taking what i’m given – a God conversation in real time

Posted: May 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

It was a special meeting day, in a special meeting place – one where we’ve only met a time or two.  Months of planning had gone into this meeting, and a lot hung on how the day would go.

As I walked into the meeting room and looked around, getting ready to do my part of the setup process, one of the board members chuckled.  “I’m curious to see what Karen is going to do with this.”

The comment surprised me, and I replied reflexively, something to the effect of not being a change-things-up person.  I work with what is given to me.  I deal with it.  No need to second-guess the person who went to the effort to set it up – a person who, in this case, outranks me by quite a bit anyway.

It was a deja vu moment; I realized I’d made the same sort of comment recently in a personal conversation.  I noticed, but I was busy.  I let it go and forgot about it.

A few days later while making small-talk about restaurants at a luncheon, I shared about being seated once in a spot that looked on THREE giant TV monitors – how dismayed I was to be out at a nice restaurant, looking at 3 kinds of sports.  Who goes out to dinner to watch TV?  My boss chuckled.  “I’ll bet you asked for another seat.”

Again, the comment surprised me, and again, I replied reflexively.  “No, I don’t ask for stuff like that.  I take what I am given.”  While others at the table said they are the same, my boss was surprised, noting that doesn’t really line up with what he sees in the work I do for him.  I could only reply that the Karen I am when I’m working for him is kind of a whole other person than I am in the rest of my life (though I must note – not entirely! – since I was taking what I was given at that board meeting day.)

Okay.  So this theme has come around 3 times, each unrelated to the other, all within a matter of days.  When that happens, I only ever know to take it as a God-conversation.  Apparently He’s got something to show me – likely something to change in me.

I’ve been a person who takes what she is given for as far back as my memory goes.  I don’t ask for a re-do.  I don’t demand more or different.  I can name countless instances of this, the most striking of which was when I moved out of the house I’d been renting from my parents.  They did a walk-through, making a list of all the things that really were past due needing done.  “Why didn’t you ask us to take care of these things?” my mom asked.  The question surprised me.  Ask for things?  Am I supposed to do that?

Probably the reason my boss was surprised at my comment is that he sees me working with things that I’ve had the time to make mine – to take ownership of.  It takes me just about forever and a day to take ownership on something I’m given – I have to observe and learn and try to figure out the whys of what it is for a long time.  I have to note what seems broken about it, and then think long and hard about cause and effect.  But once I’ve worked through all that and get to the ownership zone, then generally I tear it down and rebuild it to suit me, and I’m insanely proud when I get it all reconfigured.  That’s the Karen he knows – the one who stands in his office, excessively excited, gushing about the redo with not the slightest trace of humility.  Just too happy to be modest.  He likes that Karen.  I like that Karen.  But I don’t get there quickly, ever, on anything.

And that’s with stuff that I own – that is clearly mine, and not someone else’s.  Not with stuff that I’ve been given, and haven’t had long enough for it to be mine.  It feels – I don’t know – disrespectful, or greedy, or prideful – arrogant? – to look at an item or situation I’ve been handed, and just start ordering it to be more or different.  I understand that much of the world doesn’t feel the same – I watch people sweep into situations they don’t know and just start tinkering with them, and it makes me uneasy or cranky.  They’re probably not wrong, they just aren’t like me.  I have to work very hard on myself and my own attitude, when others are doing that around me.

So!  Is God calling for that to change in me?

Does He want me to start taking ownership sooner rather than later?

Is He setting up a situation that will require me to ask for more, sooner?

I don’t know.  I just know He’s talking, and I’m listening with all my might.

I’d like to pass this test on the first try, whatever it is.



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