Do you ever make changes in your life just to stir things up? I don’t mean leaving your spouse or anything goofy like that, but changes in your routine? I used to resist that sort of crazy talk. I even prided myself for not needing change. But much to my surprise, the older I get, the more I pursue intentional change.
I recently attended a men’s weekend at Bear Trap Ranch near Colorado Springs, and I left there with this as one of my goals: Make some intentional changes in my life and in my routine, to open my ears to God, to make room for ministry expansion, and to have more creative and original thoughts.
I didn’t leave Colorado with a bullet-point list of possible changes, something you might expect, but I knew I needed something different in my life. Change adds energy.
Not changes like tattoos, shaving my head, leaving home to work for an NGO in Pakistan, or buying a Corvette. I don’t need that much. A tiny change in routine may be all it takes to alter my experience of life and move my point of perspective. They’re often the sort of changes no one would ever notice unless I tell them. Yet, even that small bit can open up my heart and eyes to new ideas.
I know from experience if I go somewhere different, away from my regular haunts, even some place familiar as Dallas, I will notice different things and think different thoughts. I learned a formula from Mark Batterson: Change in place plus change in pace equals change in perspective (?PL + ?PA = ?PE), and it works for me even when the new place is not exotic or far away. The smallest change can trigger my imagination.
As I traveled home from Colorado, writing in my journal while comfortably seated in the spacious cabin of Southwest Airlines, the first change I contemplated centered on my computer.
I do almost everything on my computer. You would find it hard to take a photo of me at home in my library that didn’t show me with hands on the keyboard publishing an essay, formatting a book, updating running or cycling logs, crunching family finances, composing lessons for Sunday or Iron Men, or keeping up with friends. So anything regarding my computer is a significant change for me.
The surprising thing is that, unbelievably, after all my years of making fun of Cyndi and her coven of Apple lovers, I am considering buying a MacBook.
There. I wrote it. It’s on the record.
I’ve received lots of advice from both camps of computer users about whether to switch to a Mac or stay with a Windows machine, and curiously enough, the more certain and adamant the arguer the less likely I am to listen.
The only person who hasn’t weighed in on the discussion is Cyndi, who seldom offers me advice or correction unless I beg for it. Apparently, she’s learned that behavior after being married to me for 34 years. Apparently I’m often more resistant, maybe even stubbornly rebellious, than I intend to be.
One of my Colorado friends, Chuck, the man who talked me over the Mac ledge, might feel compelled to jump into the conversation at this point and say I’m making too much of this lifestyle change. He would say it is nothing but a simple hardware upgrade.
He would be correct. But so am I. I’m not looking primarily to improve computer performance; I’m thinking in terms of identity shift.
I know I’m loading lots of expectation on an operating system and hardware design, something that would hardly register as a huge change in most circles, but in my tiny circle of one, a circle filled with predictable behavior and established routine, even the subtlest of changes can be huge. I would say I’m 90/10 in favor of buying a MacBook Pro for Christmas. Cyndi can’t wait to teach me the secret handshake.
And so, now that I’ve announced my intentions and left the gate open for wild speculation, feel free to offer up what you think I should change next. It should be clear by now I’m up for anything (Neon-colored running shoes? Plant-based diet? Cutting my hair?).
What about you? Is there something in your life you could change just to stir things up? Erich Fromm wrote, “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” Give it a try. Take a small leap.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32
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