BORING!! SEVEN LIFE LESSONS FOR CERTAIN SUCCESS
Back in the days when I served on the executive board of the International Congress on the Local Church I was required to attend a couple of board meetings a year. Every meeting began with each board member giving a report of their trials, tribulations, and general aggravations. When it was my turn the report was always the same—“numbers are steady, finances are up a little, progress is being made. No major aggravations” After a few years they quit calling on me—they said that I was boring.
When we pastored in Lima the televangelist scandals were in full swing, Jimmy Swaggart versus Jim Bakker, with a dollop of Marvin Gorman thrown in. A disgruntled man told me, “I’m going to hire a private investigator to follow you around!” I said, “You’ll be wasting your money and he will be bored out of his mind.” Why? Because I don’t do drama. I live consistently. Practice what I preach. And don’t allow chaotic people into my life. You may call it boring, but I call it the recipe for a happy and successful life. I’ll share seven life lessons that I’ve learned “Behind The Door,” but first three words… stability… balance… moderation.
STABILITY If the ladder that you’re climbing is unstable, you’re going to fall. And the higher you are the harder you will fall. That’s true in the literal sense and it’s true in life. Spiritual, emotional, relational, and financial stability creates an environment where you can develop into all that you have the potential to be. Without stability you’ll just fall off the ladder. I have spent my life helping people who are trying to get from where they are to where they want to be in life. Some make it. Others don’t. The ones who make it are those who understand the need for stability, and do whatever they must to live a stable life. And a part of that is—
BALANCE Some people are too emotional. Some too staid. Some people are too spendthrift. Some people too miserly. Some people are too analytical. Some too intuitive. Some people are too loud. Some too quiet. Some people are too carnal. Some too spiritual. Did you catch the word “too?” Overly, more than necessary, over the top, out of balance. And yes, you can be too spiritual. In all of these areas, in every area, you need balance. Let me tell you a story.
I was talking with Joe and Martin in the lobby of the church, discussing the potential for breakfast that week. Another man was standing nearby, doing his best to overhear our conversation. When I walked into the restaurant on the appointed day, at the appointed time, I saw him sitting off to the side by himself. My breakfast companions were seated across the room, and as I sat down I asked, “Do you think we should invite so and so to sit with us?” My friend Joe, horse breeder extraordinaire, former Mensa member, erudite, (a word he would use), and a great story teller said, “Well, you’re my Christian coach and it seems to me that would be the Christian thing to do.” So I did.
The brother had no more sat down when he began plying me with questions about blood moons, end time signs, prophets he deemed important, and a host of other things trying to establish his deep spiritual knowledge. When he stopped for a breath, I looked at Joe and asked, “Heard any good jokes lately?” He replied, “Well yes I have,” and launched, as I knew he would, into a ribald joke of the highest order. When he got to the slightly off color punch line the brother turned red, started choking, and shut up. Mission accomplished. He was out of balance and out of bounds—the two often go together. The rest of us enjoyed our breakfast, talked about spiritual things, everyday things, and funny things like people do who enjoy one another’s company. It’s called conversation. Find your place of balance—and if you haven’t yet found it, keep reading, I’m sure you will!), keep quiet and they’ll never know. BTW—Joe tells this story on himself.
MODERATION It was a very fine Saturday, and I was having lunch with the pastor of the very large church where I would be speaking the next day. It looked to be a very fine lunch indeed, seafood fresh from the waters. I asked, “Would you mind if I have a glass of wine with lunch?” He said, “Doc, I wouldn’t say this to just anyone, but I know that you are a man of moderation, so help yourself.” It was a very fine lunch.
If I had been speaking that evening I wouldn’t have had wine with lunch—I would have enjoyed an unsweet ice tea sweetened with my favorite chemical sweetener. But I wasn’t speaking, in fact, I had plans to eat with a young couple who had become millionaires as they practiced the things that they learned from me. (That’s what they said! And they bought dinner!) So I enjoyed a glass of good Chardonnay with my lunch. My friend had sweet tea. All was well in the world because we both understand moderation.
It is one of my favorite verses of scripture and one that I have based my life on— “Let your moderation be known to all men, the Lord is at hand.” At the risk of overly exegeting in an inspirational essay let me point out that that was written almost two thousand years ago, and was written because they believed in the immediate return of Christ. Let me put a Twenty-First Century spin on it—“Let your moderation be known unto all men, the Lord is near you.” Live a life of moderation. Avoid extremes. Don’t follow the fad of the moment. Live what you can afford and don’t feel like you have to keep up with the Jones’—remember, more than likely, (unless they really are rich, and may even then), their really expensive car probably has a really large car payment attached to it. Live moderation.
Stablility, balance, moderation, boring stuff—but boring beats insanity any day of the week. Let me share seven life lessons that will lead you to a successful, less stressful, life. Join me “Behind The Door.”