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Eye to the North

"Out of the North He comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty." Job 37:22

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Life Lessons

Come Along with Me

Come Along With Me

Come Along With Me

I am teaching my daughter how to drive a car. She has her learner’s permit and knows the theory. She just needs to practice and to be exposed to different driving experiences. We don’t go out specifically to “learn to drive.” She drives us wherever we need to go. As much as she possibly can. When we are going to be encountering a new situation, I judge whether she is ready to handle it and decide if she will go ahead, if we will modify the route to avoid that situation, or if she will not drive this time. She is learning faster this way than she would if we tried to carve out time in our busy lives specifically for teaching her to drive. That doesn’t mean that we won’t need to go out to intentionally practice specific skills, such as parallel parking. Most of her education will occur in the course of our daily activities, and a few specific skills will be intentionally taught. Because my daughter is a girl who likes to know how things will happen, we discussed this learning strategy, the reasons behind it, and how I many other skills she has learned in the same manner. She learned to read by following along as I read to her. She learned to cook by baking with her grandmother.

As I thought about how I teach, I realized that I use the same strategies in relationships with others. I rarely go out with  a friend just to go out. When I want or need to do something, I will see if someone wants to come along. When I know I will be at the park for an hour waiting for a child to finish an activity, I try to find a friend to come with me. We visit while we enjoy a walk in the park. A trip to the grocery store can become an hour spent alone with my husband. The conversations we have while doing something are different than the ones we have across the table in a restaurant or coffee shop. Specifically planned dates are important as well, but I much prefer “Come along with me” moments. To bring people into your life and invite them to do what you love shows them that you want to be with them. When someone allows me into their space, into what they love with them, makes me feel more special and loved than when they take time away from their lives to be with me.

My spiritual life benefits from this philosophy as well. I try to bring my God with me wherever I go. I don’t spend time every day specifically praying or reading my Bible to hear what God wants from me. I see His glory around me as I drive into the sun. I thank Him for His protection as I cross the street. And I know how He wants me to live and respond to different situations because of the times that I do specifically sit down to learn about Him.

My life is not perfect. I don’t take enough time to concentrate specifically on my children or my husband. I have few friends. And I have to consciously make time for my parents, who find it more difficult to “Come along with me”. I think the principle is sound and encourage everyone to bring someone else along as much as possible to share their love and perhaps pass on a lesson at the same time.

Push by Permission

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I recently did a zip line tour in the hill canopies of Southern Montana. I didn’t do it because it is something that I have always wanted to do. I didn’t do it because I like moving quickly through the treetops. I did it because we were on a family vacation and the rest of the family was super excited about the opportunity. I was pretty sure this was a safe activity, so I decided to go with them.

The first thing the guides told us – even before they hooked us to a line strung across the sky at told us to let go of the pole and let the harness hold the weight – was that they had a “push by permission” policy. This means that if you get up on the platform and are having trouble convincing yourself to let go, they give you a gentle push to start you on your way. They don’t need to ask you for permission on the platform, because you give permission by coming on the tour.

We should have a push by permission policy in more areas of our lives How many times have you wanted to do something, go somewhere, or say something but just didn’t quite have the guts? What if there had been someone there – someone you trust – that had a push by permission policy? Someone who would have given you the little nudge that you needed to do, go, or say what you wanted to.

What does a Push by Permission policy look like?

First, you need to trust the person you are giving permission to push.. Lots of people are willing to push us in many directions, but they usually push in the direction they want to go, not the one that you want to go. A friend, a spouse, a lover, or a soulmate. You should have someone in your life that you trust to put their desires aside and do what is best for you.

Second, you need to let the person know that you trust them. You may not need to say the words “I trust you to give me a gentle push when I need it”, but it may not be a bad idea. There is much communication that happens without words, especially in a close relationship, but sometimes saying the words reinforces the message.

Third, you may have different people in different areas of your life whom you trust to give you a push. Doing what you want to do in your career may involve different people than those that will influence growth in your personal life. The more close friendships we have, the richer our lives are.

There are relationships that should intrinsically have the building blocks to develop this kind of trust. Family relationships – between spouses, siblings, or parent to child – are great places to find someone who can guide you to what is best for you. This family-type relationship may not come from your actual family. We have people who “is like a sister” to me.

What are the benefits of a Push by Permission policy?

Having a trusted friend is a benefit in itself. According to the Mayo Clinic (and many other sources) having good friends improves your life and your health. Good friends increase happiness, reduce stress, and are good for your heart. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860?pg=1

Stepping a little way outside your comfort zone gives you confidence. It makes it easier to do face new things and adjust to changes in your life. Stretching your experiences is much like exercising your body. In the same way that your  muscles get stronger when you use them, your creativity and adaptability grow when you challenge yourself.

For Christians, living as we should is often outside of our comfort zone. Mark 16:15 sates “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.'” Fortunately, we also have the family of Christians to help us and give us a gentle push in the right direction. 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 gives us the instructions “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

Look around and see where you have friends, family, coworkers, or acquaintances to whom you can give permission to give you a gentle push in the direction you know you should be going.

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