I don’t hear the word very often anymore, but oscillating fans were popular when I was younger. A simple graphic I recently saw stuck with me. I searched for it, unsuccessfully, but it had an image of an old-style fan, and it simply said, “I oscillate.”
At the time, with the variety of topics and issues surrounding me, I thought, “Me, too. Me. Too.”
I’ve thought about it several times since. What exactly do I mean when I say I oscillate? Ironically, it’s difficult to capture, just as the ever-moving directional breeze of the oscillating fan is difficult to catch.
Oscillating isn’t haphazard. It’s not going back and forth between two opposing ideas. When I oscillate, I don’t waffle or flip flop. The process is more intentional and steady. Oscillating has boundaries, yet it’s not rigid. It doesn’t get stuck, but it also maintains some control. It doesn’t unexpectedly change input. The angle might change, but the general direction does not. The fan doesn’t suddenly start sucking air instead of blowing it. Each side continues with its respective purpose.
I oscillate. and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I invite you to do the same. Instead of blowing air in one direction, share it a little. Shift your impact and perspective a little. Know your boundaries, but do the most good. And doing the most good requires being a bit flexible, being willing to learn and experience, sharing right to the edge of the comfort zone.
We too easily become stuck. Many times we don’t realize it. If we realize we’re stuck, we sometimes radically shift as a knee-jerk reaction, as if we move the fan to a completely different location—then promptly get stuck again, although at least now, we claim we’re not stuck because of we’re not where we were.
It might be a good time to examine where you are, how intentional you are in your boundaries and directions of impact, and how flexible you are in change.