The Challenge of Balance, Character and Alignment

June 2022

We’ve all heard stories of how critical it is to have alignment among various moving parts in order to achieve success.

What comes to my mind is Apollo 13.

The crew only had a small window in the mathematically calculated grid to ‘slip back into the earth’s atmosphere’ after leaving the moon’s surface. But as we know, things changed drastically when they lost ½ of their oxygen necessary for the lunar landing as well as the return to earth. Immediately the number of variables increased in the already delicate balance of ‘moving parts’ in the equation. Their original calculations were made assuming a fully functioning spacecraft.

By God’s grace, and His gifting of some amazing people in Houston as well as on the Lunar module the crew slipped through the slot and returned safely. Had they not been able to re-calculate and align all the moving parts, they would have never made it back to earth.

Digging deeper into the reason for the success of the mission and the re-calculated plan, we must begin with the nature of the universe. If the energy, movement, and stability of the universe were not consistent and unchanging (other than it’s expanding nature), a trip to the moon (or maybe anywhere) would be impossible to plan and execute.

This issue of the consistent and unchanging nature of the universe and its laws allows us the freedom to live as we do without having to constantly make adjustments in order to survive, and when something does happen, we can depend on certain things to remain constant so that we can ‘re-calculate’ and align our response.

So, what does this have to do with us as leaders?

It seems that our role as leaders (in all the forms or functions that may take), and the challenges of planning a trip to the moon are quite similar – at least in concept.

We’re challenged daily with not just the possibility of something life changing happening, but the reality that something will happen (good or bad, large, or small) that causes us to have to make changes either in what we’re doing now or in the future. The challenge of re-calculating and aligning our ‘moving parts’ in order to be successful as leaders is a ‘giant’ we all have to deal with. We could all write out a list of things that have happened to us that we ‘never saw coming’ even on a weekly basis. These may be big or small, delightful or heart breaking. Lives can be at stake on a moment’s notice for us as well, maybe not in the immediate, but down the road if we don’t re-calculate and adjust now.

These interruptions may cause us to change our plans for a few hours, or our entire way of living overnight. (As if on que while trying to finish this paragraph, – I just got a text from a young friend whose family is in a true crisis, asking if I knew how to replace the mechanisms of a toilet, and if I could come help him figure it out. The toilet wasn’t the crisis. His father just had brain surgery yesterday and the situation doesn’t look good. The family is in a deep struggle and doesn’t need a broken toilet to deal with. I’m going.)

These are things that challenge our character and our ability to re-align in an instant in order to survive or help others survive. They depend a great deal on how much ‘margin’ we’ve built into our ‘soul space’. This is an aspect of our eternal perspective and determines whether or not we’re able to joyfully and with expectation make needed adjustments (or not).

We are innately aware of the possibility of interruption, and we spend a tremendous amount of intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical energy trying to maintain balance and alignment to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our employees safe and comfortable. Not to mention, being successful and making a profit.

The astronauts and scientists at NASA were very aware of the risks and potential issues and knew that if something did happen, there were certain characteristics or attributes built into the universe that don’t change and they were reliable to use them as cornerstones in calculating a new trajectory.

This knowledge set them free. Free to explore ideas and processes while at the same time giving them established boundaries that they knew they couldn’t challenge.

The existence of absolutes and truths that govern the universe is a testimony to the absolutes and truths that govern our lives and relationships because they are sourced in the same Heart. Gods’ nature and character not only govern the physical universe, but the relational universe as well. Remember, the Trinity has lived in perfect/joyful relationship since before the dawn of time. In the end, His love, mercy, and justice will prevail no matter what we say or do, but in the meantime, we have access to those same attributes as we navigate our lives and relationships now. The heart of the Trinity and the wisdom and practicality of scripture are the strongest unchanging attributes we have as resources to navigate life.

We are called to be conformed to the image of Christ (God) and that process will set us free from being controlled in a negative way by life and relationships here, while at the same time allowing us to demonstrate Gods love, mercy, and justice. Living in fear, or anxiety, or frustration (because of my schedule etc.) are results of my lack of understanding and being committed to the principle of being conformed to His image.

Into the Book

Well look at examples in scripture where Jesus and others lived out this eternal perspective of ‘leaving room’.

There are a lot of things that come to mind when thinking of the character of God as revealed in nature (Rom 1) and the scriptures (2 Tim 3) and we are called to specifically imitate most of them.

Here are three of them specifically revealed in Genesis 1 – 2.

Creativity –

The ability to see the way things are and to create something that solves a problem or need and at the same time nurtures and blesses people and creation itself.

This is what we as business leaders do so well.

Relationship –

The ability to communicate with and enjoy being close to others as we work together to create things and develop principles, practices and processes that make the world a safer and more enjoyable place.

This is a little more difficult for us to live out.

Rest –

God rested, so for goodness’ sake, why don’t we? Even our ‘rest’ is often so much work that we can’t wait to get back to the work that we were trying to escape from in the first place.

Rest sets us free. Free to recover, rejuvenate and rejoice.

Rest sets us free to examine our lives and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal where we should be creating ‘margin’ for Him, for our families, and friends, and for our employees.

One way to define conformity to the Image of God is what I’ve been calling alignment. Jesus’ way of living, along with the teaching of scripture, give us the guidelines we need to align our intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual energies with what God has revealed to us.

Our key ‘asset’ in this battle is the Spirit Himself. Jesus said that He will reveal truth and guide us in making decisions – that’s why He has come into our lives. But we have to intentionally engage Him early and often or we’ll drift off into ‘doing’ on our own. I often have to remind myself that not only is the Spirit aware of what I’m doing every hour but that He knows how to deal with it and wants to partner with me rather than just be an observer. He has the answers! How to trust the Father, how to choose wisely, and how to embrace the freedom and joy of that alignment and partnership.

We each face different ‘giants’ on a daily basis and the exact way we defeat them will be different, but it can’t be done without acknowledging the fact that God has given us the truths to rely on and the Holy Spirit to guide us. Jesus went away to rest and be with the Father often. These were times of re-alignment for Him.

Give it a try.

During our meeting on the 17th, we’ll take time to dig deeper into the reality of interruptions and how we can be more prepared to handle them biblically and challenge each other to rethink and re-adjust where needed.

This will be a powerful time of discovery and growth.

Into the Workplace

We’ll take what we learn into the work place and evaluate how well we handle change and interruption and see if we can help each other set a strategy that honors God and the people in our lives.