I thrive under pressure. I cannot honestly recall a single paper I ever completed prior to the day it was due. Somehow I am at my peak of creativity in the heat of the moment. Even in problem solving and decision making, emergencies enhance my productivity. And I’m trying to break this habit.
Most of the reasons why could be their own blogs or book chapters. The titles would be things like ‘finding meaning, validation, and satisfaction in accomplishing more’ or ‘proud of being the guy who can get things done.’ But the list of reasons has one common denominator – self sufficiency. Deep down, my default world view is that I can figure it out. I can problem solve my way through life. I can make things happen. Truthfully, that philosophy has worked at some level for much of my life. Maybe you can relate. Even when I hear from God or know specifically that He wants me to do something, once I have the idea in my head, I pretty much figure out how to do it. Then I go do it. And it usually works.
The polar opposite of this approach is found in Mark 1. For context, Jesus is in the early months of his ministry.
“The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons , but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” Mark 1: 33-34 (NIV)
If I just let my brain run with this, it goes nuts. I’m a marketing guy…this is awesome! He’s got some good stuff going on, word of mouth is going to be huge. The next logical steps would be set up an organization, figure out financial support, get a website up, recruit some social media ninja’s to run facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn. But, (long pause) no. What Jesus does the next morning is leave and not tell anyone where he is going!
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him…” Mark 1: 35-36 (NIV)
Even as I sit here typing this, I do not get this. We know that Jesus did much good for the world. We know that his heart was completely good towards others. We know all these character traits of Jesus, of his goodness and love and fierce pursuit. I do not understand his choice. His priority was to spend time with his Father. I conceptually get that, I have the knowledge that the Father is what would sustain his ministry over the next years. Just like I have the knowledge that what will bring me real life is time with the Father. But in real life, I do not yet have that wisdom. It’s not how I live today. I want to, I’m trying to, but it’s a daily struggle.
*Aside, I cannot help but mention the fact that Jesus doesn’t tell anyone where he is going, evidenced by the fact that “his companions went to look for him.” They didn’t go to him, they went to look. Every part of me is screaming out, ‘But what if there had been an emergency, another sick, another possessed, what if they had needed to get a hold of you, Jesus?!?!?!’*
So in the midst of moving, packing, Craigslisting, and detail overload, at a time when I would normally be thriving, figuring out the most efficient course for the day and generally getting stuff done…I’m not. I’m sitting at Starbucks, drinking a delicious cappuccino, writing a blog, and generally being highly unproductive by my old self’s definition. Yet I feel more than just peace. I feel a deep, soul-satisfying resolve that I’ve made the right decision for today. And some part of me knows that day by day, choice by choice is how old habits die.