New Attitude - Everything Is Figureoutable
Do you ever wonder why some churches seem to flourish, while others seem to flounder? Why some churches seem to easily travel down new paths of ministry, while others seem stuck in a rut? Why some churches adapt to new leadership, ideas, and seasons, which move them forward, while others, seems fixed in the past? In addition, why some churches make quick and nimble decisions while others hem, haw, and drag their feet?
The answer is one simple word-Attitude.
Now before you start to rehearse a litany of reasons of why your church can't do certain things, I want to gently caution you that these reasons might well be just excuses.
In Marie Forleo's book Everything is Figureoutable, she introduces a simple concept she learned from her mom. Marie begins with telling about a conversation she had with her independent, determined mother, which changed her life.
Upon walking in on her mother sitting at the kitchen table with pieces of a broken radio, duct tape and a variety of screwdrivers, Marie asked her mother, "Mom, what happened to your radio? Is it broken?" Her mom explained what had happened and what she was doing to fix it. After watching her mother work on the radio for a while, Marie finally asked, "How do you know how to do so many different things that you've never done before, without anyone showing you how to do it?"
Putting down her tools, Marie's mother turned to her and said, "Don't be silly, Ree. Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you roll up your sleeves, get in there, and do it. Everything is figureoutable."
When I read this powerful truth, I thought of all the times I have been in churches in which the two most common mantras were, "But we have always done it this way," and "But we have never done it before." Both are two sides of the coin, essentially saying "we can't."
However, when we say "we can't", we are really saying "we won't." We "won't" try new things. We "won't" take a risk and leap of faith. We "won't" call a pastor who some might object to because we are afraid or we value their opinions over the possibilities God might have in mind for us. We "won't" trust God has something wonderful and bigger in mind for us than our limited minds can imagine.
I wonder, if every time we said "we can't" in the church, in our meetings and our conversations, we challenged each other to be honest that what we really mean is "we won't". We are not willing or we really don't want to. We really don't want to do the work, trust, or take the risk.
One interesting exercise might be for a church to write down every "we can't" statement, which exists in the congregation. Then cross the "can't" in each statement and replace it with "we won't." I would imagine the visual would be quite alarming and might be quite transformative.
The truth is everything is FIGUREOUTABLE. But Marie Forleo was not the first person to discover this. This message is conveyed throughout scripture in the lives and stories of ordinary people who are able to do ordinary things by simply changing their attitude.
Instead of saying, "can't" they said "God can!" Jesus often challenged the disciples can't attitudes, reminding them while something might seem impossible for us alone, "with God, all things are possible."
Our "we can't" statements reveal our attitudes and our excuses. Excuses have no purpose other than serving as dream killers. And as many have said, "if we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them."
My dream for this Conference is that we ALL would be willing to examine, name and claim our "we can't" excuses. Now, the truth is if we continue to argue for our limitations, we should not be surprised that the limitations will continue to exist and have a hold on us.
Yet, if we are willing to be honest with ourselves about our attitudes, which have created our excuses and limitations, AND are willing to change those attitudes, by trusting in God's plan and purpose, WE WILL discover "with God all things are possible." Or in new language "in God, all things" are ....
Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, Conference Minister