Team life is a little like banking!
Don and I were living overseas when our kids were younger. Our older two children went to a national private school where they learned Arabic, English and a little bit of French. It was time for a parent-teacher meeting. I was feeling rather busy and thought Don should be the parent to go there. He was also feeling rather busy and he thought I should be the one to go. We had several ‘discussions’ about this topic. In the end, I went (being a good, submissive wife) but not with a very good attitude (this pretty much cancelled out the positive aspect of submitting!). I think it would be safe to say I had a very negative, bitter attitude. I was mad…so mad that I didn’t want to talk with him or be near him.
Soon after this squabble we had a team meeting at our apartment. I’m not sure what I expected to happen, but I was still so mad I didn’t care. I did not sit next to him at the meeting. Did I think no one would notice? It was apparent to my teammate that there was an issue since Don and I normally sat next to each other (and talked to each other!). After our meeting, she came up to me and asked, “Did you and Don have an argument?”
“Yes we did,” I replied. Before I could go into the unfairness of me having to go to the meeting, she simply said, “Get it fixed!”
Now, my friend is one of the sweetest, kindest, most compassionate women I know. When she told me what to do I knew she was right. I didn’t get angry. I wasn’t upset … maybe a little surprised but more convicted than anything! After the team meeting I did what she said. I got it fixed!
One of the reasons she could confront me and I could accept it and change my attitude, is that I knew she loved me. In the ‘bank account’ of our friendship (so to speak) she had been making many deposits. She called me to see how I was, we babysat each other’s kids, we did ministry together, we took care of each other when we were sick, we prayed for each other, we worshiped together, she was someone I could turn to when I was having an awful day. I remember one morning in particular. Picture a frazzled mom, four little kids, a pair of scissors and a cut up curtain. Before breakfast.
After the school bus picked up two of my kids and the other two were at their preschool I went to my friend’s building and knocked on her door. Unannounced and unexpected, I stood at her door crying. Still in her robe and quite busy herself, she took me in, let me cry and talk as she listened, cared, comforted and prayed with me. I left her apartment—not with solutions but with a strong sense of being cared for and supported.
Sometimes what happens on teams or any friendship is that the relationship ‘bank account’ has too many withdrawals—confrontations, criticisms, misunderstanding, poor communication—and the relationship can’t handle the strain of yet another withdrawal when there have been no positive deposits.
We have been blessed with loving team mates. These are friends who loved us enough to make regular deposits into our lives so that when it was time for a withdrawal, we knew it was coming from love and support.
There was another time when I was feeling overwhelmed with life and ministry and I thought we were handling it well. However, I guess it became obvious to our team we needed a little boost. The team took the initiative to take care of our kids and surprised us with a weekend away at a favorite hotel. We were blown away by their kindness. We came back refreshed and refueled. After that, they could have confronted us about anything and we could have handled it our relationship bank account was overflowing!
Loving teammates who care enough to proactively love us and to lovingly confront us are precious soul mates. Friendships can handle the hardships, stressors, disagreements, and differing opinions when the relationships are strong due to the loving deposits we make by caring, listening, serving and praying.
There have been a few times when we have been overdrawn on our bank account. There have always been fines, fees and spiraling consequences for bounced checks. We sadly ended up losing more money than the original amount of the overdraft! It was maddening.
It is the same thing with relationships. Loss, sadness and pain are always associated with too many withdrawals and insufficient deposits.
Have you made any deposits today?