Global athletic retailer, lululemon athletica, has a position in its corporate offices known as the “Director of Possibility” filled by a woman named Susanne Conrad. (I’ll let you relish in that amazing job title for a second.)
Susanne is also the founder of igolu (pronounced I-Goal-You)–“a body of innovative communication, vision, goal-setting, and leadership training work that certifies others to lead.”
As a fellow communications advocate, I loved my time while working at lululemon, getting to personally develop and lead through Susanne’s work. One of my favorite tools of her’s is a simple concept called “Above and Below the Line”.
That might be self-explanatory, but it’s predominantly about reactive vs. choice-based thinking and listening. [**You can listen to her podcast here. Don’t mind the random jungle-sounding intro music]. Susanne summarizes it, stating:
“We are always and only listening to ourselves. When you are above the line, you are connected to your best self and are living from responsibility and choice. Finding your own unique shifts will help you get back above the line quickly when you have accidentally fallen below.”
At first glance, this might sound like fleeting, self-help talk. And yet– the fact that a single thought is fully capable of causing an avalanche of more thoughts–positive or negative, at any given moment, is one of the REALEST things there is.
You already knew that though–right?
We’re rarely aware, or even remotely interested, in taking note of the epic ride our thoughts take us on. We dance and dance and dance around issues. We mull them over 234,243,564 different ways.
We rise above them, we fall below them. We’re satisfied. We’re unsatisfied. Repeat.
It’s crippling and it’s exhausting. I know because I’m pretty sure I majored in it. I practically wrote the course on digging a hole for yourself and staying below the line, only to realize…
A lot of thoughts take you in a direction you were never meant to go.
Long story short, this past week I was particularly reminded of the “Above and Below The Line” concept when I came across this:
Building on Susanne’s work, I didn’t just think about whether I was above or below, as in positive vs. negative, I further thought of this line specifically as:
A line between a victim mentality and one of freedom. A line between an attitude of lack and full abundance. A line between a depressive state and discovering joy. A line between ruthless negativity and choosing a mindful, uplifting state. A line between shameful paranoia and redemptive confidence.
A line between discontented longing and patient contentment. A line between paralyzing anxiety and holding peace. A line between constant hurry and finding rest. A line between holding back and opening up.
Yes, drawing ‘this line’ is a definitely a shift.
It’s a line that redirects to growth and wonder; trust & faith. Community over competition. Grace over condemnation. Progress over perfection. Self-love over self-loathing. Selfishness for learning selflessness.
But honestly? It’s even simpler than alllll that.
It comes down to drawing ‘this line’ between my agenda and His. A line between my desires and His direction. A line between fearing and facing man and ‘fearing‘ and answering to God. A line between being “one of those who shrink back, and one of those who have faith and preserve their souls” [Hebrews 10:39]. Frankly, it’s a line of surrender. It’s trading my ways for His.
You see, there’s a pretty incredible thing about ‘tHIS line’…
It’s when you experience how the moment you tip-toe below it [ohh and you will–over & over], is the moment you meet His ever-present grace, reaching out and pulling you back above it (time and time again). Because drawing ‘tHIS line’ is learned in moments of testing, not triumph. And because you’re choosing to draw ‘tHis line’, He returns to you the desires of your heart—and then some. Trust me when I say:
You can out dig the world, but you can never dig deeper than His love for you.
In John 16:33, Jesus said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Did you catch that?
“You. will. have. trouble.”
“BUT take heart! I have overcome the world.”
That’s Jesus-speak for tHis big, fat line being drawn. This line is your foundation of His truth. An invitation to build your life on the promises of God’s word–long past the situations, circumstances, environments, and people that cause pain & feel shaky.
You don’t have to think about it very hard, for very long anymore.
‘THis line’ is your fresh horizon of possibility that always stretches out ahead of you. You can’t outrun it, you can’t catch it, but it’s always there to direct and uplift your gaze.
“Don’t undervalue the potential of what’s in your midst. Our ability to change is one of the most valuable things we have and no one is a victim. We’ve all been given the ability to rise above.”
So stop asking for all the details. You don’t need them. Stop ruminating on what could be or what should’ve been, because there’s a lesser-known beauty and it’s called what is. And even better–there’s full assurance in what will be.
This line isn’t a one-and-done type deal either. It’s one you’ll have to willingly draw and dance upon every day.
Draw it on the revelation that you’re a beautiful work in progress. Draw it on the determination to never lose the wonder of learning something new. Connect back to your “best self”, by grounding yourself in His truth.
Let ‘tHis line‘ be the platform of promises on which you dance—in Jesus’ name. I dare you to draw it & watch how your steps fall into place.