"Training" Towards Challenges | Tomorrow's World

"Training" Towards Challenges

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Barreling towards the minivan that has just stalled on the tracks, a train is moments away from destructive collision. The minivan driver jumps out to make a run for her life. Which direction should she run to avoid the inevitable flying debris of the soon-coming impact?

Sometimes unexpected trials come barrelling at us like that train. Six months ago at my workplace, a widespread sickness broke out following a corporate event. Over 70 percent of employees were absent, which severely hurt their wages, and the company’s morale as a whole. In addition, the interruption in business put the company’s leadership in a troubling position over how to respond. I went to work, although most offices and stations were empty; the atmosphere was uncomfortable at best.

With most of the executive team absent, our company president was without his usual advisors. Before long I found myself in conversation with him, acting as a sounding board and helping him manage the company in the absence of so many key staff.  One happy consequence was that I played a part in the company’s generous decision to pay staff for any wages lost during the week of widespread absences.

This was nothing like I had ever done. This was not part of my job or my role in the company, nor my role as a woman. Or was it?

Women are called to be helpers and to be supportive to a husband. We are also called to protect and guide children. These characteristics can also be used and developed—particularly by single women, who do not yet have these specific responsibilities—in our daily lives in the way we help, support, protect and guide those around us. The situation at my work certainly called for these skills, which can be applied in many circumstances:

  • Helping manage: While assisting with small tasks is appropriate, helping to manage a situation may involve assisting to a greater degree. Planning an activity, managing a conflict, overseeing a process (such as setting up a covered-dish meal), and providing knowledge are ways to help.
  • Supporting leaders: Sometimes supporting a leader means agreeing with them to maintain a united front. Other times support means respectfully sharing a different perspective. It may mean identifying a gap where you can share expertise in a certain area. This could include suggesting a different restaurant, fundraising activity or ways to work more efficiently.
  • Guiding others: Providing framework and weighing different decisions helps guide critical thinking, whether with friends, family or co-workers. Emotions get heated sometimes; staying composed in a crisis and helping others stay calm is important!
  • Protecting people and/or community: At some point, everyone needs a voice. Like a mother protects her children, protecting others may mean speaking up on someone’s behalf, outlining the potential risk of a decision, and guarding the integrity and names of leaders and the overall community. This means keeping people aware of other perspectives and defending other people’s interests.

In order to grow, we must be willing to experience trials and face challenges that will help us develop and strengthen these characteristics. Every hardship in life presents an opportunity to run away, to wait for help, or to rise to the occasion and tackle the issues head-on. We are admonished to be doers of the word, and not hearers only (James 1:22), for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

Returning to the opening question, experts say the answer is this: run away from the rails but towards the train! Getting behind the point of impact, the train will act as a shield from flying debris. Running towards the problem gives us greater control and minimizes the effects and impact of the consequences. Let’s “train towards” challenges.