Life.Work.Care. 2018 Vision Trip to Colombia

Life.Work.Care. 2018 Vision Trip to Colombia

In June 2018, a few members of the N2 Family (along with an honorary member) embarked on the first Vision Trip to Bogota, Colombia. If you know anything about N2 Publishing, you know the company’s giving program, N2GIVES, is near and dear to the hearts of the founders, executives, and every team member. N2GIVES partners with All God’s Children International (AGCI) in Colombia to help fight human trafficking. This year, Life.Work.Care. organized a Vision Trip for N2 team members as a way to give more than donated funds – to give the gift of time– to our mission. Six team members witnessed the construction of a long-time vision turned reality — the Dream Home – a place for girls who have aged out of government housing but still need support in their transition.

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It's the Most Wonderful Time

Lights, gifts, songs, time off work…it must be the most wonderful time of the year, right? Well perhaps for most people, but not all. And perhaps even the people that say it is, are not really being honest. Let’s get real here, the holiday season, for many people can be the most difficult time of the year.

Instead of being able to celebrate the lights, maybe someone is struggling with personal darkness. Rather than thinking about gifts, perhaps families are grieving over the gift of a loved one they have lost. While many of us listen to holiday songs, for some individuals the only song they have in their head is the song of anxiety over the financial cost of the season. And although most of us enjoy some time off work, for some it means being alone with nothing to do.

I’m not trying to be the Grinch, but instead I want to do the opposite by challenging you to either bring hope to someone or to find hope as you struggle. However, to bring hope to someone or to find hope, you often have to start with reality. The reality is, the holiday season can be the most difficult time of the year for some people. So, what can we do?

If you find yourself in the position of enjoying the holidays and it’s the best time of the year, let me challenge you to make it better for someone else. Take a moment to think. Who do you know is struggling with finances? Perhaps send them some money anonymously. Do you know of someone who had a bereavement in their family? How about sending them a note to express your hurt and sadness for them. What about someone you know who struggles with illness or depression? Is there a way you can practically serve them? And what about the individual who you know will be on their own Christmas Day? Would it be possible to set another place at the table and invite them over? Great, for you it’s the most wonderful time of the year, now think about making it more wonderful for someone else.

But what if you are the person who is hurting, grieving, anxious, or not looking forward to the holiday season? Is there anything you can do? Trust me, I have been on both sides of this experience, and I believe there are things you can do. Yes, they won’t be easy, but can I encourage you to do them? Take some time out and count the blessings and the good things in your life. You might have a lot of hard things to cope with, but you still have good things, so celebrate those. Learn to be bold and swallow your pride at the same time. If you can do this then maybe you can reach out to a work colleague or friend, tell them how you are struggling and be bold enough to ask for help, or if you could hang out at some point during the holidays. One of the hardest yet best ways to cope is to not think about yourself. Instead, look for someone you know that is in a similar or worse position and love and serve them. Trust me, you will get more out of it than you know. Finally, it’s ok to not be ok. Life can stink at times and it can really hurt, especially during the holiday season, so don’t view yourself as different or unusual when you see everyone else happy. You never know, maybe their smile is a fake, and your admission of reality is what they need to see and hear.

But can I speak freely here for a moment? It actually is the most wonderful time of the year, but not because of lights, gifts, songs or time off work. It’s wonderful because of a wonderful story. A story where our Creator gets our struggle, gets our suffering, and gets our darkness. It’s the time of year that reminds us that we do need help and we can’t do it on our own. It’s a story that provides the beginning of change that can transform all of our shortfalls, our mess, our meaning and purpose into something more than the story we find ourselves in.

I personally struggle at this time of the year, because I know I am meant to be happy, but like many people I struggle with depression, fears, doubt, loneliness, anxiety, temptation, and overall with a story that doesn’t always go according to my plan. Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, I hope you will join me in remembering that our little individual story needs to be attached to a much bigger plan, and a much bigger story, that is only possible because of this time of year.

Written by David Clyde

Conflict Resolution

Our Home Office was recently graced with a visit from N2’s Care Team leader, David Clyde. The go-to guy for help and advice on emotional care (anxiety, depression, marriage, you name it), “DC” gathered everyone together for our semi-monthly Lunch and Learn to present on the topic of conflict resolution. What he shared was too good to keep to ourselves, so below is an overview of DC’s thoughts on what causes conflict and how to resolve it.

P.S. For the most accurate experience, be sure to read this post in a thick Irish accent!

IF YOU WANT PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE, EXPECT CONFLICT.

Unless you move somewhere with a population of zero, conflict will come your way. It’s not something we can easily escape from.

Think about the last time you were in a conflict with someone. When asked the reason for it, you may have responded with if he would only…, or she has no respect for…, or if they could just… But, here’s the thing: your biggest problem in conflict is not the other person – it’s you.

Our heart desires certain things – peace, comfort, control, approval, etc. – and if or when we don’t get those things from people, the overflow of our heart comes out. The people we are in conflict with are simply instruments that expose what is already within us.

HOW DO WE RESOLVE CONFLICT IF OUR HEART IS THE PROBLEM?

The solution always depends on the diagnosis. Common “solutions” include avoiding the person (which will work so long as you can avoid them and if they aren’t your wife or kids!), compromising (which is fine until someone doesn’t follow through on their commitment), or seeking mediation from a third party (which will work for each individual conflict, but then you will need mediation again and again).

But if the problem of conflict is the heart, then the solution has to be a heart solution, not a symptomatic solution. So, what steps do we take for a heart solution?

  1. An honest self-examination – What do you want? Can you see your shortfalls? What are you not getting? Are you able to step out of the ‘heat of conflict’ and take a real look at the situation? How are you reacting when you don’t get what you want?
  2. Let go of what you want – Are you willing to let go of what you want? If not, why not? Do you value the relationship more than the thing you want or desire? What has taken over your desires?
  3. View yourself correctly – What are others seeing in you? Are you showing irrational behavior? Is your avoidance, aggressiveness, and anger impacting others negatively?
  4. Reach out to the people you need to – Can you be sacrificial and love them? Can you encourage them rather than rebuke them? Can you help them in areas of weakness or fear? Will you graciously speak truth into their life rather than fight with them? Can you exchange patience and pursue peace rather than conflict? What action will you take to do right?
  5. Figure out a plan – To help resolve conflict, have you come to a good understanding of yourself and the other person? Have you been honest to one another about your heart and desires? What will it look like to extend love and grace to each other? Can you involve others to help you stick with a plan for peace?

OFTEN, CONFLICT IS A BATTLE BETWEEN PRIDE AND HUMILITY.

While pride makes you more aware of other people’s faults over your own, humility makes you more aware of your own faults. While pride weakens or kills relationships, humility strengthens and builds them. So, there are dangers of not addressing your heart and pride first. No matter what, you will still experience conflict. We have no choice in that. Where you do have a choice is how you will resolve it.

Written by David Clyde