worker - and that person is gone. Humility helps us remember that we don't have all the pieces to the puzzle and without those pieces we won't see the whole picture.
It's disappointing that in many cases the actions of the departing party discredits all the previous good they have accomplished. The first two steps help keep the good track record intact.
4. Don't take it personally
This is a recent lesson that has been freeing for my life. I have learned and continue to peel back the layers of the Q-TIP principle - Quit Taking It Personally. There is so much more to learn. It's an every day, every conversation destroyer of relationships. God continues to draw back the curtain, allowing me to see the far reaching impact of this disease.
Change happens. If you make a mistake that caused the change, learn from it but don't hold onto it.
This is a growing edge. You can read some of my blogging this summer as this lesson started to take hold in my life. (Q-TIP, Ego, In Touch with Reality, Endings & Beginnings). Henry Cloud's book Necessary Endings was very helpful. I continue to re-read my notes.
These steps have helped me guard my heart - when I apply them! Choosing not to follow any one of them puts a deadly seed in my heart that can poison every relationship around me. I've seen enough of that for a lifetime. Now it's time to change!