I have a client who has recently been challenging me with this in the most difficult of ways. She's a teenager, let's start with that. She has a hard time trusting, but she has told me how she finds refuge in words, poetry, and metaphors. And so I prepared the perfect activity for her, incorporating all of these things, excited to help her move towards growth and the change she so desperately wanted. We got halfway through the project and she looked at me and said "this isn't helping me." I was dumbfounded for a moment. I had put so much effort into devising this perfect plan, and I knew that if she just tried a little harder, opened herself up a little more, she would find the most rewarding growth at the end! And then I remembered. It's not about me. It's not about my plan or my education, or experience, or knowledge, or insight. It's about relationship. And so I let go.
My plans fell to the floor and we moved forward together in our mess with no plan and no agenda. At that point, the session moved out of my control, but perhaps that was the best thing that could have happened. I may have had no idea where we were going or what we were achieving, but in that moment I realized it didn't matter. When I get focused too hard on the outcome, I lose the process, and when I lose the process, the outcome falls apart. The best way to the end isn't always the most direct and clear and concise. It usually never wraps up into a neat package, but rather looks like the disheveled, destroyed package that no one wants. And that's how we get there. Together. Flexibility may look messy, and may be painful, but this is where the growth happens. This is where relationship happens.
So be flexible with your family.
Be flexible with your friends.
Be flexible with your coworkers and peers.
Be Flexible with God.
Because sticking to our guns and following our perfect plan may get us there quickly and efficiently, but it gets us there alone.