The end of one year and the beginning of another is a momentous time. It always feels like the perfect time to gain…momentum.
Brighten A Corner Ministry and my life are so entwined that what affects one affects the other; lessons learned in one are almost always equally applicable in the other. As I enter the new year in ministry and in life I am pondering the quote: “If it matters you make the time. If it doesn’t you make excuses”– A Holy Experience. Figuring out what matters has been a vital part of Brighten A Corner over the years, and continues to be a personal pursuit for me. So, as the year ends, here is the BAC list of top ten lessons, mostly from this past year. These lessons will become a disciplined part of 2012:
- Clear communication is extremely difficult and very rare. Over and over again I have learned this lesson. I have discovered that sometimes my brain shuts off before I have the whole picture. Often the “shut off” happens because of stress. One piece of information that I don’t like, and my mind closes to the rest of the information.In case you were wondering, this is not a particularly productive habit. I am working on changing that about me AND remembering that people don’t read my mind. Or think like me. Thank goodness.
- Appreciation is a priority. Thank you’s are not as frequent as they should be. This coming year I want to stop looking at thank you notes as ancient relics. Thank you notes will give me the opportunity both to say thank you and communicate clearly. It is a win-win plan.
- On purpose is not important, it is imperative. Life is incredibly busy with moments of complicated craziness. If the things that really matter are not taken care of on purpose, I need to accept the fact that they will likely either not get done or not get done well.
- The dread is often worse than the doing. For example, I am not a great phone caller. I come up with a million reasons in my head not to make the calls, convincing myself that many other things are more important. But the dread always nags me like a little voice in my head. The dread is draining. This coming year I want to pay more attention to those things I dread, and develop the discipline to get them done right away. (Maybe I will actually start exercising.) Okay, Nike…I get it…Just Do It.
- Acquiring debt is not helpful. We came up short in fundraising a few projects ago. We finished the work we wanted to be done by borrowing money from a BAC supporter. This choice held us back for the last year. We learned a tremendous amount from that mistake, and it has helped refine us for a stronger future. However, the lesson stands firm.
- The most effective way to get what you need is to figure out exactly what the need is and ask people directly and kindly to help. First this requires that I (we) must admit that I need someone else. Done. I have let go of the concept that “doing it all” is to be commended. Mostly it is exhausting. It also means I have to graciously accept the answer if it is, “no.”
- Apologies are rare. I have started to really pay attention to this one. People rarely say, “I’m sorry.” Perhaps it is only in my world that this is a reality, but I seem to have relationships with several people who are not ready apologizers. This has helped me to realize that I would like to be a person who willingly apologizes for my mistakes or when I am wrong.Unfortunately that means I need to a.) realize when I am wrong and b.) admit it. This one may be difficult.
- The team makes all the difference. I have a good friend who used to say that your life in 5 years will be a direct result of the books you read and the people you hang out with. The ministry has only grown because of the team that makes it happen. We have added people with far more skills to the mix, and they have become precious and dear friends. I have also been reading lots more…because as much as I love my life there are certain aspects of it I want to be different in 5 years. If my life in 5 years is a reflection of the books that I read and the people I hang out with today, I want to make sure to stack the odds in my favor.
- Being organized really does make things go more smoothly. Whatever. Wishful thinking.
- Gratitude is always the best place to start. Being grateful to God, and grateful to each other is truly vital in seeing where we are starting any endeavor.
So, as we start the endeavor of 2012, a new project and our first ever BAC thrown fund raiser, we begin with gratitude. Thankful to God for all he has done for us, and thankful to you for being a part of the journey…won’t you join us this year? Put January 25-29 and April 28 on your calendar. WE NEED YOU!