Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Groundhog Day and Dysfunctional Systems

It was very appropriate that yesterday was Groundhog day, because the dysfunctional system reared it's ugly head around here for a couple days.    Details don't matter.   I can sum it up by saying that I broke a couple of my guidelines and it sent people into a tailspin, and several folks headed back to their corners of comfort, scrambling to decrease their own anxiety.  They started asking, "What is best for me and how can I get it... fast."   They talked to each other, they talked to their boss, he talked to me, I talked to my peers..... Dysfunctional System Freakout!   Anxiety was high, trust was low, and I was so discouraged.   I didn't see it as a system issue.... just felt like I was a complete failure.  I didn't sleep well at all on Monday night.

And then I woke up on Tuesday morning, February 2nd, and realized that it was Groundhog Day.  I started thinking about the movie.  You've seen it, right?   If you haven't you HAVE to see this movie!  It is one of my all time favorites.  You can rent it for $2.99 on iTunes or probably buy it for that used on eBay.  But I digress.

In the movie, Bill Murray plays a meteorologist, Phil, who goes to cover a story on Groundhog Day.   When he wakes up the following morning, it is still Groundhog Day.   In fact, he is reliving the day but nobody else is.

If you have seen it, you see the beauty of the second chance.  You see how the main character, when he has a new chance every morning to live the same day, changes.  He starts to focus more on others. He doesn't make the same mistake twice.  He learns each time how to perfect his actions so that they have different outcomes.  Some days go well, others go bad, as he tries to adjust his actions and thoughts to live a "perfect day."

And that is the way it feels in a dysfunctional system that is moving towards health.  Every day you revisit something that you thought you had solved.   One of the wise guys puts it this way:  You put something on your to do list, and you check it off.  And the next day, you come in and erase the check box and you start over.   But the truth of the matter is, eventually, if you just keep doing it, one day at a time, not letting the repetition discourage you, you make progress.  You learn from your mistakes.  You vow not to make the same ones again.  You try new ways to address old issues.   You just keep doing it, day after day after day.

Eventually you recognize that you are not at the center of the universe.  Just like Phil in the movie you start to focus on others and how the system is hurting them.   You find ways during your day to take care of other people instead of scrambling to take care of yourself.   And gradually, the system fades away.

One of the lies of the enemy is to say that "nothing has changed" but in reality a lot has changed,.  There will be days of regression.  It's all part of healing a system.

And for me, it is very helpful to realize that this isn't going to change all at once.  Many days it is going to feel like we are making no progress at all and we want to give up.  It's going to feel like I'm living the same day over and over again.

But the beauty of the gospel and living the Christian life is that God's mercies are new every morning, even if the system hasn't changed overnight.  God is good and gives us the strength to do what we need to do.

1 comment:

Our Story said...

Thank you for this encouragement! May God contine to give us His wisdom and strength each and every day. We are all called here for such a time as this. May we trust God to lead us, empowerus, heal us and move us forward so He can shine in and through us like never before.