Psalm 126:4-6: Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
Is there any way to say “PIVOT” without seeing that scene from Friends in your head?
Will it be helpful or exhausting to make a list of PIVOTS we’ve made in 2020?
Probably exhausting. Let’s not try it.
Pivoting is something humans do. We are good at it. We’re creative and innovative beings who know how to problem solve. We meet challenges and work around them all day, every day, sometimes without even knowing we’re doing it. My wells of anger come from Christians simply refusing to do what they have been created to do; refusing to pivot when pivoting is necessary to preserve life. Humans are born pivoting, though some of us enjoy it more than others.
But, just like in that stairwell corner in the episode, there is a limit to human pivoting. Sometimes, the couch just won’t make the turn. Sometimes there isn’t enough pivoting in all the world to solve the problem put in front of us. And other times, we are so exhausted from having to orchestrate a new pivot every day (every hour?) that our reserves of problem-solving abilities just dry up. Do you know about decision fatigue?
Good leaders know this about humans. They understand that people desire to do good and be compassionate and problem solve together, and they leverage that innate desire to get us all pulling in the same direction. They communicate with transparency. They scan the horizon so that they can prepare everyone for the next problem, and explain the next pivot so we can all turn the same way.
Good leaders do not yell at people in frustration. They do not scream nonsense words, blaming the people when the pivot stops working. They certainly don’t throw their friends and followers under the couch, crushing them with the weight of the problem. Good leaders make decisions and execute them.
Good leadership goes a long way. But even good leaders who know how to lead a pivot can’t get ahead of every curve. Pivoting is human, and it is partial, circumstantial and temporary. What the psalmist is writing about is RESTORATION and REVERSAL. Those are divine actions. The Negeb that the Psalmist names dried up until the rainy season arrived and then it flowed full again. Those who sow in tears will reap with joy. Weather patterns and seedlings’ growth are not things human can control. They are divine reversals, holy mysteries.
I am tired of pivoting. I’m fairly creative and I like problem solving, and I am tired of doing it every day. I am ready to submit myself to the mercies and refining fires of the Divine who doesn’t pivot but reverses fortunes entirely. I am ready for real, substantive, merciful, restorative change. And I know that kind of change comes – not from human striving, not from human leaders good or bad, not from any human-orchestrated pivot, but from Divine Intervention.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord. We are tired of pivoting.