We had a website for a while which was designed by someone who was, um….well…let’s just say inappropriate. Yes. That is a good word. Inappropriate. The aforementioned individual did not walk very far with us for fairly obvious reasons. It ended up as a garden variety win/lose situation because the guilty party got to walk away from the mess, and we had to own a mess that never should have happened.
After he left, a situation arose which required some changes to that website. The immediate problem was that we needed to know HTML in order to make the changes and no one in the house had that skill.
However, we do have a highly atypical gift of Mercy in-house, named Megan. Somehow when her original software was developed, it came without the normal safety-oriented, risk averse app which we thought was standard issue for all Mercy gift people.
Megan is the go-to person when there is a problem that needs to be solved and it involves a learning curve with a high risk of failure. With this mess, she was game, as usual. Somehow we had ended up with some Dreamweaver for Dummies materials on the shelf although we had never used it. But the job needed to be done, and we needed it yesterday, so she jumped in and explored the completely new world of HTML.
Within an hour she had learned enough to fix the problem. She reported success. I was sufficiently skeptical and shocked that I personally checked it out and had to concur. We celebrated her courage and her prowess and I was ready to move on.
But she has learned to listen to her spirit so she asked for a bit more time and explained that she had discovered in the process of that short little exposure to HTML that she enjoyed working in that environment.
Always eager to follow the trail of fulfillment, I asked her to explain what she liked about it. I had framed the situation as a crisis, and had asked her to do a hardship tour of duty, and instead she was enjoying it. Go figure!
She struggled to put it into words, but finally said that in writing (which she does well) you can misspell a lot of words in a sentence and the sentence would still, generally, be intelligible. With HTML it is absolutely unforgiving. If you get one backslash wrong, she told me, the whole package would crash.
I pondered that awhile then said, “Megan, I seem to be missing something. A program that is immutably, completely, savagely devoid of even a drop of mercy and requires utter, absolute perfection would cause me to run for the hills in abject terror. Somewhere in here I missed the joy factor. Can you say it again to me a different way?”
We went back and forth for a while and finally came away from the discussion with a stupendous new discovery about the Mercy gift. God has designed them to want to build and maintain a complete “ecosystem.” It is not enough for them that the whole package works. They want to be sure that each little component of the whole is contributing to all of the other parts according to its design and proper alignment.
A Mercy’s “ecosystem” might be the decor in their home, the outfit they wear to a big event, the party they are planning, the community of the family, a business, a graphic project, or, in this case, even software. Ecosystems vary immensely. For her the fact that no part was insignificant mattered. And when she was able to get every part of the code in exactly the right place, contributing its command to the whole, it made her day.
This brings us to yet another area where we can win in the context of a losing situation, and that is to intentionally look for and discover something new about God’s original design of a given person.
Looking at the win/lose situation and playing the blame game accomplishes almost nothing in the long run. But if we can stand in the middle of the pain and study why the other person did what they did, it often gives us insight into the principle of design.
Now, admittedly, many times when people do wrong, it is because of lack of character, wrong values, ignorance, woundedness or whatever. It may have nothing to do with the principle of design. Nonetheless, I have learned a tremendous amount about how God designed people by studying them in the context of an unfortunate situation.
I may be assessing the perpetrator, or I might study the peripheral people involved in the project. Everyone around is a potential gold mine of insight about the fingerprints of God. Both their involvement in the original bad decision and their responses to the mess can be instructive.
I ponder their gift, their birth order, their laterality, and anything else I can think of and look for design-based insight. So often the aberrant behavior was rooted in a misapplication of their design and I can reason backward from the mess to the original.
While understanding their design often does not change the pain of the situation, it does allow us to gain some ground in the situation and to earn authority against the devouring caused by the 6th head. In this case, the mess was fixed, Megan was already the hero, but because she listened to what was going on inside her, she was able to earn huge authority toward the positive 6th head in her own life.
In addition to her advancing in the spiritual realm and learning more about herself, that insight has been hugely liberating for Mercy gifts the world over and has help the rest of us know how to support them better in their walk.
We are not powerless as long as we have the ability to observe and ponder. I am always on the lookout for more clues about God’s design of time, space and people. So when a mess occurs in the natural, I can win in the invisible realm by the skill with which I observe and interpret the data that is before me. No overtly wicked person can stop me from observing. No one can put me in an absolutely losing position because there is a world of truth to be learned about all three levels of Natural Law, and I can observe and ponder, even in the midst of a monster of a mess.
And every time I rise above the pain of the natural to advance in the intangible realm, I am actually positioning myself for a wide open path in the natural, in the future, because I refused to accept the natural as the only playing field. I may have lost there, but I can win in the spiritual realm, which eventually will give me the win in the natural as well.
Copyright October 2010 By Arthur Burk