Tag Archives: Hamlet

Is It Time for A Revision of Your Vision?

hamlet-i
Mel Gibson as Prince Hamlet

     As many of us have realized as we travel the road through life – especially if we’ve been on that road for any length of time – sometimes the road deviates and we find ourselves on a different path than we expected to be on. Sometimes we find ourselves on little bunny trails which end up leading right back to where we wandered off in the first place, and sometimes the road takes us someplace entirely new. The thing about that is we never know how it’s going to turn out. But you know what they say about the “road less taken”? Take it.

     Having said all that, some of you noticed that I didn’t post on Monday – which I normally do. And I was going to – I had no plans not to – until Sunday evening when I sat just listening for what the Lord might say to me for the new year and suddenly, there it was: “Cut the posts back to once a week.”

     “Really?” I wasn’t certain I’d heard right. “Is that really You, Lord?”

     “Yep. It’s really me.”

     I won’t verbatim the whole conversion but the gist is that God wants me working on a revision of a book I’ve written and, in the interest of complete honesty, I was trying to avoid that. Really trying. Hard. It’s going to be an epic task requiring lots of changes and rewriting and frankly, I just wanted to do something new.

     Have you ever gotten to the place where you’re just tired of working on something you’ve been working on for a long time and you just want to move on? Probably. We all have. But we learn endurance and all that – you know the drill.    

     However, I think (scratch that – I know) that the real reason I didn’t want to do any revision on the book was because I simply didn’t know what to do. I knew it needed some changes but, as I said to the Lord, “I got nothing.” And then He showed me something that changed everything.

     He said, “Look at the word.”

     Me: “What word? Your word?”

     “No, the word ‘revision’. You like taking words apart. Take it apart.”

     “Okay. Hmmm…root word: ‘vision’. ‘Re’ is a prefix meaning ‘do over’ – as in “review,” “restart,” “renew”. So… ‘revision’ means ‘do the vision over’?”

     “I’m going to give you a new vision for this book.” 

     And so it’s begun. I sat down on Monday, January 2nd, and worked on the book until after dark, trusting God for the new direction He wants to take it. The funny thing is, as I was listening and writing and listening, I realized that it was on January 2nd several years ago that I first received the idea for this book.

     What are the odds?

     However, even though I’m working on a book that I thought was finished, I might still have had time to post twice a week – except that, in addition to the book, I’ll be working on another assignment. I have a friend to whom, many years ago, God had given a vision for a type of ministry but, in the years since, she’s  not had time to implement it. As a result, her vision ended up “on the shelf” as so many of our visions often do. Yet it was just this past weekend when she had a sudden revelation that, after all these years, it’s now “go” time for that vision to come to life. The fun thing is that I get to be a part of it – but it will take time.

     Sometimes, a new year brings a new season. And, as with all new seasons, things change. For me, because posting on both Mondays and Thursdays takes several hours a week which I won’t have anymore, I’ll now be posting on Thursdays exclusively until – well, until I’m told otherwise. And in the meantime, I’ll be listening for any shift in the wind.

     I’m reminded of a scene from one of my favorite plays, Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In it, Hamlet’s best friend, Horatio, tells Hamlet that if he feels he should not do something, then he should follow his instincts. But Hamlet admonishes Horatio that he’ll do no such thing because God controls everything, even “’the fall of a sparrow’”. If something is supposed to happen now, Hamlet says, it will and if it’s supposed to happen later, then it won’t happen now. (Act V, scene ii)

     What about your vision? Is the Lord saying something to you for this year about reviving it, revising it or even about moving on to a whole new vision?

     As Prince Hamlet once said, “’The readiness is all.’”

 

 

 

 

   

Critical Thinking.

shakespeare-hamlet-cropped“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt said those words decades ago in the face of the great criticism faced by any First Lady. No one knows who said it but it’s true: “Everyone’s a critic.” And as we’re all painfully aware, criticism will come. Even if it’s constructive criticism, given gently, it can still hurt. Why? Because sometimes we’re faced with the realization that maybe our best isn’t good enough. Even so, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Don’t give it.

What does it mean to give your consent? It means that you’re agreeing that you’re inferior. But here’s the truth: you are not inferior. What you have done or created may not be the best that’s ever been done or created, but what you do is not who you are.

Our worth is not based on what we can or cannot do.

Recently, I had some work critiqued and found it needed some major changes. That rocked my world because I’d put so much into it. So I went through the grief stage. Really?? (you’re thinking) Over that?? Yep, really – as with anything you put your heart and soul into: a song, a painting, a relationship, a job, a business. When you do the best you can do and the reviews aren’t stellar, it can trigger the inferior thing. The thing is not to get stuck there. As we seek to pursue our visions, we’re going to face criticism – some valid and some not. So how do we handle it?

Thing One: We need to take a little time and just breathe – get some perspective. Sometimes criticism is like a sucker punch: it’s unexpected and can leave us out of breath. But we can’t get stuck there; we can’t suffocate. We need to move onto the next stage.

Thing Two: We need to evaluate the criticism: is it valid or is it not? It may not be. If it’s not, move on. If it is, how much of it is valid? Once we get a handle on that – and we may need help doing that – then we have a choice to make. Are we going to reject the valid criticism and then stay stuck where we are? Because that’s a forever proposition. Or, are we going to move onto the next thing?

Thing Three: Admit that we need to change, adjust, improve. I always tell my kids that, in order to be grateful in hard times, it helps to look at those who aren’t as fortunate as you are and then to humble yourself and count your blessings. However, when we’re looking to process criticism, we can’t focus on who (we think) we’re better than just to make ourselves feel better. Rather, we have to focus on those who have achieved what we aspire to be, and we need to start asking questions. How did they get where they are? How do they deal with criticism? How do they keep motivated? And what, specifically, do they do that you don’t yet know how to do? Think of it this way: two year olds can’t do what ten year olds can do – but does that mean they never will? Just because we can’t do something now doesn’t mean we’ll never be able to do that thing.

We need to remind ourselves constantly that we are not what we do. That means that when what we do crashes and burns, who we are will not crash and burn with it. I’m a teacher but someday I won’t be. If I think I am what I do, I’ll never have the courage to retire and not be a teacher anymore – and that means I’ll never move onto the next chapter in my life.

We are not what we do. I have that written on a couple of post-it notes placed in strategic places because remembering that gives me the courage to keep on trying, to take a risk and to put my writing out there again. And again. And however many times it takes. Because what is life without risk?

Over.