Well, we’re 10 days into the New Year, and I haven’t blown the whole year yet. Ten days is a pretty good run, right? I think so, too.
Usually, I use the New Year as the opportunity to whip myself into shape: no more empty calories and carbs, get to the gym 4 times a week, and get that home project done by February 1. I’m a pretty tough boss on myself during early January.
But, as it turns out, I’m a pretty BAD boss too: the kind of boss that doesn’t pay attention half the time, doesn’t set a reasonable schedule, doesn’t give a game plan to the team, let’s things get really sloppy around the office, and then one day snaps and demands that the employees get everything done in one day, leaving them helpless and frustrated.
That’s me - to myself! I’m a bad boss to me.
But, after some self-evaluation, I’m a bad employee to myself too. I don’t follow through on instructions well, don’t stick to the game plan that I set for myself on January 1, and I look for any opportunity to skip out on work, or push off responsibilities to the next day, or be lazy.
That’s me, too! I’m a bad boss AND a bad employee to myself.
What’s the answer? I’m not sure. But I think it starts with making adjustments to both sides of the equation.
As the BOSS, I need to be clear to my employee (myself) about my instructions and goals, on what counts as success and failure, and be reasonable in my expectations. A good boss wouldn’t be non-attentive for four months and then make unrealistic demands to their employee on January 1.
I also need to know my employee's weaknesses and strengths, where they thrive and where they struggle, and put them in a position to succeed. Maybe that’s why all my Bible reading plans and spiritual goals go down the drain so fast: I’ve put demands on myself that are unrealistic and not within my gift mix, all the things a good boss wouldn’t do.
Take Bible reading, for example. You try to get up early and read 3 chapters for awhile, but after 8 days, you peter out. Then you feel guilty, double-down on your efforts, and do it again for another 6 days. Then it dies off again. Then you pick it up again in April, only to stop again in a week. Then you just accept the fact that you just aren’t that close to God.
Maybe the “boss” in you needs to negotiate a bit better with the “employee” in you. OK, so you’re not that good at reading in the morning. Big deal. There are greater tragedies in life. Maybe you’re a lunch-break reader. Maybe you’re an evening reader. Maybe you’re an audio booklistener. Figure out what works for you! Put yourself in a position to succeed.
Jesus talks a bit about this in the Parable of the Sower. Some seeds don’t grow at all, some grow for awhileand then stop, and some grow and flourish, producing lots of fruit. While we’re not capable of making the seed grow - that’s the Holy Spirit’s job - we CAN make the soil a bit more ready and receptive. And that takes adjustments and willingness to change.
SO, after making adjustments as the boss, we then need to make adjustments as the EMPLOYEE: I gotta be willing to stick it out. I gotta be willing to show up for work everyday, and be thankful that I’ve been put in a position to succeed, and that I’ll be forgiven and restored if I blow it.
This year, make it a point to set yourself up for success, and follow through! You can do this.