Integrity can relate to multiple aspects of life
This month, our trigger focus is Integrity. Many people equate integrity to character and, while I don’t think that’s wrong, I’d like to take a more tangible approach to what that word means.
The word integrity is very commonly used in construction when talking about the stability or strength of a building. If a building has integrity, it means it is strong, safe, and sturdy – it is without any weaknesses.
Weakness – that’s an ugly word. We all have them, but we’d rather not admit it, much less talk about them. So what do we do? We try to dismiss them or cover them up somehow. This is often achieved by playing to our strengths more than addressing the weakness. But here’s the thing about weaknesses: You can try to hide them, ignore them, or even convince yourself they don’t exist, but that doesn’t rid you of your weakness.
Yes, some weaknesses can be hidden better than others and some longer than others. You may even be able to hide some indefinitely, but that weakness is still there – lurking.
I have a personal example I’d like to share with you.
Back in 2014, I played a lot of basketball. I had access to a gym here at DST, I’d play at my church every Sunday and even played an occasional game of H-O-R-S-E with my old man at my childhood home. One Sunday, I laced up my not-so-stylish basketball shoes oblivious to the fate that awaited me that night. During the first game of the night, I came off a high screen and had a wide-open lane to the basket. A defender rotated over to contest my lay-up and I tried to “hang” in the air to avoid getting blocked. As I landed, my knee buckled and I fell to the ground in quite a bit of pain. I’d felt a pop and knew I was done for the night. That week, I went to get it checked by a doctor. The doctor performed a stability test on my knee and assured me there was no structural damage.
After a few weeks, I was back on my feet playing basketball and flag football as though nothing had happened. Only thing was, I had a few times where my knee kind of gave out. I decided it was soreness and just needed some time to heal and that I would stop playing for a while.
I continued to exercise – mostly lifting and jogging – without any problems for the better part of three years. Fast forward to June of 2018. A couple of friends and DST employees got together for a pick-up game – some just-for-fun 3 on 3. I went to contest a lay-up and as I landed, I felt a very familiar pain. That same knee buckled badly and I immediately fell to the ground.
This time, I was convinced something was wrong. I went to an orthopaedic surgeon who performed a stability test on me. Similar diagnosis: he was pretty sure there was no damage, but thought I may have done something to my meniscus, so he suggested I get an MRI just to see. The results showed a completely torn (and almost dissolved) ACL. The surgeon said I had likely torn it years ago and my body had just adapted over time.
Weaknesses will be exposed eventually
I somehow managed to hide a pretty big weakness for 3 years! In the back of my mind, I knew something was wrong, but I did my best to compensate for that weakness – almost to the point where it was completely hidden.
Weaknesses in character are the same way. Just like a body or a structure, character is built and can be strengthened. A weakness in character can be hidden, covered up, or ignored, but it’s still there. The only way to remove it is to address it head-on and work on it. For my knee, that meant reconstruction surgery coupled with ongoing rehab.
Where’s the lack of integrity in your life and how long has it remained hidden or ignored? I can tell you from personal experience, it’s better to bring it to the light now and work on it than to hide it away. Because when it finally rears its head, it might do so in a painful way.