By Kate Floyd
On Saturday, I began writing this phrase over and over again, meditatively, uncontrollably, like a prayer. Like medicine for my soul as tears welled-up in my eyes.
“Release the outcome”
I had the great privilege of hearing Elaine Heath speak on trauma informed leadership during cultural shifts. Her contention is that all of us, as a society and as a church and as individuals, are impacted by trauma. So for any of us to lead, we need to do our own work and be informed about how best to care for and lead people who have experienced their own trauma. Especially acknowledging the role that the church has and can play in inflicting and reinforcing trauma.
I don’t need to tell you that our culture is shifting, rapidly in all kinds of ways, most notably by the rapidity of technological innovation and use. The church, too, is shifting, radically--for good, I think. We can’t do things the way we’ve always done them. But there is no script for how to move forward, what to do next, and what the new picture will look like.
From the church to parenting to education to food production to the environment to communication and media to democracy to criminal justice to to to...things are shifting.
There are best practices, story-sharing and case-studies for how to adapt. But there’s no straight line or magic formula for knowing what comes next and making that happen.
There never was. And that’s ok. Even exciting. But damn if I don’t want to control the outcome.
My usual prayer? THIS outcome please. And then THIS one. With THIS outcome as an added bonus. Please and thank you.
Release the outcome. Release the outcome. Release the outcome...I wrote over and over again, meditatively, uncontrollably, like a prayer. Like medicine for my soul as tears welled-up in my eyes.
When tears well-up there is truth underneath. Or, actually, on the surface finally coming out.
I have specific outcomes I’d like for my job, children, marriage, friendships, my health and the health of others. For the political reality and my home value and who becomes president in 2020.
Now. Releasing the outcomes doesn’t mean we relinquish vision and purpose and hard work for the common good. It does mean that we do our best, with what we have--are brave, show up, share love, seek justice, and….trust God for the rest. That’s the hard part. But the God of the Bible is not a God of survival or expected outcomes. The God of the Bible is a God of
resurrection, which means some things need to die before new life comes. It’s part of the deal. And so much of our/my human desire to control outcomes is about staving off death in all its forms.
But as a Christian, I worship a God who says do not fear death and takes the most anxiety provoking situations and cultures and institutions and transforms them, freely, into life and life abundant.
I believe this. Help my unbelief. Release me from outcomes, release me from outcomes, release me from outcomes. Let this be my prayer. Join me?
Rev. Kate Hurst Floyd
Pastor, Arlington Commons Church January 2019