I may be stating the obvious; life is full of wicked problems. Wicked problems are those gnawing at the heart and mind with no obvious path to resolution or solution. Everywhere one turns another wicked problem is hiding, ready to strike terror and uncertainty in the hearts of those who are aware.
The source varies. I am convinced that Evil has a role in making things more difficult but often it is hard to pinpoint just how and where. It is as if everything is conspiring! Whatever I thought I was planning to do I cannot; changes are needed. Yet the question “what to do” is almost unanswerable.
I am in the middle of a wicked problem. The plans of January, full of hope, commitment, and logic are unwinding because there is a severe lack of people qualified to do the work on the team. The few that I had are now moving into new opportunities with my blessing because it is the right thing for their lives at this time. In the silence that remains I find myself wondering aloud. I do see three steps that apply to all wicked problems.
First; the obvious isn’t the obvious. In the story of old Jesus and the disciples had gone in two directions. “The next day the crowd that was left behind realized that there had been only one boat, and that Jesus had not gotten into it with his disciples. They had seen them go off without him.” (John 6.22) The crowd came to a logical deduction. They were wrong. Much of our analysis and conclusions about wicked problems is the same. Be open to the unexpected and unusual.
Second, resetting one’s perspective isn’t optional, it is mandatory. Sailors take fresh bearings often. Our awareness is never omnipresent. Take time to reflect, reset, and aim.
Third, life is about the process not the conclusion. Just because you had a destination yesterday doesn’t mean that it must always be “the” goal.
In short; be open, regularly adjust one’s aim, and always be true to God’s values.