How do I work with people who just don’t work?

How do we work with people who are completely different from us? My strategy has always been to either make it work by forcing them into action or insist that I do all the work by myself. Yet, if you consider these options, you will notice that neither one of them achieves the ultimate goal of causing both of us to grow by learning to relate with each other better.

As a person who finds it more natural to be concentrated on projects than people, I often found myself asking myself, What kind of success can I enjoy while I must be working with this person? Clearly they were only getting in the way of what I could be accomplishing if they didn’t happen to be in my way.

I really knew nothing about working together. I asked myself, Why do we even have to try to make this work? They obviously didn’t want the same things that I did? My eyes were too focused on my own performance for me to see beyond myself to the gifts of the other person.

These motivations can work for you for a good long time, but its funny that as humans we would say that something works for us when it causes us so much frustration. Maybe we are too afraid to try another way; maybe our own goals would be compromised; maybe our efforts would end with a greater return for the other person than ourselves.

But there comes a point when we realize that we are only getting so far with goals that are not absolutely critical anyway. All the success in the world is worth little if we do not have people to bless by it. Relationships are the facilities that support our hearts; although they are what test us the most, yet they are give us the most to treasure.

Sometimes it takes a trial that compromises our ability to work to show us where life really resides — at least, it did for me. I discovered that I was really only going in circles in everything that I was doing unless I was intent on walking somewhere with God and others. I would not grow in the ways that I wanted to unless I opened the door that guarded my heart and let people walk in and out.

We do not worry that our efforts will be wasted, that our hearts will be mistreated, that we will regret not living for ourselves and our work. We do not wait for the other person to change, we do not wait for the perfect person that will be worthy of our vulnerability, we do not wait until we feel more comfortable with this self-adjustment. Instead, we take action. We lean in close to our Father — in whose contact we are absolutely secure — and ask Him what He has in mind for us. We plead His peace and faith to trust His protection of our weak little hearts. And for every instance that the other person will wound or worry us, we choose to desire this above all: that He would show us how much we could bend to bring the heart of God near to them in our actions.

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