Stop. Collaborate and Listen.

Vanessa got home very late – after midnight – on Friday night from hanging out with some of her girlfriends. By 12:30, we had started into a discussion that we had been avoiding for several days. When I use the word “discussion,” I mean “fight.” 12:30 in the morning is a terrible time to start a fight, but it was one we needed to have, and there is no time like the present, I suppose. We talked until after 3:00 am. And then we picked up again on Saturday morning when we woke up.

By the early afternoon on Saturday, we had made a breakthrough. We were able to see things from the other’s perspective. We had a bit more empathy for the other’s feelings. And we had a game plan for some things we’re going to do differently going forward.  

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One of those things is that I am going to find somewhere else to work a few days per week. For those who may not know, I work from home. I’ve done it for over a year now. It has a lot of advantages and perks that are really great. It has one significant downside. Vanessa and I are almost always together. And we get sick of each other.

Well, more accurately, she gets sick of me. She gets sick of me not necessarily because I am a miserable person to be around. And certainly not because she is some kind of witch. She gets sick of me because she is an introvert who desperately needs alone time to recharge her batteries and best engage with the world.

Since leaving our old fundamentalist life, we’ve worked really hard at making sure that Vanessa has a life of her own outside of me. She is a person in her own right and needs the dignity of a lifestyle that supports that. I’m too much in her grill right now. So, I’m going to be giving her space to breathe and think and pray and blog – without me always being there.

At the same time, in a rather ironic twist given what I’ve just written, we also realized that we need to collaborate more. We don’t need to work together, but we need to work on the same things. Vanessa and I are at our best when we are maximizing on our synergy. We draw out the best in each other. Some of the greatest things we have done in life and ministry have come from the powder keg of our collaboration.

So we decided to do a couple of things collaboratively:

First, the podcast that I was planning on launching will now be the podcast that we will be launching. We’re going to use it as a place to explore the idea of theological development and the evolution of beliefs. Going through a fundamorphosis was not something I did. It was something we did. We want to create another safe place in which people can think and doubt and learn and develop. A main part of it is that we’re going to interview some people about their own theological evolution. We’ve got some interviews lined up, and we get started this week. I’m hopeful that we’ll actually post the first podcast by early next week. We’re pretty energized about it.

The keyword in this last paragraph is “we.”

We also are going to begin working on a writing project together. We’ve talked for awhile about writing a book on marriage. We’ll get to that eventually. But we’ve decided to begin work on a project about church planting. A pink-and-blue look at what it’s like to start a church. A church planting handbook for couples. We’ve identified about 50 topics related to church planting about which we each are going to write 500 words.

So many church planting resources are only from the perspective of men. Giving voice to Vanessa’s perspective, especially in dialog with mine, we think has some real potential to be something. We’re not sure yet the best format to make available what we write. It might be a blog. It might be a book. It might be both. We’re figuring that out.

Again, the keyword is “we.”

 

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