As we amble through life, there are inevitably things that break down and need fixing. Most of us accept breakdowns, though unwelcome, as more or less normal when it comes to mechanical things such as cars, snowmobiles, computers and such. And we can call on a whole group of professional technicians to do the fixing—including physicians, where our health is concerned.
However, there’s another type of breakdown where we can’t just hand the problem off to a professional. Even if a professional is available and can be of some help, the onus of fixing falls squarely on oneself. I’m referring to breakdowns of a personal nature, such as the kind that happen in our workplaces. Conflict with colleagues can be the cause of unbearable workplace stress, poisoning the atmosphere to such an extent that in extreme cases one chooses to resign—which can be a real career setback—rather than fix the problem. Or we have marital breakdowns, many of which don’t get fixed and end painfully in divorce. And in the corporate world, whole businesses break down, and go under unless their problems are fixed.
The “Fixer” in each of these breakdowns is none other than the very one involved in the breakdown. If you’re involved, YOU are the fixer. Yes, you read that right—you!
“But,” you say, “I’m not a fixer, was never taught the skill.” That’s okay, and that’s why I’m writing this brief blog.
So, what does it take to fix a breakdown of this kind?
- Pray for wisdom and trust that it will be given.
- Reflect on the situation and identify the problem.
- Have a genuine desire to see it fixed.
- Accept responsibility for fixing it; don’t wait for someone else to do it.
- Have a clear mind-picture of what the situation will look like once fixed.
- Write down what needs to happen to see it fixed.
- Proceed to implement number 6, trusting God to bless your action.
Note that, whether it’s a problem at one’s workplace or a marriage in difficulty, the cure always includes taking personal responsibility to see the problem solved and not waiting for someone else to take needed action. Let me share a couple of personal examples.
I worked as a coffee truck driver for a very successful company. There were 120 of us when the Teamsters Union approached, wanting us to join their union. Since we were doing great without them, we resisted. When the union threatened to block us from many construction sites and clients we were serving, we driver-salespeople, and the company we represented, were worried. A possible strike loomed. What to do? I was “only” an employee, but I took personal responsibility and came up with a solution: form our own in-house association and register it as a legal entity. Presto! the Teamsters left us alone and we preserved our excellent relationship with our employer as well as our well-paying jobs. God blessed my action.
Here’s another example: my marriage was in jeopardy. I had been waiting for many years for my wife to change, but that hadn’t happened, and the harmony of our home was broken. Having read God’s word, where it says, “Do to others as you would have others do to you,” and “You will reap what you sow,” I thought I’d better start doing what it said and believe that different sowing—an attitude of loving concern, open discussion of what troubled me, kindness instead of resentment, and a willingness to change my own behaviour—would lead to different reaping. I trusted that God would bless my changed attitude, and that I would reap the benefit in my marriage. Sure enough, it worked!
The lesson? Pray for wisdom, believe, reflect, take responsibility, and act—realizing that the action required may be a change in your own attitudes and behaviour. Do this in your marriage as well as in your workplace, and you’ll see things that are broken move towards being fixed.
Do unto others as you would like them to do to you.
—Jesus (Luke 6:31)