As a tech person, I love to go to concerts and shows to see how people are using technology. A couple things usually happen. I’m inspired, then depressed. They have way more money than me, they have tons of great content to make better through technology and they have months of time to rehearse and nail the timing and precision of each cue.
With the weekend rolling around with predictable regularity, it seems impossible to pull of what I see on TV or at the latest touring show, yet that is what we have many times been asked to do, with less time and less money. For many years, my tendency was to go for it, every week; to push the envelope and do something new and hopefully amazing. I was trying to chase after what I saw out in the “real world” and to accomplish what I thought people we asking me to do.
As time passed, I began to realize that I couldn’t keep up the pace. Doing something incredible each week started to take it’s toll. And for those of you who know me, you know that my wife started saying “come home early” because of this crazy treadmill I had jumped on.
Here are a couple things I learned:
Don’t make everything new and cool. Doing something new always takes way more time than you planned, simply because you have never done it before and have no real idea how to plan. Along with that, it is generally more expensive than you planned.
All that said, some of my most memorable times in ministry involved me trying something new and cool. Sure I was at work until 2 am. Sure my budget was depleted. Sure my kids didn’t recognize me any more. But I had been a part of doing something that helped move people closer to Christ, and potentially changed their eternity. As an added bonus, it was also pretty cool.
I think we all need to go for it every now and then. If my whole life was just maintaining the status quo, I would go crazy. I don’t know about you, but I was created to dream and to think outside the box from time to time, and always coloring inside the lines doesn’t sound like the way I want to spend my life. So what can we do?
Pace yourself. In exercise, it is important to stretch yourself beyond what you normally do in order for muscles to grow. Learning and growing as a human being requires you to push past normal to do something out of the ordinary. I run on occasion. When I just imagine pushing myself to the limit every time I exercise, my hips and knees start to hurt. Our bodies need time to recover and adjust to the new, just like our lives need time to recover from pushing ourselves, after Christmas, after Easter, after that crazy.
I know that I have written a few times about figuring out what normal is and maybe this seems like a contradiction. If you haven’t figured out normal, your normal will become like mine was, crazy, every moment. It isn’t possible.
As you push your technical self from time to time, what was a stretch yesterday is normal today. What you wouldn’t even think of doing a year ago now seems pretty ordinary. Doing something incredible every week can’t be sustained, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go after the dream every now and then.