The Pause That Refreshes

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When I was teaching my son to drive, I verbally explained to him why I always turn off the radio when backing up: “One of the biggest dangers you face when driving is distraction, and when backing up, it is especially dangerous.”

In our technology age, it is extremely difficult to pause. When we hold staff retreats for our missionaries, we used to “retreat”. The very name suggests “pulling back”. But now it feels more like “working offsite” since we still have phones and laptops; not only are the breaks between sessions different (focus on the device), but even during the sessions many people aren’t paying attention… because the content on their device is subtly more interesting than the content up front.

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We can go work at the office, go to Tim Hortons or go to a retreat centre, but the situation is the same: we do not really pause. I am so guilty of this.

I am constantly reminded of the importance of FOCUS.

Two stories, both related to flying:

  1. In 2006 I was introduced to a powerful new Help software (the same software you now see when you press F1 for help in TNT). I immediately saw the potential of this software for providing help for TNT. On a long flight from Germany to Florida I was able to convert the entire Word-based TNT book into this new software.
  2. In 2011 I needed to fly from Orlando to Little Rock (Arkansas)—about a 2-hour flight if done directly. I was short some frequent flyer miles and Travelocity offered me a longer trip for only a few dollars more. So instead I flew from Orlando to Salt Lake City to Phoenix to Memphis to Little Rock. It was a 12-hour day and was my most productive day of the year.

In partnership development, as we all know too well, it is easy to become distracted. I am amazed at how many undesirable things—like pulling weeds—suddenly become appealing when I should pick up the phone!

This fall I find myself needing to re-evaluate some of things I am doing. And as painful as it is, I have come to realize that there are several positive, helpful, and even enjoyable things that I need to pause from doing.

Like this blog.

After mulling on this thought for several months, I’m pressing the pause button.

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It is certainly not due to lack of enjoyment nor lack of ideas—I have a year of blog posts bouncing around my blog planning spreadsheet.

This fall my ministry is installing a new accounting system, and I have the joy of being the leader of the donation-processing design of this system. Why? Humorously, my “hobby work” on TntConnect led to my becoming the resident expert on how donations flow through our systems!

I have found myself unable to really focus on this project because I have so many other fun, helpful, fascinating, and positive things on my plate. I wish there were things I could give up that I don’t like… but there really aren’t any of those right now. Actually, those I cannot find anyone else to do. 😦

So instead I have had to evaluate some of the things I do like, and ask, “What can I stop doing?” Or, at least pause from doing.

I hope you have found this blog helpful and encouraging. It has always been my aim to foster a positive attitude towards partnership development. TntConnect is really just a tool; the true purpose is to build relationships.

When I’m ready, I’ll come back. But in the meantime, if you need help, please don’t hesitate to … press F1. Enclosed in that help manual is my 16 years of tinkering with TNT.

Hold Fast,

Bob

 

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