It should not come as a surprise when we find barriers in our way. Great ideas encounter obstacles. Powerful movements attract opposition. Leaders find adversaries. The fact that we encounter barriers in emerging and evolving forms should be normal part of life. Yet, I find myself and others complaining about their existence. They are unfair, uneducated, and informed. They are un-something!
Barriers are companions with freedom. Barriers tend to coexist with critical thinking, diversity, and teamwork. One person’s barrier is another’s conviction. One person’s obstacle is another’s belief. One person’s adversary is another’s advocate. Barriers will always in the presence of diversity, freedom, and choice.
I find that when I embrace barriers, seeking to understand, my vision grows. I am more because of the process. Wisdom keepers discovered this long ago. “One day, learning that both the Jews and non-Jews had been organized by their leaders to beat them up, they escaped as best they could to the next towns—Lyconia, Lystra, Derbe, and that neighborhood—but then were right back at it again, getting out the Message.” (Acts 14.5-7)
Several articles recently brought me up to date on an old adversary. This individual was an extraordinary, extended barrier in my life! As I caught up and learned more of the individual’s story, I found myself realizing that my approach of repeatedly hitting the barrier was fatedly flawed.
In hindsight, I realized life is always about More. Each barrier in our journey gives us the following opportunities.
Barriers open an opportunity to see from a different perspective. Differences are never automatically right or wrong; they are opportunities to walk with another.
Barriers create space between us that allow us to exchange ideas. Space is more than distance. Space comes different words, experiences, and goals. The best answer is often between us.
Barriers provide a window to examine our values and way of looking at life. Critical thinking can emerge from barriers if we choose to embrace and respect the views of others.
Relationships, even barriers, are a unique gift in our lives. We can treasure our gifts.