When Its Time to Not Go With the Flow

Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, our path is one decision after another.
What’s really important to you? Have you been called upon in recent times to stand up for it? I was required to do that last week when my son’s Boy Scout troop was told by its charter organization, a church, that it had to abide by a newly pronounced ban on gay leaders or find another home.

My husband and I vigorously voiced our opposition to renewing the charter. We lobbied for our troop to find a new, tolerant meeting space with another organization. It was an uncomfortable debate from top to bottom. I was raised my whole life to believe that anyone’s participation in any group was a non-issue. It’s the 21st century for God’s sake! I felt diminished by having to even discuss who could be a leader and who couldn’t, ashamed to be surrounded by conflict about it. And yet, there we were.

Not everyone in the troop felt the same way. Some believed that the ban didn’t affect them in any personal way and that the troop had been there too long to consider moving. It was just too much trouble. That was hard to swallow. It’s difficult to move forward in a group endeavor when you know that some of your fellow participants don’t share your most sacred values—especially when your kids are involved. Some people in that church no doubt felt like that too, in reverse. We feared that inertia would win out over justice and we prepared to leave. We started looking for another troop. Then an amazing thing happened: our troop voted to leave as one and find a new home.
What does this have to do with anything you might be experiencing in your own life? Well, for one, you might want to consider if there are things in your life—compromises and unhealthy situations—that you’d be far better leaving behind, even if it feels insurmountable to do so. Have you traded something precious for something easy? Is inertia winning the fight over what’s really right for you?

Here’s another thought. Standing up for what you believe, no matter how awkward it might feel, is SO much better than going with the flow—even if it’s a flow you’ve created for your own life and your own family. Putting it all on the line for what is right for you or right in a universal sense, rather than avoiding it or hoping the situation will just take care of itself is clean; it’s honest; it leaves no residue.

So as fall approaches, and the sweetness of summer fades with the heat (please let that be soon), ask yourself if you want to return to business as usual or fight resistance to get to what’s important in your life. Because the final thought I want to close with is one of faith—in others and in yourself. Always be willing to be surprised by excellent outcomes. But make your own forthrightness and conviction—about your dreams, passions, and life’s work—the beacon that inspires support for your cause.

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