A dump truck’s tailgate begs the question: “Do not push! Why or why not?” Photo credit: Rev. Deb Vaughn

I am fortunate to have some great encouragers in my life. The ones who know me the best are great at knowing when to challenge me, and when to just chill and let me figure it out myself. SO… think about the encouragers and challenges in YOUR life and tell us…

  1. After achieving a goal, do you set the bar higher, or rest on your laurels?
  2. Which is better: a kick in the pants or a hug and a cuppa?
  3. What’s your baseline motivation? Fear? Competition? Not getting caught? 😉
  4. When you’re facing a big challenge, do you need to talk it out, or puzzle it out yourself?
  5. Who is in your corner – always? Who helps you achieve more than you imagined you could?  (You don’t have to give names)


A picture, piece of art or music that expresses your experience of the push/pull process.


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6 thoughts on “Friday Five: Push or Pull?

  1. 1) Eventually I will set the bar higher but first I rest and evaluate.

    2) Both a kick in the pants and a hug are good, it’s all about the timing and situation.

    3) Baseline motivation is fear but there is also the occasional not getting caught ;-0

    4) I talk it out with lots of people. I work hard to find people that agree and disagree on the topic so that I can see a fuller picture. Then I pray for discernment.

    5) This may sound corny but, I have always felt that God is in my corner, even when things did not look good. Then my family all of them most of the time. Since I entered and completed seminary there are so many people, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, congregation, faculty, and strangers. I have never felt so holistically supported in my entire life. It’s the coolest feeling. I pray that everyone has a chance to feel this in their life it is just awesome!!!


  2. Friday Play Devotions:
    1. Intentionally push “pause”. I have learned that it is important to practice Sabbath and to rest and reflect on what has happened and why, as close as I can come to understanding before “letting it go”. Then, I try to set the bar higher for myself, compassionately though, so as not to become a pain in the @#$ for myself and others. I also try really hard to reflect with someone else, even if I ultimately disagree with that chosen person. Lately the process has been rather messy, so there’s that.

    2. Definitely a hug. I don’t get those much, don’t like to ask for them, and any kind of push can be terrifically frightening if there is no support or followup or checking in, or even gentle affection. I try to remember that and try not to push if I am not going to do any sort of followup. So definitely a hug…and a gentle nudge if I respect the person and they truly care about honest relationship.

    3. Motivation. Hmmmmm. I think affirmation. A sense of belonging gets me every time. Being a part of a chosen family of love and concern. Fear is a terrible motivator for me. Same with competition. I just freeze up. I respond well to gentle, wise, and nurturing souls who believe in my highest good, or most noble attributes and who invite me to process and reflect, granting me much needed time to integrate, ponder, and question, and pointing the way to resources if necessary. Encouragement goes a l-o-n-g way with me– and I try to offer that to others. Even when I am disappointed by relationships, I believe strongly in reconciliation and commitment, no matter what. So I try to pray to give encouragement for others, even when they are not aware…and to convert my heart, if I should find encouragement or support difficult to give for whatever reason.

    4. In any sort of challenge: I prefer to talk it out, confiding in a 1-2 trusted folk…examine from all angles, even if painful, and be given the support to choose a path forward, knowing that I do not walk alone. I am introverted, and shy in person, until I feel safe. Just a quirk, I guess.

    5. This is hard to answer. Ask me in 5 years. 🙂 I think that my husband was my biggest supporter. Death was a painful sorting period of friendships. I think that is a common experience for those who have lost a life partner or a child. Yesterday I read through sympathy cards that I received 2 years ago and was truly heartened again by complete strangers in my new church who trusted and had faith in our covenant (church covenant) knowing full well that I was a new widow, new mother, and who trusted that I was a more than capable pastor. And they wrote to tell me so. Those cards mean even more now that I know the people. They didn’t treat grief like a liability or me as if I were a problem to be fixed. And neither did my friends.


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