Organize your attitude #16
The tagline I repeat over and over again in Work the Plan is
Work the plan.
Roll with the punches.
Do the right next thing.
What does it mean to roll with the punches?
Here is what my dictionary tells me:
- (of a boxer) move one’s body away from an opponent’s blows so as to lessen the impact.
- adapt oneself to adverse circumstances.
The first meaning provides us a striking image, a metaphor we can conjure in our imaginations as our circumstances change unexpectedly – even if the unexpected is only a breakfast mess or a toddler’s lost shoe.
Too often, I think, we hold on to or run to organization efforts in order to avoid adverse circumstances. But no matter what we do, we are not promised an easy life. We can’t find the perfect routine or perfect system and suddenly have all of life roll on smoothly.
Even if we did make that happen, it would probably be at the expense of doing anything meaningful in the world.
That’s not what we’re about. We’re about growing our people, reaching out to others, serving however we are being called to do so here and now.
Rough patches will come with that. We will not always get our way and we will be tempted to pitch a fit just like a two-year-old.
Instead, we can choose to roll with the punches.
Adverse conditions or difficult circumstances are not punishments or judgments, they are exercises given us to build our strength. So we can take the posture of the boxer and do what’s being asked of us as those conditions arise – do the right next thing.
Don’t take things personally, just roll with the punches.
Don’t freak out, just take care of whatever is in front of you.
While “doing the right next thing” is about our actions, “roll with the punches” is about our attitude – we can calmly roll with it, handle it, take care of it without panicking or exploding.
What we’re rolling away from is outbursts. We see the temptation coming at us from the one side to get angry, and we dodge it by choosing to speak kindly. We see the temptation coming at us to be anxious, and we evade it by changing our thoughts.
Punches aimed at our hearts and minds look like difficult circumstances, but the real danger is our impulse toward sinful reactions in those circumstances. However, it’s very possible that exact situation occurred so that we could practice overcoming our pet sins.
So we can, while we’re doing the right next thing and taking care of business, also take a deep breath and keep centered on what’s important: our sanctification, bringing glory to God in all we do, no matter what situations we find ourselves in.