Saturday, June 18, 2016

When the Weeds are Poison Ivy

A spur of the moment decision, I decided to join Bart in Roanoke last night and I'm sitting in a brand new Hampton Inn hotel room for a few hours before I join him for lunch. I'm excited to have this time alone. For some reason, hotel rooms have always been a place where I can get a lot done.

Have you ever heard the phrase "stay out of the weeds?" when it comes to Senior Leadership in an organization or a church? The idea is that you have to have a "balcony view" of things in order to plan well and make good decisions. If you get into the weeds, you get distracted and burdened, and you lose perspective.

Last night as I lay in this very comfortable hotel bed, I tossed and turned for hours, being awake from 2-5 a.m. as I pondered the many weeds of the organization where I am currently employed. You have seen on this blog that there is a lot of dysfunction here and the rumor mill and the gossip continues to be a huge issue and hurts people that I love. In fact, I'm guessing that my honeymoon is over and people are spending a lot of time discussing my weaknesses and "poor choices" over lunch. As I lay awake at 3 a.m. I realized that in dysfunctional organizations, there is poison ivy in the weeds.

How does this play itself out? Well, you leave your balcony and go deal with an issue and you find yourself wandering around in the weeds as you start to sort out how to best handle the crisis de jour. Sometimes you can take a walk and you don't run into this icky weed, but more often than not you come into contact with some poison ivy in the weeds.

Emotional poison ivy.

So, it sticks in your head. And just like physical poison ivy, you know you are supposed to leave it alone. You know you aren't supposed to scratch it, that you're supposed to ignore it, but it often screams out to you. So you obsess, you lay awake at night, you practice conversations in your head that you should have with people, and before you know it, poison ivy has taken over your mind. And at that point, being able to see the big picture and have hope for the future fades away and the weeds suck the life out of you.

OK, so I said you, but right now I'm talking about me.

But if you have been part of a dysfunctional family, church, or workplace, you know exactly what I'm talking about. When you focus on the weeds in that setting, they are poison ivy and they take over everything. And progress, hope, the future, good planning, good leading, good parenting, all become hampered by the fact that the poison ivy is driving you crazy.

So, other than staying out of the weeds, what is the calamine for emotional poison ivy? Prayer for sure. Having conversations with people who do not have poison ivy but who have in the past and can talk you through it. Sleeping pills. :-)

If you know what I'm talking about with this and would like to give me suggestions of how you deal with emotional poison ivy, my ears are wide open!

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