I love many things about my friend Billy. Despite only being in his mid-thirties, he is one of the wisest people I know. He is a dreamer who is always scheming a new creative expression of something stirring his heart. He is always up for an adventure, a caper, or an escapade. Like a bedside table with stacks of partially read books, we are in numerous conversations about various things that may or may not ever come to any kind of fruition. But the adventure is in crafting a myriad of ideas and seeing what actually sticks when you throw it against the wall.
One of the other things I really appreciate about Billy is his humility. He has an expression that I have adopted. When you give him direction, either encouragement or challenge, he typically responds with a thoughtful...
“I receive that.”
I have come to understand this to mean many things:
- I heard you.
- I care that you offered it to me.
- I will wrestle and pray through that.
- I trust your good heart for me.
- I am open to whatever God might be bringing me through you.
- I want to be continually transformed.
- I care about you and value you.
It is so uncommon a posture as to be arresting the first time I heard it spoken.
I receive that.
I get the opportunity to speak to many people. But speaking into someone requires an invitation. I can’t make anyone receive what I offer. I find that I have endless energy, joy, and time for those who want to hear, receive, and thoughtfully/prayerfully apply. I have none for those that don’t.
All of this reminded me of how we have been reinterpreting some of our foundational understanding on the probability of change in a person. A few months ago, I wrote about how our EMyth coach training had taught us about a “Three-Legged Stool” and that real Change was not possible outside of three key things being present. A person must be:
- In Pain – Uncomfortable with their present state
- Motivated – To change things
- Coachable – Willing to receive instructions and apply them
We’ve come to realize that change can actually happen if those three criteria are present. You can actually change a person’s behavior and circumstances. But just like we have found in the expression of our Christianity, the gospel of tips, techniques, and behavior modification, is not sustaining. It treats a symptom, but doesn’t address the core.
What we are really after is the same destination that Christianity ultimately aims for… transformation. What we want is healing, restoration, and living into the new heart that has been set within each one of us in salvation. We want to address the underlying condition driving what is on the surface. It is the irreversible change that only true transformation can bring. (It is ironic that the sword of legalism I used to wield actually produces the opposite of its intent. By forcing the reality of things into hiding, shrouded with modified behavior, the heart’s true condition is left untouched and unaffected.)
Our three-legged stool is becoming a four-legged one:
Three-legged stool + humility = transformation
The three-legged stool, like the gospel of tips and techniques, can produce change. True transformation, however, the destination we are ultimately targeting for individuals and organizations, requires something more. Humility, the ability to truly value others and what they have to offer, to see others as equally or more important than yourself, is the fourth leg that provides the foundation to truly stabilize the stool.
Are you in pain, motivated to change, and coachable?
Do you operate with a lot of humility?
Are you capable of just hearing or can you "receive"?