Changing Types

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Eva is my Type A.

She was arranging her own schedule when she was three.

She even invented a way of measuring time leading up to major events by referring to sleep as “light naps” (afternoon naps), and “dark naps” (going to bed at night).

Q: “How many naps until we go to JoJo’s house?” (That’s Grandma Nesbitt).

A: “Three dark naps, two light naps.”

Eva has to know everything that’s going on, when it’s going to happen, who’s involved and where it’s going to take place. She’ll order the boys around, try and figure out the ride situation as well as seating, and even try to negotiate a change-of-course to include a stop for ice cream.

I celebrate my daughter. She’s incredible, and Jenny and I have always known that she’s going to shake the world up for the Kingdom.

But as a parent, working with her constant need-to-know can often be, well, fatiguing. And tedious.

At some point I have to ask her, “Do you trust me?”

Like yesterday when we were preparing to go out on the boat. A lot of questions were asked about details. Finally I leaned over the back seat and said, “Eva, just enjoy the ride.”

As her father, I’ve noticed that Eva enjoys the experiences of her life far more when she leaves the surprises up to me.

As I walked down the dock toward our boat I heard something in my own spirit.

“Christopher, enjoy the ride,” said my Heavenly Father.

It’s a phrase I picked up in Hawaii at my favorite surf shop. Jenny’s been reminding me of it. God’s been reminding me of it. And now I’m reminding me of it as I teach it to this little Type A that’s the female version of me.

It’s amazing how much like Eva we all are. Sure, there’s a healthy, natural curiosity to all of us. But then there’s the “if I don’t know how everything’s going to work out, I’m not sure I want in” angle.

And that comes down to trust.

As I was meditating on just how much I care for Eva and have her best interests in mind, I was reminded just how much our Father think of us fondly. Constantly. Perfectly.

He’s aware of every detail and nothing surprises him. Nothing’s going to catch him off guard concerning us, nothing has escaped his scope of view.

Funny how this parenting thing works.

We enjoy the experiences of our lives far more when we leave the surprises up to the Father.

My little Type A is slowly teaching me to become a Type E. Enjoy the ride.

ch:

Is Your Type-A On Board?

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Do you ever struggle to rest?

Sure, we’d all enjoy a free vacation. But what would you do on that vacation, say, on day 4 of 10?

I’ve found that most people who are type-A, producers, drivers, have a hard time resting. I don’t mean sleeping (though that could sometimes be included). Type-A’s probably sleep too well – my wife often counting to 20 from when my head hits the pillow to when I’m snoring. I mean actually unplugging from their brain’s constant “on” setting and disconnecting completely.

The real problem is, there isn’t just one button to turn off.

There are about 30.

We’re constantly creating, managing, and revising. Our entrepreneurial spirit is looking at the next horizon, and our eyes are keen to spot new opportunities. Even when we’re “not” working.

In our creative lives, we have to switch off the:

• It’s fun to make something from nothing.

• If that person can do it, so can I.

• If no one else is doing it, I will.

• My previous idea worked, so this one could be even better.

• If I fix this right now, it will increase value longterm.

For most authentic drivers, we also carry deep senses of accountability and responsibility. Our creative impetus is linked to strong emotional triggers.

In our ethical lives we have to turn off:

• My value is proportional to what I produce.

• If I’m not doing something I’m being lazy.

• If I don’t work hard my household will suffer.

• I have a deep sense of loyalty to my employer; I can not fail them.

• I have a deep sense of loyalty to my employees; I must be there for them.

I am far from the authority on exactly how to switch everything off (very open to concise, wise council from experienced leaders), but I’m learning.

Things that have been convicting me and subsequently empowering me to turn off my “systems”:

• My longterm success is dependent on my present-term health.

• Things can wait.

• People need me more than projects need me; prioritize people accordingly.

Before you tell a type-A they should take a break, think through their lives a little before offering what appears to them as flippant advice. They do want your help, they just need it accurately and in context.

One of the most practical steps I’ve committed to recently – at the request of my wife and the example of my senior pastor – is turning my iPhone off at 6pm. My wife needs it, my kids need it, and I need it.

At home I’m also trying to work less and play more.

It’s not just a vacation we need, it’s a well-managed life where all the buttons get turned off in sequence before we hit the beach. ch: