Jan 09, 2011 by Don Payne | 0 Comments
My cell phone. My internet service. My software packages. My skill sets. My life is ravaged by the need for upgrades! The notion of an upgrade sometimes provides a sense of exhilaration. Anything new and “better” can do that sometimes. Upgrades are not merely advancements and improvements, though. The upgrades I have in mind represent something we have to have or have to learn because an important area of life has moved beyond what we currently have. We can’t continue (or at least not without being disadvantaged) unless we upgrade somehow. What fleetingly feels cool or fun (who doesn’t enjoy a faster computer or more multi-function cell phone?) turns into an endless string of expenses and a subtle fear that we’re behind.
Enough of my whining. We occupy a playing field that is marked by the need for upgrades; like it or not! Recently, however, I awakened to the need for a different type of upgrade – a character upgrade. In much the same way as with my computer software, my life had moved ahead to places where my character was stretched to keep up with the new demands. To be honest, I like the need for character upgrades even less than the relentless string of technological upgrades I face. At least I get a temporary buzz at the thought of a faster laptop! Deepened, stronger character is obviously much more significant, but (again, being candid) does not provide nearly the same thrill.
In some interesting ways, I’m in a poignant season of life. That may sound rich and appealing, and in a sense it is. In this case, though, poignancy simply indicates an intense convergence of powerful currents. To be less figurative, I’m facing choices and questions and challenges that demand greater wisdom, patience, love, humility, and perseverance than has yet been cultivated in me. My own life has moved beyond me, beyond my character. I’m tempted to face these challenges by seeking the immediate answers or solutions that will get them out of my life and let me float back to a comfortable place. If I open myself to a character upgrade, though, deeper change must occur; change that will make a difference not merely in what I’m facing, but in the person I bring to those obstacles.
It’s fashionable, if not cliché, these days to euphemistically call obstacle and problems “opportunities”. Really, the only thing that transforms problems into opportunities is recognizing and facing the character upgrade we each need in the face of those problems.