Last week my boss arranged a time for us to get together to evaluate the last three months. He wanted to use this time to see where we both were in our working relationship, for us to have time to talk about some of the hard things and some of the good, easy things. This was a time to sit down during a non-confrontational time and share our hearts about the things that excited us and we knew were good. Those things that filled us with warm fuzzies, that brought a smile to our face, that made us sit back and say, “Oh wow, Jesus! This! This is why You have called us to this ministry. This is why You have us working shoulder-to-shoulder, rubbing elbows together every day. This is what You designed us to be as You work through us. This is Your body in action and it’s a beautiful thing.”
But also those things that made us sit back and say, “ouch!” The times we didn’t react or respond as we hoped the other would. Maybe it was our fault, maybe it was a mistake the other made, but those times when we wonder why on earth we’re in this battle together, we ponder if somehow along the line we made a mistake. Over the past few months we’ve had those hard things, those things that brought out a response from us that neither one wanted.
Jesus began speaking to my heart about a natural inclination, a way of being hard-wired if you will. Specifically the issue surrounded my lack of attention to detail. I am not shy about my lack of attention to detail. I talk about it. I make jokes about it. Yes, sometimes I revel in it. But I also make it an excuse.
“Oh! That’s a detail and I’m not a detail person.” As if that automatically gave me an out. In short, it doesn’t. Not being detail-oriented is my natural inclination, but it is not my excuse.
Now I can focus on details, I can. But it takes work, time, and a ton of effort and energy. Quite frankly, I can be rather lazy.
And so can you.
None of us want to be held responsible for the way we think we’re hard-wired. We want to use that as an excuse, a cop-out, an easy-out. We see it as an escape from negative consequences. But it just isn’t. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us:
“The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Our natural inclination is not always going to be right. It’s just not. It might be how we are wired by Jesus but it has been affected and infected by sin. When we realize this, and we realize how desperate we are for Jesus and His life living in and through us, perfecting us, it often brings conviction. When we staunchly hold to the thought of “this is how I’m made and I can’t (or won’t) change” we put ourselves in the place of God. That is a scary place to be.
So let’s chat a bit about a natural inclination. I mentioned one of mine was my lack of attention to detail. This can be both a positive and a negative. Used as a negative, things slip through the cracks, and the cracks keep getting wider. I fail to focus on a task because “oh look! That is more fun” and I’m off. I forget things if it isn’t right in front of me. I don’t completely do my job because some things need more detailed attention than I give it. All of these are negatives and they negatively affect not only my performance on the job, but they also negatively affect how others (in and out of leadership positions) view me and my gifts.
But lack of attention to detail can also be a positive, and we need people who are more Big-Picture People. Big Picture People do not get bogged down in the making of endless lists, and lists of their lists. They don’t focus so much on minute details that they don’t move, don’t accomplish anything. Big-Picture People are the movers and the shakers. These people make great leaders and designers.
Because they see the big picture, they see the end result from the planning stages. They design it, then they hand it to the detail, Small Picture People, who work out the details. In this process the Big Picture People serve to encourage the process, they ensure it is getting done and no one is bogged down in the minutiae.
And this is just one side of one natural inclination. There are positives and negatives to each one and to each side of each one. Jesus made us all so wonderfully unique and different so we blend together to do the work Jesus gave us to do. As we all rely on the life of Jesus and do the work He prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), keeping in mind all the while that He is the One doing the work through us as we live yielded to Him. We need to keep a few things in mind; we are different and different doesn’t always equal wrong. Jesus in me will look different than Jesus in you, because we are different, we have different likes/dislikes, talents, abilities, life stories and histories. But the same Jesus. We need to be held accountable but we also need grace to be extended. We need to remember;
Love Covers a Multitude of Sins (1 Peter 4:8)