I’ve been wondering. How, practically speaking, do you give your all to something? Not a physical or temporal goal but a principle you’ve decided is missional for you. If you say you are All for Love or All for Justice or All for Freedom or All for Jesus or All for ________ , how do insure that you are in fact ALL IN in a loud culture full of distractions? How do you not get overpowered or keep from skimming the surface?
I think most would agree that anything worth being FOR requires both a full commitment and the long view. It needs to be strong enough to move you across the line from belief to action. It should cause your eyes to fill with tears at one moment and a steeliness to do the impossible in others. 50% Love or Most of the Way Justice lacks the aspiration needed to make any meaningful impact. It has no staying power. And, more importantly, if we want to be ALL IN for something that endures it also means we probably won’t be around to see it come into fullness. We have to be ok with being bit actors.
I don’t know the complete answer for how to truly give your all to something that matters but I read something recently from CS Lewis that suggested a good starting point: What you choose to fill your mind with when you wake up.
“The real problem comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each mornings consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life coming flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings, coming in out of the wind.”
Many of us, me included, have a habit of picking up our phones first thing when we wake up. As habits go, it seems rather benign. And yet, it is in effect blindly turning over our first thought to something we aren’t actively choosing. Even if that thing is good or neutral it probably isn’t that bigger thing we want to align ourselves with. The danger is that what we expose ourselves to isn’t simply a matter of getting informed or being entertained. Its fuel for how we will act. It therefore makes sense that we ought to buffer our intake first with the reference point we claim to be central in our lives.
I had an experience in Spain last week. It was warm and so we slept with the windows open. It was also windy and so the sound that woke me most mornings was the wind rustling through the palm trees. It was loud enough to both get my attention and still the other voices that weren’t as demanding. It wasn’t until I choose to listen past the wind that I heard a rooster in the distance, birds in cheerful conversation, pans coming out for service in the kitchen. The simple exercise of re-tuning to those other, sweeter voices didn’t still the wind but it pushed it to the back of my morning symphony.
They say you only have one chance to make a first impression. The good news is that we have a new chance each morning to decide which voice we will listen to first. What our morning symphony will be. If what we eat (or don’t eat) for breakfast sets our energy for the day, how much more does what we choose to fill our minds with set not only our mood – but our motivation and action – for the day.
The wind in the US will be howling loudly today and tomorrow. No matter the outcome, we need the ALL IN people – on both sides of the political aisle – to come in out of the wind for a moment and listen to those quieter, enduring voices that promise to speak hope into and well beyond the next 4 years.