Spring Cleaning the Grime

I have a confession to make: I am addicted to pressure washing.  It’s not the typical love I understand many of us have – I am compulsive about it, compelled to wash every spot and cranny covered in grime.  As I’m working my way through pressure washing projects, I often don’t stop, don’t eat, don’t take a break and don’t let others (i.e. husband) help until it is finished to my ideal of “clean.”  

Now – I’m sure I could write several blogs on the latent meaning in my compulsion or the danger in the analogies of not stopping or not letting others help, but for now – let’s focus on grime.

In case you don’t love pressure washing, here are two things you need to know before you read on.  

1.        When holding the nozzle (gun) of the pressure washer, it vibrates and can, over the course of an afternoon, really weary your hand and arm – even to the point of numbness due to the grip required to hold the nozzle (gun).  

2.       Pressure washers not only get rid of the grime. They sometimes (without intent) take a little paint or finished surface with them too.

So back to the grime.  This year as I was cleaning my decks and patios, my head, heart and soul were thinking about the grime I had inadvertently let build up over the last several months in my leadership. Just like fall, winter and even early spring make their deposits of dirt, so do moments and experiences in leadership.  Those moments of unresolved conflict, points of unhelpful disagreement, real or perceived failure, and disappointment in myself and others left a grimy trail. 

It’s particularly poignant for me right now as I navigate a difficult situation with a colleague.  While we have both (wisely) sought out counsel and mediation to reconcile, the grime of competition, criticism and months of mounting unforgiveness over unspoken grievances have needed to be washed away - with pressure.

But here’s the thing – getting rid of the ick, the dirt, the grime takes time AND initiative. And at first, I wasn’t sure I truly “wanted to” be rid of the ick (honestly).  Holding onto unforgiveness lets you think you are holding on to some power that can be used “later,” when needed.  Yet, really, holding on the issue is just perpetuating the hurt that is hurting you.

Thankfully, I quickly came to place of realization that I MUST choose to wash away the dirt – if for no other reason than being commanded to.  There are countless verses that talk about forgiveness and cleaning away the grime.  Just check out your Bible’s concordance.

But for me, Mathew 18: 22 has ringed and echoed in my heart and head as I reflect on the deep work that is forgiving others “seventy times seven.” It took hours to clean those patio decks, but my commitment to reconcile and forgive will take countless more! Aspects of this necessary forgiveness are deep, even painful, but as leaders we must lead others on how we forgive those who have hurt us AND seek forgiveness for those we have hurt. It must start with the work the Holy Spirit is doing in us and we must let others see the process.

Unfortunately it’s often not until we put down the gun, and start to forgive, that we can feel the effect of unaddressed grime (unforgiveness) in our leadership. We grow numb to others, we get weary, we become cynical.  That was certainly me at points over the last months and perhaps this resonates with you too.

Now for some good news. Not only does the pressure clean out the sin and rid the grime, but it also takes a little bit extra with it.  Cleaning out the grime with pressure took with it some rough edges and unbeneficial shiny finishes.  With forgiveness and reconciliation, the rough edge of criticism became a softer edge of appreciation for gifts and abilities I do not possess. The shiny finish of confidence which verged on arrogance and competition was cleaned and scrubbed to reveal a still beautiful stone that was a little more real, a little more honed and a little more humble. A little bit more like Christ, and a little bit less like me and my sinful impulses.

So sisters, if you haven’t already, get spring cleaning. Not just because there’s grime, but because people watch and learn from how we lead in the easy and the hard!

 

By Kim Savage

 

Kim Savage is wife, mother, ambitious career gal and most importantly a beloved daughter of the Most High King and follower of Jesus.  Kim came to faith in her late teens though Young Life and she has spent most of her career in project management and leadership for the non-profit sector.  Only in the last couple years did God call her into ministry.  Kim currently serves at Gracepoint Community Church.  She has a heart for the marginalized and believes that God calls His church to be His hands and feet in the world – making significant impact in our communities.

 

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SAVE THE DATE    |   Leverage is hosting a retreat for women in leadership October 17-19 2018. 

In preparation of the upcoming retreat, keep checking in for special  blog posts on the trifecta of leading well: PLAN-PRAY-PLAY

Anna Koehn