When comfort doesn’t come

I struggle with being assertive.

Being nice? Having fun? Keeping things light and fluffy?

Welcome to my comfort zone or my discomfort zone, depending on the day.

Lysa TerKeurst says it best:

Having a comfort zone doesn’t mean you’re always comfortable.

I’m being stretched in this area at work. Accountability in the work place, especially for those of us in management positions, means holding meetings to discuss progress.

Guess who’s the bearer of bad news?

Yeah. Fun-loving Audra.

And most of the time it’s not terrible news. Managers are just trained to notice things that are not going well–and then come up with strategies for improvement.

I’ll be really honest with you. I have to pray a lot when receiving instruction and correction. When my thoughts are allowed to go off alone, I take it personally–and even my controlled thoughts find me vulnerable.

Receiving instruction with grace is always a choice I have to make.

This is one struggle that can send my emotions and relationships into a tailspin. One of my goals for next year is to deconstruct this area and come up with a battle plan.

IMG_1566For now, though, I’m sitting in a hard place. Things have gone wrong and all I can do is clean up the mess.

Can I give you some advice?

Don’t ignore warning signs.

Don’t put off conversations.

Pretending everything is okay, will be okay, can be okay is not helping.

Which brings me back to being assertive in the workplace…..

If management teaches you anything it’s how to conquer fear, especially when your fear pops up as a subject in a meeting about your personal performance.

Here’s what I’m learning as I face up to my insecurities about giving/receiving instruction and correction:

Dealing with a problem is always uncomfortable. Stop waiting for comfort to come along. It won’t.

Good friends are noticers

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6)

It’s hard to think of wounds being a sign of love.

But wouldn’t you rather a friend correct you, to notice and care about the decisions you are making?

This is a silly illustration, but it’s  a classic:

Having a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth all day, but no one tells you.

What’s the first thing you say?

Why didn’t you tell me?!?!?

Ouch moments are great tests of character.

Nothing says “there’s still room for growth” like your mistakes being noticed.

When facing an ouch moment, I have to battle three things: embarrassment, anger, and pride.

I have to filter all of these feelings–as well as who’s doing the noticing–before responding.

Please don’t read this and think I’m talking about rolling over and letting someone squash you like a bug.

Remember what the proverb said?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend.

Friends correct out of love. They are lovingly pointing out your mistakes–not rubbing it in your face or shaming  you in the process.

Friends are trying to help you.

If all of your friends are kissing your cheeks and telling you how awesome you are….well, read the rest of the proverb, okay?

In a healthy friendship, each person grows.

Here’s another proverb:

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17)

If I’m not careful, I can resent correction. My natural inclination is to believe that others are out to get me.

But that attitude is destructive, which is why I have to beat it down daily.

Meaningful friendships are worth more than gold.

We need to give our friends permission to notice things –even the not so great things.