“In a world of shifting loyalties, devious cons, and ever-evolving ideas, we need to know where to anchor our souls.” Chris Tiegreen: The One Year Walk with God
The first few weeks of change was quite an experience for me. Each morning waking up a little more scatter brained than the day before. Alarms going off and reminding me of what the world demands. My To Do list calling my name first thing in the morning with an urgent cry. Text messages and voicemails distracting my every move. And my calendar drawing me to its Tetris-like dimensions.
“Much to our dismay, the world is full of empty promises.” Chris Tiegreen
At some point I realized that I had to break my vain routine and exchange it with a fruit bearing one. A regimen that is outlined by God. One that plans for, schedules in, and reflects my mission in life. A custom where I respond to the calling from the depths of my heart, not react to the calling of this world. I needed to disconnect in order to set myself apart.
We have created habits and routines in our days that has kept us in a “comfort zone”. We have a habit to wake up at a certain time in the morning, we have a habit to go to that same job every day, we have a habit to make a certain amount of income, we have a habit to watch a certain TV show, we have a habit to eat good food, we have a habit to procrastinate on our personal goals, we have a habit to get that massage, etc etc etc. And these are neither good nor bad. They can serve us well. It can be good to be in this zone because it’s where we feel “zen” and in control, but it could be bad if we stay in comfort too long, because it can restrict us from reaching our fullest potential.
“If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow — you are not understanding yourself.” Bruce Lee
What is most important to understand is that when we create a habit, we tend to go on autopilot. This means that we do things without even thinking about it. It becomes a natural part of our days, our weeks, our years and could last into decades until it is impressed in our beings. The alarming part of it all is the fact that when we live in constant habit we don’t expand our lives, and we don’t think for ourselves. So when our spirit calls us to do something different, we can’t hear it and we don’t move towards it. And the longer we entertain the habit, the harder it is to break. Just because the habit served us well yesterday, doesn’t mean the habit will serve us well today and certainly not in the future. Although some habits are created for good, a habit is most commonly referred to as a dependency, craving, fixation, obsession and weakness. We were not created to stay still in a habit.
“The more you get set into your own world, the smaller your world becomes.”
― J.R. Rim
Differentiation is necessary. Authenticity is significant. Transformation is essential.
The hardest part of this separation was getting myself to believe that I am somebody outside of my routine. That my worth and value did not diminish when I left where I settled for the past ten years. Who was I trying to prove my worth and value to anyhow? Up until this point I have defined my identity with my work place. When I introduced myself, when I updated my profile, when I filled out a resume, when I offered support, the script was “Hi my name is Jenn and I work at XYZ”. That was my brand and I was taught to market myself as such. So when I leave behind that brand and I’m sitting in the unknown without clarity of my future, I feel like I have lost my identity.
“Human rationalism is not equipped to establish eternal truth.” Chris Tiegreen
In the habit, I failed to realize who I am. I am no different now, then I was then. I am still the same person, just spending time in a different environment. I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139. My job reaped the benefits of MY delivery and I am respected there because of who I AM. I am the virtue.
Now I must apply the same mentality to my new venture. All the time, energy, sweat, passion, drive and motivation I poured into my job can be re-applied to the NEW thing that God has in store for me. Is it even really new? Or has it been there all along waiting to be discovered? He has developed and equipped me for a time like this.
We were made for a specific purpose and it’s not to live our lives receiving feedback on our weaknesses. It’s to take the strengths – the gifts God has given us and excel them to our fullest potential. So that we make a difference in the world. So that we save a life. With the gift that only WE can give. Our journey is uniquely made for us to walk in it.
For this reason, we can’t compare ourselves to others like we constantly do when working in a corporation . . . or is constantly done to us when we are given that “gift of feedback”. Calibration and performance reviews reek of comparison. And what does God say about that? “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12.
Be careful of this. “For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2.
“It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” Judge 1:19
I don’t know about you but I was personally made to help others — to lift them up — not to criticize them and tell them of their faults. Who am I to tell others what they have done wrong? But is that not what our society does? Do we not judge each other in the work place, in our schools, and in our homes? Does not the manager tell the worker how to do things better as if he knows best? “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak . . . ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
Some of you have a “Fancy title, steady paycheck, and good benefits.” Then “why are you so miserable?” Pamela Slim: Escape Cubicle Nation
Robert Jaffrey was born in the late 1800’s and was a wealthy heir to his father’s business and whom had great ambitions for him. Jaffrey “sensed another calling” and moved to China to become a missionary. He developed great skill and had the “Standard Oil Company of New York knocking at his door”. They came to him with many offers and he declined them all. Finally the third time they came, they said “Jaffrey, at any cost”.
Jaffrey replied: “Your salary is big, but your job is too small”
Have you every really looked at the job you are doing every day and asked yourself if it is serving the purpose of what were created to do?
Are you defining the value and worth of your job with how big or small that paycheck is instead of how big or small your heart and soul is?
Imagine life if everyone took the same level of energy at work and applied that to the world. To a specific purpose — for good. To a specific life. How different would our world be? THIS is what a Christian walk looks like. It’s not perfect. It’s not in the “know”. It is walking in Faith. Growing along the way. Learning from your mistakes and your experiences. Taking risks and keeping your eyes fixated on Him without a budge. Just like an athlete who has a unique ability to focus. To tune everything else out and focus on that one thing.
Guess what being an elite athlete requires?
It requires space and time. She goes away periodically to stand out and be the best she can be.
It requires simplicity. She focuses on a few things at a time until she conquers it.
It requires practice and routine. She continues to practice every day to be excellent and she creates a new routine as necessary.
It requires discipline and obedience. She doesn’t let anyone get in the way of her goals, she communicates to her loved ones in advance so they understand her, and she listens to her coach, her teacher, her mentor. She understands she doesn’t know it all and she never will.
If you ever desire to be her mentor, her teacher, her coach, then “believe in having a few pupils at one time as it requires a constant alert observation of each individual in order to establish a direct relationship. A good teacher can never be fixed in a routine . . . each moment requires a sensitive mind that is constantly changing and constantly adapting.” Bruce Lee
We don’t really live a life of focus — we live a life of busy. We are all over the place. Living this type of distracted life leads to compromise. We are too blessed to compromise with God. Let’s break our routine to expand our options by learning to walk in it, to breathe in it, to surrender to it, and to be blessed in it.
What are you going to do differently today to not just live life but to LEAD it?