As I get older, I am starting to see a pattern emerging in my life. My attention is getting more focused—that’s a good thing. I don’t like my schedule to be disrupted too much—not so good. I am getting increasingly set in my ways—not good at all. It has become very clear to me in the last several years that one of the most obvious characteristics of a disciple of Christ is that he or she is enthusiastically in a state of change. None of us “arrives” as a Christian—we are always on the journey.
I am prone to avoid change and disruption, but if I do, I will become the thing that has been the cause of so much secular finger-wagging: I will become the controlling, unconcerned Christian. I really don’t want to become that guy—Jesus was not that guy. Instead, I want to be wholly rooted in Scripture and willing to jettison anything that keeps me from pursuing Him. I have made a list of things that I want to do this year to “shake it up”—to keep myself open and winsome and spiritually agile. Here are a couple of them.
- Occasionally, worship with Christians from other traditions.
I was raised Presbyterian/Baptist/Evangelical Free. A great way for me to shake it up is to worship at an Anglican or a contemporary church, to visit both large congregations and small start-ups. They all worship God differently, with various traditions and styles. Many of the churches I’ve visited I wouldn’t want to attend every week, but it is so good to see wonderful people serving God in different ways.
- Take a day of silence and solitude.
I have long wanted to do this, but it is completely out of my comfort zone. I feel down deep that I need to cultivate the disciplines of silence and solitude in order to understand things I have not understood before. There is a lot to this—and most of it I don’t yet comprehend—but I’m going to start learning. Jesus went away for silence and solitude often; I guess I could start and do it once.
My list includes other ideas, but I want to encourage you to make up some of your own. Open up the windows of your life and let the wind blow through. Shake it up, and don’t let yourself become controlling and unconcerned. Don’t let yourself become “that guy” or “that gal.”
One great way to refresh your family—and yourself—is to bring your kids along with you on an Insight for Living summer cruise. David Carl and his wife, Cathy, will be ministering to the elementary-age kids all week long! Visit www.insight.org/events for more information.
David Carl serves in Children’s Ministries as children’s pastor at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. He oversees the church’s Preschool, Elementary, and Preteen Ministries. For 12 years, Dave served on staff at Insight for Living Ministries, primarily as creator and creative director of Paws & Tales, a weekly children’s radio program.
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