Monthly Archives: November 2015

I’m okay staying Single… forever.

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sarah in pma

I have recently decided I don’t mind being single forever and not getting married.

Actually, I decided that last week.

Consider an episode I had with a friend last Sunday. I was talking to one of my Professors, someone I really respect, and whose insights I value. When he asked me, “What are your plans after seminary?”, I thought I was in for some free counseling time.

So I answered him.

I told him I was really keen on doing cross-cultural missions, evangelism and discipleship, and maybe humanitarian works.

I told him I was very much interested in Christian Apologetics, and that I desire to do further studies in that area.

I told him I was passionate about the arts, especially music and literature, and would very much like to study more formally and increase my platform.

I told him that while I plan all of these, I have no idea how to accomplish them, or how to combine them (or if I should), and that I just don’t know what to do next.

He affirmed my desires, then he said, “The key is to find a man with the same passions as you do…”

I have to admit I didn’t hear anything else after hearing the “The key is to find a man…” part of his statement. Because why does everything have to depend on me finding a man?! (Do I have issues with men? Maybe. No. Not really. Am I a – *gasp* – a feminist? NO!)

So I answered Professor, “Oh, but I’ve decided that I’m okay being single forever.”

I admitted that I think do like the idea of being in love, and getting married. I like the idea. 

But! There is a lot that needs to be done in the world, a lot of needs to be filled, and a lot I want to do. 

Between all my plans of cross-cultural missions, humanitarian works, higher studies and personal artistic development, not to mention my short-term goals of writing a book, publishing a book, traveling widely, and starring in a Broadway show (Joke! Or maybe not), where, I ask, WHERE WILL I FIND THE TIME TO EVEN DATE?!

So I decided, last week, that if I were to date and marry, he would have to share my dreams, and he would have to be absolutely, hundred-percent convicted that he is to be God’s agent to help me fulfill my dreams and help me blossom, just as I am fully convicted that I will support him and encourage him to greater heights with all my heart, mind and soul.

He would have to be that kind of man. If not, then I’d rather stay single.

SO AM I REALLY, REALLY SURE?

At this point, you, dear reader, are probably either smiling, laughing, or scoffing at my naivete… the same way the Professor at the beginning of this post reacted to my “declaration.”

This professor incredulously, and I think maybe even exasperatingly, asked me, “How old are you?!”

“Twenty-three,” I replied.

“YOU ARE SO YOUNG!” he roared. “TALK TO ME WHEN YOU’RE TWENTY SIX!”

Who knows? Maybe at twenty-six, or even twenty-five, I would change my mind. Maybe I’d change my mind next week! (Lol joke, I don’t think so.)

But to be honest, deciding to be single actually felt liberating. Really, really!

Also, just to get it out of the way, yes, I am aware that there may have been things I have not considered, or flaws in my logic or reasoning. (If you think so, please tell me how I erred in a nice way, down in the comments section.)

I’ll let time and life affirm or rebuke me, but for now, I’m enjoying this freedom of choice.

 

My Rookie Moment is Now: What to do when you’re the Rookie in the Room

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You must have both rookie smarts and veteran savvy.” 

–Liz Wiseman, Global Leadership Summit 2015

sarah abscbn ddo 01

The book project intimated me. I have never written a feature story of this type, for such a project.

When the editor gathers all the writers, she tells us graciously, but firmly, that she would remove from the book project anyone she deems unskilled enough. I look around the room, noting that the guy sitting across me has worked as a journalist for years. Everyone in the room probably has much more writing experience than I.

I am the rookie.

***

All four of us are gathered around a table, and we begin the meeting.

And I marvel at the fact that I am part of this group. All the other three are pastors, all have at least about a decade of ministry under their belt. One has an MDiv and working on his MA in Philosophy, and another has an MA in Biblical Studies with vast connections and training experience.

And there am I, the rookie.

***

I loved every bit of today’s Global Leadership Summit Philippines (GLS) Manila, but something struck me from Liz Wiseman’s session Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing. 

Rookies, she says, are inexperienced, but their advantage is that they tend to be more creative and more open to learning opportunities. She encourages the audience to think back to when they were rookies, how they struggled, but tended to be more resourceful.

“Think back to your rookie moments,” Wiseman says. And that’s when she goes on to say, “You must have both rookie smarts and veteran savvy.”

And it Just. Hit. Me. My rookie moment is NOW! 

In the last couple of years I believe I have heard from the Heavens and finally identified several things I am passionate about and fields I would like to pursue: missions, apologetics, and arts, generally speaking. And as I identified these fields, God actually gave me opportunities actually for me to actually venture into these fields!

I am a rookie in all these fields, no expertise to show. I hope to be able to make significant contributions and give provide meaningful leadership in these areas in the future, but I am not there yet. I say this with no self-pity attached, but simply as an honest self-assessment: I am undeniably inexperienced, and lacking in savvy in these areas.

So what must a rookie do? I picked up some things from Wiseman’s (and some of Bill Hybels’) talk:

-See this period of inexperience and lack of knowledge as an opportunity to learn. “Knowing the least can draw out the best.” As they say, when you’re at the bottom, there is nowhere to go but up.

-At this season, one must ask questions! Ask questions and take responsibility to learn and discover.

-Take this opportunity to develop “grit” – a passion and perseverance for the long haul.

-Be with veterans who have “rookie smarts,” experts and leaders who are teachable, creative, and love to discover. These traits “…can actually rub off.” Seek these leaders, and seek to be in their company. Be mentored by them.

-When challenges come, see it as an opportunity to learn and move forward.

-Learn and move forward, because a rookie has no other choice. No, wait, actually there is another choice – and that is to move backward, regress, refuse to grow.

-Develop self-awareness. Work through your character issues. Get help from people close to you. Get professional help if necessary. We all have our issues, and getting help should be seen as a favour we do to ourselves and to the people we will eventually lead (and relate with).

-Invest in relationships. Not the user-friendly kind for building platforms, but real, honest relationships where you could be both vulnerable and affirmed.

-Affirm your purpose. Affirm the purpose that made you start out in the first place. Affirm your “why,” otherwise you’d be lost. Or, if you haven’t found your “White-hot Why,” as Bill Hybels calls it, then discover it. Discover your priority.

So to my fellow dear beginners, rookies who are starting out but wish to accelerate in their companies, who wish to contribute to their organizations, who want to advance in their respective fields, who want to change the world… we are at a special phase.

Let’s take this as an opportunity to grow and learn.

We will eventually develop our savvy, but for now, let’s be smart. And when we finally do develop our savvy, hopefully we also retain our rookie smarts.