Deeply DisturbedBlog / Produced by The High Calling
A friend of mine owns a company, and his employees get a little on edge when they see him coming their way. It’s not that they don’t like him - he just has this tendency of asking a lot of questions. And his questions usually make people a little uncomfortable. He's never satisfied. Suppose you are feeling pretty good because the customer satisfaction reports have ticked up another notch. He’ll come up with some brilliant idea that the customer hadn’t even asked for yet, and ask why they aren't even higher. Or, when the sales team gets all excited about a new lead for business, he’ll jump ten steps ahead of them and point out all of the issues that still must be resolved in order to win the deal. Get cracking on it. The minute anyone - anyone! – starts to relax and feel a little comfortable with the way things are, he’ll quickly remind them of how far they have yet to go. "We’ve got to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable," is what he keeps telling his people over and over again. "If anyone thinks they can work here and keep the status quo, then they are at the wrong company, and are probably in the wrong life." His efforts have paid off. During his ten-year stint as President, the company’s performance has gone from stagnant mediocrity to now sitting in the top 20% of its peers. And despite my friend’s annoying habit of asking too many questions, his employee turnover is one of the lowest in the industry. Why? He engenders a sense of pride, loyalty, and an unending quest for excellence among his people that they would never get by working for a stagnant, old-school, middle-of-the-road operation. Those employees actually like being pushed. And now their company is comfortably poised for growth and profitability in an extremely competitive market space.
Sometimes I feel God doing that to me – asking too many questions and disturbing my middle-of-the-road space. I want to be left alone to just do my own thing, the way I want, because usually I think it’s good enough. But then here comes God - poking, prodding and pushing, hitting me upside the head with some disturbing kind of divine intervention that I would rather not encounter: a fight with my wife; a failed project; a falling back to Plan B. He stirs up the calm waters. He rips through the blue skies. And it makes me cringe. Most of us don’t like to be disturbed from our routines. We want to go about our business, keeping our heads down and maintaining some perceived sense of stability - calm seas and blue skies. But the irony is that without that periodic disruption from time to time, we’ll never grow – spiritually, emotionally, or professionally. The legendary explorer and sea captain of the British empire, Sir Francis Drake, knew this too, when he penned a prayer on this very subject:
Prayer for Spiritual Revival
"Disturb us Lord, when We are too well pleased with ourselves. When our dreams have come true Because we have dreamed too little. When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore... Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wider seas Where storms will show your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars."
When we get too comfortable, a good push from the outside can mobilize us to greatness, beyond what we might even think we are capable of. So, the next time you face a disturbing encounter, recalibrate your perception. Instead of bristling, bring it on. And thank God for disturbing you.