when integrity is GRITY

integrity or ethics concept

So, I had one of those that moment when moments…  Yep.  It was AWESOME!

Here at Haven we have been engaged in a teaching series about loving one another well.  It has been a really fun and, at times, very powerful teaching series for us.  This past Sunday it was again my turn to teach.  I was geeked.  I love teaching.  I love this community of faith I am part of!  I love Jesus and I love what Jesus says about how we love one another.  Sunday I taught on how we love one another by having integrity with one another.

We talk about integrity often in our context – it’s one of our core values.  One way we define it is like this, “doing what I said I would do, when I said I would do it and in the manner in which it is meant to be done.”  We have integrity when we give our word and we keep our word.  We also believe we are to give our word to BIG things – like restoration, redemption and stuff like that.  We also talk about HONORING our word when we can’t or don’t keep our word.  We talk about honoring our word in the same way we talk about cleaning up a mess.  In fact, when we honor our word, that’s what we are doing. We are cleaning up a mess…

Of course, it was a ground shaking, moving teaching time that deeply impacted people who weren’t even there 🙂  That was Sunday.  On Monday evening, at 7:15, I have a coaching call every week with two amazing men who are pursuing deep levels of transformation in their lives through a process called Faithwalking (part of our discipleship process). We aren’t far into the process, but our calls have been rich and provocative as we pursue a deeper walk with Christ together.  Coaching is one of my favorite privileges!

I missed the call.  One day after teaching the congregation to love one another by keeping their word with one another, I freakin’ missed the call!  I know.  It isn’t life shattering – it was just one of many calls.  No biggie, right?  So, because I am the expert on integrity ( I’m the pastor so I must be right? ) I immediately cleaned up the mess.

Nope.  I didn’t.  When I realized I missed the call the shame voice in my head kicked in.  We all have a shame voice.  It’s the committee that meets in our heads to remind us of all our deficiencies and how bad we are.  My shame voice reminded me that if I can’t make a simple phone call not only am I not qualified to be a coach but I am certainly not qualified to be a pastor!  So in the space of nano-seconds I shifted gears to divert the blame.  I spent the next 15 to 20 minutes rehearsing in my head all the excuses I could make in order to look good and still be qualified.  I don’t get to have those 15 – 20 minutes back…

After telling the shame committee that I deeply appreciate all their hard work and insight, I also told them they could sit down in the corner and be quiet for a bit.  In the moment of silence that followed, I quickly sent a text to both of the guys I had blown off.  I owned the mess – yep, the milk all over the table and floor is mine! I also asked for a time within the next day when I could talk to them individually to clean it up.

In cleaning up the mess I asked what impact my not showing up had on them. After listening actively to each, I asked forgiveness and have recommitted myself to be fully present as their coach.

We all have areas in our lives where integrity is lacking.  Places and relationships that aren’t working to the degree they could.  We also have these shame voices that work really hard to keep us from cleaning up our messes in a way that is healthy and restorative.  It takes a lot of courage to honor our word rather than to offer up excuses.

One of the biggest gateways to my own transformation has been a willingness to quiet the shame voices enough to clean up my messes.  I haven’t gotten it right 100%.  I still blow it.  But I keep pressing forward toward the goal to which Christ calls me.

Will you clean up a mess this week?

btw, both Don and Larrie are rockstars and our conversations were filled with grace!


2 responses to “when integrity is GRITY

  • connectdd

    Wow! Just reading about your teaching series and thinking process, and then actions to clean up the mess were deeply moving. I’ll bet coaching clients learn A LOT through the actions of their coaches as well as their timely calls and words, and this week’s lesson in owning the problem will remain with them for a long time!

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