The Next Right Thing

I’m an enneagram type 1. My type is commonly called “The Perfectionist,” “The Reformer,” or “The Improver.”

At my worst – when I most disconnected from my true self – I devolve into incredibly harsh self-criticism because I feel “not good enough” and I can’t “fix it all.” When that inner critic is raging, it spills out as judgmentalism. What is really going on is deep insecurity, anxiety and rage – that it is “not the way it’s supposed to be.” Whatever it is – me, others, the world. All I can see and feel is the pain of the “not yet.”

At my best – when I am most connected to my “very good” and “beloved” embodied identity – I open up to hope and am energized to participate in the cultivation of shalom. I am able to join the suffering I see without being consumed. I am able to celebrate the present moments of goodness, practicing gratitude instead of giving in to foreboding joy or resentment. When I am most fully myself, I have healing gifts to give: compassion, resilience and imagination for seeking justice and flourishing.

Over the last year and a half, during the isolation of social distancing, I have watched as people and communities respond to a global pandemic. There have been stories of neighbors grocery shopping for those at most risk. I have seen people urging their friends and family to pull together and make sacrifices even though at a distance – encouraging wearing face masks, foregoing holiday gatherings and learning to connect on screens instead of in person. I have also seen some of the most egregious, selfish and harmful behavior I have ever witnessed.

I have spent much of these last months wrestling with anger and the temptation to throw my hands in the air in resignation. Because of the privilege of my race and socioeconomic status, I could choose to stay in isolation. I could detach and retreat into the safety of a self-centered and self-righteous existence. I’d have to numb my emotional life and close myself off from compassion. I’d have to console myself through distraction and avoid moments of stillness and quiet when I might have to face myself. But, I could give in to the despair of the suffering I see in the world and fear that healing and justice are hopeless fantasies. That would be to allow my worst shadow to overcome my true self.

I have also spent much of these last months wrestling with how to use my energy to engage – to seek justice and promote flourishing. A few weeks ago I decided it was time to quit my job and commit full-time to the work I have been trying to do “on the side” for the last couple of years. It is time to give this my full attention and effort. It is time to go all-in with the work that most reflects and shapes my truest self. It is time to wholeheartedly embrace that my story, my self, and my gifts are an important contribution to the story of liberation and healing that has been at work in the world as long as Love has “heard” and “come down.”

It is time for the next right thing. This is not the whole thing. This is not every thing. This is my part. I cannot heal the whole world, but I can spend my life healing. I cannot fix all that is wrong and causing harm, but I can spend my life tending to pain and fostering hope.

Here it is: the relaunching of my website comes with the announcement that I am launching my own business. The majority of my work is focused on LGBTQ inclusion in Christian spaces. I am building a spiritual coaching practice. I am also teaching and facilitating courses and seminars on faith related topics such as the Bible, theology, spirituality, and on other topics such as personal growth and leadership for non-faith based contexts. In addition to teaching, consulting and coaching, I will be creating content to share on my blog, and, eventually, in other media.

So take a look around. Let me know if I can be of service to you. If you would like to support my work, the first thing you can do is share it with others. Check out the “What I Do” page for the services I offer. If you would like to contribute financially, one of the first things I want to establish is a scholarship fund for clients that cannot afford coaching or consulting. Contact me for more details. If you would like to talk more about what I’m doing and how you might benefit or get involved, let’s schedule a time to meet in person, on the phone or online.

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