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Navigating the Neutral Zone

How do you come to the table? the decision table, that is. A person I respect offered, “Come to the table with your contribution but not with your mind made up.” Such good advice, if you can pull it off.

My problem is…I am a leaner. I am not sure I am ever neutral. I come with some predisposition. Something like, “I’ll probably say yes but I just need to ask a few questions.” Or “I don’t think I can do this but I’ll hear them out and maybe it’ll help me see more clearly.” I didn’t realize until recently the weight of my lean. You know, it’s pretty difficult to change direction once you’re leaning.

Okay. I’m not sure it’s possible to be completely neutral. I mean, how would you know? But my lean not only shifts the balance for me, it also has me looking in my own direction. I favor what supports my lean and dismiss or discard what doesn’t. This is no way to navigate the neutral zone.

Because in the neutral zone, no one has the advantage. There are no changes in possession or position. No final decisions adopted or final rulings made. It is (it should be) a place for equal exchange of ideas. A safe place to try out new ideas and different approaches. To brain storm without bias or fear of censorship. A place where you can try things on – not over top of what you are wearing -but on their own. (You know when you try something on over top of something else, you have already either decided whether or not to buy it, right?)

So I am re-committing to balance without leaning in the new year. Or at least to be honest with myself when I am leaning one way or the other but still undecided. That way I can give special attention to the counter-balancing arguments, the opposing points of view, the antagonist.

After all, whenever we move it is those muscles, the muscles that oppose, that keep us balanced upright and moving forward. And hopefully this keeps our joints from aching and injury later. That’s the way we are made to move. It just seems the reasonable way to come to the table for a balanced meal.

We are welcome to the table because God has made it available to all. But He asks us to take a seat not to stand and lean. And face to face is how every good decision is made. Thank goodness God has promised to keep an open mind. Surely, when I am seated, He will show me what He has in mind.

And I have on pretty good authority that His yes is yes and His no is no. I’m confident He will reach in and rescue me from the neutral zone, provided I am not leaning too far the other way.

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