There's this button, or knob, or whatever on most car's now-a-days, cruise control. Recently I took a trip and drove quite a ways. When I was in little to no traffic I'd use the cruise control. You know why? There was little traffic. I didn't have to use my breaks or worry about changing lanes or people cutting me off. Now, when I drove through larger cities the cruise control had to come off because of all the challenges the traffic brought.
Unfortunately the down side of cruise control is it's one less thing to think about. The result I get more easily distracted. I starting eating candy, flipping the radio, maybe pick up my phone (if it's not illegal), and any number of things. You see being on cruise control causes me to let down my guard as it were. I get lax and my driving becomes somewhat lazy. That isn't safe for me, the people with me, or those around me.
You might be saying, "But cruise control is a great invention!" Honestly, I wouldn't disagree it has it's place. However, you know what makes me more alert, traffic. The constant friction and challenge that it brings. The requirement to pay attention. It's this friction that makes me better.
In our world there is this field of science called Thermodynamics. The second law of Thermodynamics states that (according to NASA's website), "There exist a useful thermodynamic variable called entropy. A natural process that starts in one equilibrium state and ends in another will go in the direction that causes entropy of the system plus the environment to increase for an irreversible process and to remain constant for a reversible process." What does that mean? It means that entropy within any system is inevitable. What is entropy? The natural and unaided movement towards disorder and decay.
That's right!! Our world and everything in it yields to the second law of Thermodynamics. We and our world will naturally move towards disorder. Don't believe me? What happens to your garage after six months of not cleaning it out? What happens to a car when you don't maintain it? What happens to your body if you don't work out? What happens to your mind if you don't exercise it? I think you get my point.
You see God in His great design has allowed decay and disorder to set in because it produces in us a work ethic. That work ethic when acted upon creates responsibility, rewards, appreciation, thankfulness, a feeling accomplishment, sometimes even money and so on. All which are positive. This is God's way, one negative (work/friction) can produce for more positives than negatives.
Unfortunately, we often hit the cruise control button of life. We get a decent paying job. A great spouse. Wonderful kids. A decent home and we settle. We hit cruise control. Then one day we wake up only to realize the second law of thermodynamics has applied itself to our life!! Decay has set in on our dreams. Disorder has become the norm for our goals.
As a pastor and leader of an organization that happened to me. The result was a decrease in dreams and an increase in monotony. The days become semi-predictable. The routine became mundane. I was struggling and didn't even know it. Until, I found myself saying, "What's the point." Then I gave up on my dreams. Then depression set in. Then worse than depression, numbness to life grew. Have you ever been there?
That cycle of the mundane seemed fine (it's predictable and safe, right?) but I wasn't and I knew it. I had stopped doing the very thing Solomon instructs us to do:
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Notice what Solomon says, "Above all else..." Meaning this is the foremost and number one most important thing. We are to "guard" our hearts. To guard means to stay vigilant, alert, paying attention. Unfortunately, I was not doing that. I was letting things just happen. Why? Because even in our complete selves, spirit, mind and body (heart) entropy is constant. The minute we drop our "guard" and do not keep the guarding of our heart as number one, entropy and Thermodynamics is waiting at the door.
Now what is the heart? Thats for the next blog. For the next several weeks if you're in a slump, mundane, life has become routine, or you just want to get better spiritually, mentally, and physically I'm going to invite you on a journey with me. It's a journey of learning to guard our hearts and restore what entropy has stolen, or become stronger as a whole person spirit, mind and body. I've found the only way to truly guard my heart is to own my mountain in front of me. By being vigilant, not using cruise control, by changing my thoughts and behaviors, I've learned to OWN IT and I want to share that with you. So if you're ready to OWN IT!! Then stay with me in the coming weeks.