As part of our Conferences' emphasis on congregational development, I have been asked along with several others, to become certified as a Life Coach. Since the Conference is willing to pay for it, and it sounds like something I'd like (and definitely could become better at), I agreed.
Today I started the process with a coaching session via phone and computer with my coach from Seattle. Part of the session was an introduction to the CoachNet website and so I thought, "Oh boy, here's the pitch to invest in their products." But I reserved judgment and I'm glad I did. The site does provide products, but a good part of it is set up as a tool for conversation and tracking the coaching process.
Reserving judgment, not jumping to conclusions, staying neutral during assessment - all that is an important part of coaching. And it's difficult to do on a consistent basis. I like to figure things, and people, out. Guess that's one reason I have a degree in psychology and it's probably part of a middle-child profile. But I suppose most of us rush to conclusions on limited information, and with the "answer" we essentially quit listening, or probing for more significant information. So much conflict, and prejudice, can be traced to this.
How can we know a person with just a few conversations? How can we remain open to the uniqueness of each individual, or situation? If this process can help me become better at this, it will be worth it. And there is a stream of grace in this as well.
How many times have I rushed to a conclusion about myself - I'm stupid or inadequate - and in effect shut off the process of growth? Holding off judging myself, as a failure or a success, simply means there's more living to be done. It isn't the score at halftime that ultimately counts.
And the grace is that the final assessment is done by a loving God, One who has called us "beloved children." The One who made us, knows our ways, and has gone to the extreme to forgive us, is the One who gives worth to this mixed bag of stuff I call me. I have to remember that when others label me good or bad, that they aren't God, and neither am I.