Have you ever listened to yourself?
“Er, jump? Tiggers don’t jump, they bounce.” – Tigger
“Messy? Messy? It’s ruined! It’s ruined… why won’t you ever stop bouncing?” – Rabbit
I was talking with someone recently about the beautiful chaos found in the creation account. Genesis 1-2 shows God masterfully using order and spontaneity to bring about life:
- First, a formless and void earth; next, water, land mass and more explode into existence.
- First, a lack of structure; next, purposeful arranging.
- First, a tame and blank canvass; next, color is splashed on to complete the painting.
- First, something is made that by itself is complete; next, something is made out of that thing that is foundationally and forever connected to it.
You’ll notice both structure and surprise matter to God, each complementing the other. That doesn’t always happen among human personalities, though. We tend to find ourselves at odds with those who aren’t like us instead of creating something together that is an amalgam of the two.
It reminds me of the connection between Tigger and Rabbit in “Winnie the Pooh” movies. You’re likely familiar with how these two characters are often at odds because you see and feel it in your church environment. Whenever the process of creating something occurs, you usually hear some Rabbit or Tigger-like statements being made.
The question is – are you more like a Rabbit, or more like a Tigger?
Are you a Rabbit (or surrounded by Rabbits)?
- “I won’t get behind any ideas until I see them spelled out in detail in front of me.”
- “The reason people don’t want to serve around here is because they don’t know what they’re signing up for and are tired of getting burned. Does that make sense?”
- “We have to have a mission statement before we even begin creating anything. In fact, we’ll need several sub-statements to that mission statement if we hope to honestly and accurately filter whatever comes next. This will include knowing the end-goal with the variables in front of us, assessing our available resources, and mapping it all out in an easy-to-read, one-page chart.”
- “What you just said sounds good in theory, but it has a lot of pieces that aren’t clear. We can’t take our first step until all of the steps are defined.”
- “How many showed up to your event? Did you get their contact information? What will your process be to follow up with them? When will you call them again? How will you increase the percentage of participation next time? Who will you delegate to?”
- “There is no way we can move on to something new until we correct everything that’s wrong in what we’re already doing.”
Are you a Tigger (or surrounded by Tiggers)?
- “I know we had a plan for this, but what if we did this instead?”
- “How about we have an open approach to this where everyone’s voice matters?”
- “Let’s be real flexible on this moving forward. There’s no reason to lock into a particular plan or approach.”
- “Six weeks of planning? What are you talking about? We can pull this off in a week. We’re completely capable of that.”
- “We really don’t need an agenda if we’re going to truly follow the Holy Spirit. He’ll tell us what we need to do.”
- “I’m all about relationships. Relationships are where it’s at. Jesus was relational. That’s all we have to do… be relational. Ministry is relational. That’s what we need to do best!”
From my experience, one personality group tends to lead the charge and not realize the blind spots that are created. If Rabbits run things without Tiggers, they will focus on the 3% that needs fixing and neglect the 97% that is full of life and potential. If Tiggers run things without Rabbits, they will create 97% of damage and only talk about the 3% that is going well.
We not only need Rabbits and Tiggers in any creative process, but we need to become a little more like the other if we ever hope to have sane conversations. Someone might argue we need more trust than we do checks and balances, but how can you really place your faith in another person who often seems to be making an unhindered mess?
Again, God didn’t have a “no boundaries” approach in the creation of the world anymore than He had an “I must do everything” strategy. He created something out of nothing so that it could continue the creative process on its own through reproduction within its unique scope and sequence.
Of course, there are other personalities we could talk about that you encounter in creating something:
- The Downer: “It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.” – Eeyore
- The Petrified: “It’s awfully hard to be b-b-b-b-brave when you’re such a small animal.” – Piglet
- The Honey-Chaser: “The only reason for being a bee is to make honey. And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it.” – PoohThe Story Teller: “Artistic talent runs through my family. In fact, it practically stampedes.” – Owl
However you approach this, just remember that you’re unique… just like everyone else around you.
(You may need to read that again.)
Which personality do you identify with? Who are you more surrounded by? Chime in and let’s walk through the Hundred Acre Woods together.
Thank you for loving students!
*Love Tony’s insight on service and youth ministry? Receive his articles every Tuesday when you sign up for the SYM Today Newsletter!*