3 things to align for the next step forward

Many years ago, I remember tuning in to the news of a lady trapped in a roundabout for 50 rounds until the police had to come to escort her vehicle out.

Navigating a high traffic roundabout could be one of the toughest driving situation to be in. When you are not sure which exit to take, when you don’t time your lane switch properly and when you are not mentally prepared to make the lane switch, you could be stuck in the roundabout for a long time.

When the request is not right, God says “No”.
When the timing is not right, God says “Slow”.
When you are not right, God says “Grow”.
When the request, timing and you are right, God says “Go”.

Rick Warren, https://pastorrick.com/four-ways-god-answers-your-prayers/

While the above quote was in the context of prayer, I think it’s also relevant to being at the roundabout of life. Rick Warren suggests 3 things that need to be aligned. I would broadly classify them as – Intention, Timing and Readiness.

Intention

Are we clear about what we want? Whenever I have to give a talk to students to cast a vision for the year, I often use 3 Ws:

  • What do you want?
  • What do you need to do?
  • Work for it.

I would then ask then “How do I get there?”. To which they would often reply me in bewilderment “Where?!”.

That’s exactly the point isn’t it? You can’t tell me how go get there unless I tell you where I want to go to.

But there’s a lot more to intention than just the destination. Otherwise, I would have just used destination instead of intention. Intention also has to do with the purpose behind our desired destination. If we already know what we want, we also need to know why we want it. For that serves as a driving force that gives us the momentum to stay the course even when the road gets bumpy.

Timing

Is it the right time? That’s often the question we ask ourselves, only to face a blank wall, because this question is too vague. Let’s break it down.

What constitutes the right time? We live in world that is defined by communities. When I started this blog, 3 words were at the centre of it – Duty, Discipline, Devotion. Duty, in particular, was about my responsibility to the communities that I belong to and matter significantly enough to me such that my actions and decisions will have strong emotional impact on them and myself.

So to reframe the question of the right time, perhaps we can look at the impact of our decisions on the communities that matter to us. If it’s going to leave a scar, then it does not mean never, but rather, we’ll need to factor in more time to prepare the communities that matter to us.

Readiness

Readiness sets 2 roadblocks for us, one stops us temporarily, the other stops us indefinitely.

“I am not ready”
is the voice that hints to you that you need to be prepared. It directs you to the second W I raise earlier about intention – What do you need to do? This roadblock is temporal and gives us space to prepare ourselves.

“I am not good enough”
is the voice of inadequacy screaming at us. This roadblock has the potential to paralyse us indefinitely. If we examine ourselves and find this voice screaming in our heads, we need to step out of ourselves and speak to significant others in our lives that know us well enough. They would either affirm the inadequacy or silence it (if you allow them to).


Are you ready to exit the roundabout?

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