The challenge was simple enough but could not be completed without the full cooperation of everyone. Stepping back and observing, I realized the group had gotten themselves in worse of a tangled mess than when they began, all due to its members acting without thinking and failing to seek out the opinions and ideas of the other members. Finally, in a fit of frustration, one participant took vocal action and commanded the attention of all. She had been a quiet teammate prior to this moment, and while all others were flailing and moving about, her mind was engaged in a solution which involved calm, rational thinking and an element of momentary stillness.
As is usually the case, eventually, the team worked through what we in teambuilding call the “storming” phase of the challenge. During this phase, conflicting ideas, voices and solutions wrestle with each other to be heard and validated, each one becoming louder in order to drown out the others. Devaluing statements sometimes cut through the group in the frenzy of self imposed time limits for solving the challenge. Mistakes are made, egos are injured and ground is lost as participants vie for significance.
Most often, the person to carry the group through this process and into a normalizing phase is the member who has been the quiet thinker, hanging in the background and weighing the various pieces to the puzzle. I love watching this lone ranger emerge because they are rarely the most valued resource and are often overlooked as a voice of reason. Not until a group has exhausted their ideas and thrown up their arms in utter dismay at the lack of progress they have made, are they able to hear this wise voice.
The truth of this does not escape me in my own life when I recall times of challenges and difficulties which present themselves. Like many, I do not always handle these challenges well, and in my attempt to take control and figure things out as quickly as possible, the situation becomes more of a tangled mess than it started out to be. How often do you find yourself in the same situation, running around in a frenzy, ideas wrestling to be heard and stress rises quickly to the surface because attempts to fix the situation yourself are only making things worse. Before long, you lose sight of the goal, and find yourself in a stormy period, feeling defeated and perhaps very alone.
Yet, all along there is an all knowing voice in the background waiting for just the right moment to make His presence known.
He knows us well and is not surprised by the tangled mess we find ourselves in once again.
His understanding of our situation is profound.
He has taken into account all the pieces and how they will fit together.
But He waits…….knowing our tendency to be in control must play itself out in order for His words to be heard.
Then, when we feel exhausted in the fury of motion and throw our hands up in the air, wondering how things got so tangled, we turn and hear his gentle words of comfort and reassurance. He doesn’t condemn us, but there is a familiar urging in his tone. We realize we have heard these words before, and somehow in the midst of the situation, we forgot the significance of them. Knowing we need to hear the words again, he comes closer and commands our full attention, quieting our frenzy.
“If you will just be still, we can figure this out and get untangled.”
It’s then, we realize He has been there, next to us the entire time. Waiting.
And in that perfect moment of submission, we intertwine hands with His, still our tangled hearts……
We wait, knowing He has the answers when we don’t.
We wait, assured He alone can and will make sense of the mess when we can’t.
We wait, trusting He is in control, has it all figured out, and will indeed get us untangled.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)