Monday, November 16, 2009

Got to

I inhabit a land that I don’t like. It’s bordered by both an attitude and behaviors that don’t serve me well. It’s a land called ‘Got to’. You hear me refer to it when I say things like “I’ve got to go to this meeting” or “I’ve got to write this sermon” or “I’ve got to call this person.”

Nothing wrecks a day than having to face a to do list that’s become a ‘got to do’ list. All of a sudden a world filled with opportunity becomes a world of obligation. There are no longer possibilities only responsibilities.

When I’ve ‘got to’ do something it shows in my behavior and attitudes. I go to a meeting feeling my time is being wasted. That attitude will reflect itself in my behavior. Even if I’m adept at disguising it …well, it leaks out.

When I feel I have to do something I’m convinced that I no longer live with a sense of expectancy. There’s no room for the spontaneous or the miraculous. There’s only room for the drudgery of duty.

It’s not the way to live.

Oh, for sure life is filled with ‘must do’ events. How much worse have I made such things by not having the right attitude about them? And by not having the right attitude have I missed out on opportunities to be used by God in redemptive ways?

My default when I think that I’m being forced to do something is to become cynical and sarcastic. I’m really good at those things. The problem is that my cynicism and sarcasm can drag other people into a bad place and impacts my own perspective.

God has given me opportunity. For every opportunity there is a responsibility. Part of that responsibility is to abandon the world of ‘got to’ for something better. What if I really believed that everything I’ve ‘got to’ do is actually part of God’s plan? What if this meeting, this gig, this conversation, this thing I really don’t want to be present for …what if I viewed it as a divinely appointed time? Maybe it’s to work on my patience which is truly impaired. Or what if I’m there for one conversation or one point of encouragement or to honor the person who called the meeting and who doesn’t view it as a ‘got to’ event but rather as something vital and life giving. What if I really tried to be fully present? What could God do with that?

I’m a busy person. Too busy. I was driven to the land of ‘got to’ by stupidly saying yes to do many things and not bothering to discern how best to use my time and energy. So, there are some boundary issues I need to deal with but until I do how can I better be present, inhabiting a land called ‘want to’ and distancing myself from that place of exile called ‘got to’?

In the land of ‘got to’ I sin. My attitude is bad. It drags others down with it. I’m mad and angry about being too busy.

“Got to” is not a lonely place. I have plenty of company. There’s other cynical, sarcastic, angry people living right next door to me. What a neighborhood. I even see some of you there. We gotta find a different place to live.

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