When our sons were young, some of their favorite storybooks were written in a “choose your own adventure” style. The story presented choices along the way and the choices determined the outcome of the adventure. In a way, they wrote their own story. The boys never tired of the fun of seeing how different choices lead to different experiences.
The storybook context has become real life for us in 2020/21 and in many ways decision-making has become anything but fun. The COVID pandemic brought on “decision fatigue” in all realms of work and life. Are you feeling it?
If you attend a church you have been affected by changes in the last eleven months. I coach pastors and for these women and men decision-making has been wearying for a number of reasons:
1) the speed by which they have to make the decision;
2) the knowledge that some will like it, and some won’t;
3) the implications of making the wrong decision; and
4) knowing the impact the decision may have on the lives of others.
Both our daughter-in-laws are frontline, health care workers. They feel the anxiety of facing more and frequent decisions about life and death issues, all the while adapting to protocols that can change on a daily basis and sometimes multiple times on the same day. As moms, even simple things like an invitation to a cousin’s birthday party now has ethical as well as scheduling implications.
Adaptive creativity is like the choices in the adventure book.
Church leaders I work with have chosen different ways of seeing the challenges in front of them. They asked new questions about church and culture:
1. Is the church really in decline, or is it the Western, Christendom, form of church life that is now less effective?
2. Does the trend of dwindling church attendance mean that people are less interested in God or that society and culture have stopped giving preference to Christian traditions and institutions?
3. Is the lack of culture support for Christians a threat to Christian witness or an opportunity to work together in ways that we didn’t have to do so before?
The answers lead to adaptive creativity that positioned many churches to have their best year ever for congregational connection, new converts, and financial prosperity.
I encourage you to coach yourself. Say out loud: “I have never been through this before. I am establishing a new pattern of thinking.” Saying this out loud alerts your brain that the uncertainty you’re facing is okay. It may feel silly to be talking to yourself out loud, but doing so gives you permission to adjust to the awkwardness and lean into the creativity of adapting.
Bob Jones is a recovering perfectionist who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks iced tea. My walls are adorned with our sons’ framed football jerseys, and my bookshelves, with soul food.
I write to grow hope, inspire people to be real, forge an authentic faith in Jesus, and discover their life purpose.
Please follow my writing at REVwords.com