Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I got fired from the carnival. SWORD - PART 4

I got fired from the carnival. SWORD - PART 4

An angry, sweaty man with a surprisingly full mouth of teeth fired me from the carnival. My time as a "Carny" was admittedly short. It was a matter of hours. I never got the travel to another small town, never got to befriend the people that had trailers with showers which I was told was really the key to carny life. I never got to take tickets from happy kids about to throw up on the Spintacular Whiplash ride. I never got to eat cotton candy for three meals a day. The reason I got fired?

I incorrectly put together a ride.

As far as I can tell with the way I was yelled at, there is a certain pattern to proper ride construction. There is a rhythm to sliding the bolts together and the bars together and all the other parts that keep riders in the rides and carnival owners out of court.

The thing I learned that day as I walked away from the other people correctly putting the ride together is that there is a pattern to most things in life. It's the reason that they can "casually" throw rides up in a matter of minutes. The speed is not accidental. The moves are not wasted. The workers know what they are doing.

They know that somethings in life are about order.

That's the O in my SWORD concept. S was Serve and W was worship. Tonight though, let's look at Order.

The business world has long known about the power and importance of putting things in order. There are books and books and books written on the idea but one idea sticks out to me. Here it is:

What gets measured gets done.

Put another way, the things you keep track of are the things you will focus on and accomplish. The things you ignore will be well, ignored. And when you don't keep track of things, when you don't monitor them or measure them in some way, you're ignoring them.

One of the greatest lies in Christianity is the idea you should wait to do something until you "feel called by God." Wait. Wait. Wait. I'm not telling you to put your hands back on the steering wheel and take control of your life. What I am telling you is that all too often we wait until we are "inspired" to connect with God.

We say things like, "I just don't feel like having a quiet time." Or, "I just wish I wanted to spend time with God." Or "I'm not on fire anymore and I don't want to fake it. I don't want to just do it to do it you know? I want it to be real."

I want your relationship with God to be real too, but why would you give that much power to feelings? Feelings lie. The heart is deceitful above all things. Your emotions cannot be your compass.

I choose to love my wife each day. I don't wait until I feel moved to write, if I did I would never have anything other than a blank page. I rarely feel like skipping to work in the parking lot. But I make decisions that drive my actions, instead of hoping that my feelings will act the way I want them to.

But enough about carnivals and business ideas, what does the Bible have to say about ordering your life?

But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 1 Corinthians 14:40

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

I love that one in Ephesians because it tells you how, what and why.

How: live carefully, not as unwise but as wise
What: make the most of every opportunity
Why: because the days are evil.

Tomorrow, the first thing I am going to do is focus on what my day is going to be like. Then I'm going to think my way through any possible challenges. Then I'm going to decide how I'll react to those situations so I won't be emotionally hijacked when they actually occur. (Someone else's phrase to describe what happens when the chemicals associated with emotion flood your brain and take over.)

I'm going to order my day. And then I'm going to do it all over again the next day and the day after that.


seven said...

Good words. I would like to have a plan for my days (one that would allow me to be flexible as well) so that I waste less of them.

Ally said...

This reminds me of the struggle people describe with tithing. They don't want to tithe because they feel like they can't do it with a joyful heart, so they figure they are better off ignoring God's Word.

I finally realized that when it came to tithing I needed to fake it until I make it. Once I started tithing my feelings followed my actions, and I eventually began to joyfully give.

I appreciate this series; thanks!

Anonymous said...

Love reading your site.

JJ said...

As a lover of those "minute carnivals," I really, really appreciate that guy firing you. And as someone who struggles at work I really, really appreciate the reminder that my day needs order.