It was 1:58 AM on Sunday morning and our oldest son made his way into our bedroom.
This does happen on occasion. Perhaps he’s had a bad dream or he’s feeling ill. Either way, graciously my wife typically deals with it quickly and we’re back to sleep in no time.
This night however, there was joy in his voice. My son had lost his first tooth!
The next morning, he was still bouncing with excitement. It got me thinking about God’s design for losing teeth and how it connects to changes in business or ministry.
1. The tooth gets loose; which causes the child some discomfort preventing the child from using that small part of their mouth. (i.e. They tend to avoid biting and chewing with that tooth.)
- When a certain area of business or ministry needs to change or be removed, there are signs before hand. It is evident that the project or program is not as productive as it once was. Little by little, time and resources are moved to a less sensitive department.
2. The tooth is ready to come out, but it’s barely hanging on. Everyone, including the child knows that it needs to be removed; but the child fears that it may be painful. (By this time, the tooth is useless. Absolutely no biting or chewing can be accomplished.)
- We’ve all been here. The area of the organization has had its day in the sun, but it is over. A few people are desperately holding on, terrified at the pain that might come from pulling the project or program. Yet, they hold on for dear life, ignoring the possibility for new growth that could come from letting go.
3. The child makes their stand and announces that the tooth must go! On a first tooth, this process is assisted with a team of more experienced tooth extraction experts (mom, dad and of course, older siblings). It might be the string on the door knob trick, or just a simple encouragement for the child to grab and yank. Either way, the tooth gets pulled!
- This is the toughest move for a business or ministry. For those more experienced, they stand firm in their conviction that the project or program must be eliminated. Nevertheless, there are some who are fearful of the potential pain. If problems arise, the organization may even call in some experts to get the job done.
4. The tooth is out! The child immediately turns from concern to excitement! The right of passage has been fulfilled and there, an empty space for new growth of a stronger, more mature adult tooth. (Furthermore, the opportunity to cash the tooth in with the Tooth Fairy is always an added bonus!)
- Once the organization has pulled the unproductive program or project, the pain is finally over and excitement arrives. Space is now available for something stronger and more beneficial. An opportunity to make a better investment of time and resources.
Whether it’s a tooth, a project or a program; the change may be difficult and potentially painful. Nevertheless, it will lead to new growth!
Can you remember when you lost your first tooth? Were you afraid of the potential discomfort or pain? Is your business or ministry facing the removal of a project or program? Like teeth, will there be new growth from that process?
Photo Credit: J. Norton, Missing Tooth, Mar. 18. 2014