I asked for something I really feel like I have earned at work last week and I didn't get it.
At first I was really, really angry. I did all my homework before I made the request. I spoke to experts, I rehearsed my points, I prepared spiritually. I really felt like I did everything within my power to go into my meeting prepared. And it didn't work.
I don't want to give the impression that I always get what I want, because I do not. But in my adult life it has often been the case that if I try really hard, things have a way of working out. But the recent past is littered with incredibly disappointing situations that I was convinced were going to end a different way.
So I've been thinking this week about what really constitutes failure. Is the mission a bust if a person over which you have no control chooses not to grant your request? Is the lesson I needed to learn actually in the asking regardless of the outcome? Isn't learning when and how to stand up for myself a valuable skill to pick up sort of no matter what?
I'm pretty sure the answer is that almost any experience is only a failure if you don't learn anything from it. If all it does is make you mad, bitter and cynical then yes-utter failure. But if you can get a little bit of space from it and take some lessons from it, then I think maybe life could seem a whole lot less frustrating.
The next problem of course being that lessons learned often mean that you have to change-your attitude or your circumstances or your behaviour-and that can be a whole difficult process of it's own.
The lesson I think I've decided to take from this is one that has been incubating for years but I think it's really time to apply it. If I really do believe that God has a plan for me, I'm going to have to put just a bit more trust in that plan than what my somewhat control freak nature typically enjoys. This isn't a license to be lazy or to quit trying things, it's just an understanding and an acceptance that I am not as in charge as I think I am. And that frankly, if there is an all powerful, all knowing Being who would prefer to pull the strings a bit, then maybe I should let myself relax a bit.
And because I feel like there ought to be some sort of behavioral manifestation of this lesson, I've started moderating my soda intake. I realize there seems to be zero connection between the two but I wanted to do something that would remind me OFTEN to loosen my grip.
Trust me, I've had less Diet Coke for two days and I think it's already working.