Airborne Coat Hooks (Learning to Say No)
I find myself sitting here on a plane, once again gazing at what can only be described as the most unnecessary addition to passenger comfort. It’s the kind of thing that is easy to miss, and yet once you have seen it, you never forget it.
I speak of course, of the coat hook.
As my eyes wander down the rows of seats, I notice these coat hooks are found on the side of every single one, that means in this plane there would be over one hundred! Why? Just why? How many people:
- Deliberately choose to bring a loose coat on the plane, and
- Have the desire to hang in front of them rather than stow it away in the overhead lockers or under the seat?
Even if you do happen to find yourself eligible at this point, then there is the matter of the effectiveness of the hook itself. Prying with my fingernails, freaking out the person in front of me to extend the hook a mere centimetre then hardly allows for any purchase on this hypothetical coat, rendering its purpose and value once again moot!
Our Coat Hooks
Now perhaps this is just a rant, or something to fill in time on a plane, but let’s make it personal, because, if we’re honest, it’s so easy for our lives to develop coat hooks.
Take a moment to think. Are there activities or even people in your life right now, whether that be in your workplace or in moments of leisure, taking up time and space that like an airborne coat hook:
- seem out of place?
- are unnecessary?
- aren’t achieving the purpose that they were chosen to produce?
Perhaps these could be the coat hooks on the seat of your life, and maybe they are getting in the way of who God is calling you to be, and the mission that God is calling you toward. Is there something you need to say no to?
I’m reminded of when Jesus declared, “Who called me to be a judge or arbiter among you?” (Luke 12:14) Essentially he was saying, this is not my job, and he wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of what his Father was calling him toward.
As a leader, saying no to things isn’t always easy, it takes a humility that recognises that we can’t do everything, and perhaps more importantly that we shouldn’t do everything, but like we see in Jesus’ example, it also creates the opportunity to say yes.
After all, coat hooks are great, just not on a plane.