Sunday, May 31, 2015

Christmas Lights

                I have always been rather frank about the fact that Christmas is not one of my favorite holidays.  I love the reason of Christmas, but all the pomp of it makes me rather …well…grinchy.  I have always been a “rather have the cake without the icing” type of guy.  

                Exciting, right? 

                One of my favorite (oh, if there were only a sarcasm font) festivities is dragging out all of the decorations.  There are so many organizers out there now that most things can be pretty easy to get in order and hung without too much effort.  

Then there are the lights.  

Whether the outdoor or the tree lights, they never stay as organized as you put them away.  Some methods work better than others, but the point is that Christmas lights are notoriously tangled.  It is an odd phenomenon.  You put them away organized, you come back and it is a tangled mess.  Just one year ago (roughly, if you take them down in a timely fashion…but that’s for another time) you painstakingly organized them and put them away in a fashion that they should easily come unstrung and easily hung.

I find so many things in my life are the same way.  I get something taken care of and believe that it should be ok now, only to find out that a short time (in my estimation) later it is a tangled mess again.  I have found this to be true in leadership, relationships, work, and so on.  I am not saying it is the fault of someone else (unlike with Christmas lights, because I think we all would agree there has to be tree light gremlins tangling the lights in the attic!) it is just what happens when a matter is neglected.  

Think about it physically, just because I exercise for a day doesn’t make me healthy.  In fact, if I exercise myself to health but do not continue, I will become unhealthy…a tangled mess, indeed. 

We would readily admit, I think, that the same is true spiritually.  You don’t stay on top of the proverbial mountaintop without consistent connection to God.

Now, think of this when leading your family.  How often do we take time to invest in our family?  I am not necessarily talking about all the “stuff” we do for our family.  I am talking about the quality time.  Do we begin our time with our spouse in marriage and everything is wonderful, only to not spend time with them and wonder why everything seems…tangled?  Do we start off well with our children, but find ourselves several years down the road…tangled?

What about how some of us who are leaders lead?  Do we lead and not pay attention to some aspect of how we run an organization, church, business for quite some time and when it become tangled begin to blame others instead of saying to ourselves, “How much time have I really invested here?” 

We always seem to come back to the place where we believe we have left something organized a while ago and wonder, “How did this get so tangled up?”

Christmas light leadership will lead us to a place of tangled messes in our marriages, parenting, leadership, and a whole host of other things.  It basically comes down to this, neglect leads to disorder.  Think about it…

Neglect leads to disorder.

Don’t let those vital areas of your life (spiritually or physically), responsibility, and concern become neglected.  We may not like it, but it is true.

Are you confused?  Seek God.  Don’t forget we have an enemy that wants to terrorize and kill us (I Peter 5:8).  Do you feel disconnected from someone?  Maybe there is someone you need to invest more time in.  Is there an area at work that isn’t going well?  Find the place that has been neglected and channel some energy in that direction.  

Don’t get caught off guard like I do on the day after Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) when I open the lid to the tote with Christmas lights wondering how this mess got here.   

Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.      I Timothy 4:14-15