1 Corinthians 7:25 I do not have a command from the Lord … But the Lord in his mercy has given me wisdom that can be trusted, and I will share it with you.
James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.
We got home yesterday from a week in Colorado for mission meetings, our first travel by plane since Covid began; eighteen months since we have seen our colleagues except by Zoom. The nineteen of us able to participate arrived in a variety of levels of stress, distress, and exhaustion, including from Covid.
Dave and I are in the middle of the pack in our mission team, called the IMT (International Ministry Team, because we all work in multiple countries). Only three or four couples are younger than we are. We benefit from the years of experience and wisdom and perspective of those who have been running this race longer than us—what a privilege! And the younger ones inspire us constantly with their different, often humorous “take” on life and world events.
One topic was resilience through this VUCA time (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous). VUCA—terminology borrowed from the military—and how it can be countered by “VUCA Prime”: vision, understanding, clarity, agility. (You can find many VUCA resources on the internet.) Agility in VUCA time calls for shorter-term plans, and the ability to pivot as needed.
In many of the countries where we work, VUCA is not new—it describes the everyday world of those whose resources are always in short supply. Covid is just one more factor in their precarious struggle for daily survival. And I can say that much of Karis’s life was characterized by all four VUCA characteristics. But in so many ways, the world has changed, and we don’t know yet how we’ll need to adapt.
Thus, we realized it’s more important than ever for us as a team to share with each other the wisdom and perspective God gives us. We’re better together. Dave and I came home feeling encouraged if not rested (our schedule was intense), more appreciative of the combined wisdom and strength God gives through team.
At one point our leader said, “We must be willing to experiment. Some of those experiments won’t ‘work,’ but we’ll all learn from them. Our team is a safe place where there is no such thing as failure.” I thought of Thomas Edison saying “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
As I regroup at home, I want that sense of safety to be true of my family and friendships as well as my mission team. So much is not under our control. I want to contribute to the security of those I love in any way I can.