January 21, 2013

Moving Lessons

Moving provides interesting insights.

We've spent the last week from sun-up to past sundown painting, scraping, cleaning, packing, and unpacking. It's brutal, and I'm looking forward to getting back to my day job as a break.

I realized for instance that kitchen cabinets are like deviled eggs: you can never have too many. I discovered that knickknacks multiply in the dark, and the saying that everything has a place and a place for everything isn't universally true.

I also confirmed that when it comes to change, I prefer to paint. Our new house was in pretty good shape but we wanted to add our own colors. We also needed to strip off the wallpaper in the foyer.

Despite my best intentions, I don't have the steady hand needed for trimming, so I was relegated to wallpaper removal.
Painting is immediately satisfying: you can see the change right away. There's even gratification in watching the paint dry.

Stripping the wallpaper was a lesson in patience and persistence. This paper must have been hot-glue gunned to the wall. I could only scrape off inch by inch, top layer, backing, then glue. Progress was excruciatingly slow.

My dad, husband, and friends moved from the family room to bedrooms to dining room, transforming them into our space with the flick of a brush. I moved from chair rail to baseboard.
With this focused time, I began to think about how painting and scraping relates to implementing and measuring change.

In our churches, some leaders push for change to occur like painting a room: some prep and trimming, then rapid, rolling transformation. Some in the pews appreciate this rate of change as well.

But others are more comfortable with change that can be measured with a schoolhouse-ruler.
The challenge, I think, for change agents is the ability to embrace this range, from swift to steady. We must acknowledge that some change can and should occur quickly while other changes need time and space.

Leading and promoting both kinds of change is a challenge. But it helps to know that eventually both led to the same, new place.