When I was in third grade, several of us would commute over to another elementary school once a week as a part of the gifted program. I really enjoyed this time, not only because the other school had chocolate milk (fat kid score!) but also because it gave me time to do what I loved, which was learn. I proudly wave my geek flag now, but back then, to be a slightly overweight nerd was the death sentence in school.
At this other school, they had several options on their playground that we didn’t have at our school. (When you’re a bigger kid, the monkey bars are not your item of choice to play on) One was a merry-go-round. Oh I loved it. I was the queen of that thing, whether I was pushing it or standing in the middle without holding on. For some reason I found such great joy with it. One day as we were playing before we presented an adapted play to the school, I fell off the merry-go-round. When I mean I fell off, I mean it drug me for a full rotation with my face in the dirt. I had gotten my shortalls caught on a screw and was just being slung around. It ripped my shortalls, I was cut up, and covered in dirt. But I had to continue on with the play shortly thereafter.Eventually my mom had to bring clothes for me to change into at school.
Often, this is how life feels for me. I am either pushing my schedule or standing in the middle with abandon enjoying it. Unfortunately, when you allow others to push your merry-go-round, or you lose energy from pushing, chaos can quickly ensue. Then you’ll be dragged by your life, rather than functioning in it. You will find that life has beaten you down, ripped up your shortalls and planted you face first in the dirt. Many of us, including me, like to say that none of this is our fault…that if we had control, if we were our own bosses, essentially if we were the masters of our own schedule, this wouldn’t be happening.
Really though, you are the one who chooses much of your schedule, and what you do within that schedule. I realize many of us have jobs that require more than a 40 hours a week. It requires more than just switching off work mode at 5pm every day…believe me, I know. Our lives get demanding, whether it is family commitments, friends, or church…or personal hobbies. You make that choice in how you spend your time. You make that choice how you react to the situation that didn’t quite work out how you had planned in your head (and let’s be honest, it’s always the best case scenario where you wind up with all you wanted without the work, believe me, I’m right there with you). Life never promised to be easy, but it does promise to let us make choices.
Let’s intentionally look at the merry-go-round to see what all is on it before we give it a good push. Be secure in your grip and make the choice as to where you’ll plant yourself-in the middle spinning or on the ground pushing.