I’ve had a really, really crappy day today. A “wouldn’t things be easier if the car just crashed behind this snowplow” kind of day. It’s more an extension of the whole week, really. One of those times where you know damned well that it would be better to be someone else right then, and the list of who you’d rather NOT be is infinitely small.
THAT kind of day.
In between backup and compression processes (I won’t bore you with the details) I was reading the Variety section of the paper. And toward the back, right above the article I was reading, was the horoscope. So I read my horoscope for today, by whatever granola-eating, magnet-wearing, crystal-rubbing, incense-burning whacko writes for my particular paper:
TAURUS (April 20-May 20). No matter what rung of the success ladder you find yourself on, remember you are the CEO of your own life. Write a personal mission statement, and refer to it when you feel like you are drifting off course.
For a few moments, I thought, “Wow, I pretty much needed to hear that today.” It’s good advice, mostly. I’m in charge of how I react to the situations I find myself in, how long I decide to let things get me down. I can’t control what happens in my life. I can refuse to let the things in my life control me.
Ooh. A Mission Statement. There’s one in there somewhere.
But then I began to hear a voice in my head. It’s not a random voice, it’s not God speaking – okay, it probably IS God speaking, but in this case the voice belongs to specific messenger. A messenger with a young face and a crop of curly hair atop his head, a mature spirit, and a mannerism given to phrases like “cool beans”. The voice is telling me: “We’re not the CEO of our own lives. If we’re truly God’s people, then God is our CEO.”
(If you’ve never met Pastor Zach, you won’t place him, but he’s the voice in my head. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.)
It was one of the first times in a long, long, long time – longer than I’ll care to admit here – that I internally replaced the Gospel of I Am to the Gospel of He Is Risen. Sadly enough, this voice was comforting in its tone and its messenger, but not so much in its message.
My thought processes that began at this point would scare most Highly Effective People. Rapid-fire rationalizations, debates and cross-examinations filled my mind until the roar of the crowd in there was a little too much to bear, and whatever part of my conscious mind pretends it’s in charge sometimes banged its gavel and roared for order and asked the streams of thought to present themselves, one by one.
(This is not, by the way, one of the many circumstances in which I am speaking in imagery. This is actually how I process these things.)
Rationalization was the first to step up to the plate. “We want to feel better. We felt better when we had the ‘I’m the CEO’ thought. Let’s just feel better.” But like a crafty pitcher to a pure fastball hitter, Truth’s response came: “Of course we want to feel better. But if life was only just about feeling better and not about ~being~ better, why bother to do anything but be fat and naked, lolling from the refrigerator to the bedroom?”
(I’ll pause here for you all to poke out your mind’s eye.)
Truth’s pitch was a cutter breaking back across the outside corner, too much for Rationalization to handle.
Criticism dug in next. “If God’s the CEO, He’s doing a lousy job.”
Truth is an off-speed pitcher, mostly breaking pitches. This one split the plate in two, but the curveball was Blylevenish, breaking from 12 to 6 as if falling off a table. “Listen, we put too much blame on CEOs when things aren’t going well. Do you think the CEO of Cisco Systems caused the stock market to crash? What about the CEO at Hewlett-Packard? Neither one of those two companies was responsible for the analyst over-valuation of the tech market at the beginning of 2000, or the natural correction that had to be made to the market based on bad, speculative investments by financiers of Internet companies in the 1990s.
“Do you really think that God intends for us to be unhappy all the time? Don’t you think that Free Will – our own as well as that of others – has ~anything~ to do with the amount of time that we spend unhappy? Let’s try it your way – God intends for us to be miserable and grovel in the ashes for eternity. Nope, wait, I don’t see that in scripture anywhere.” Criticism slunk away from the plate in shame.
It went on like that for a while, each thought process stepping up, in turn, and being shot down by Truth. It was my first true devotional time I’ve spent in… I don’t know how long. Of course, the process – like most thought processes – was over in mere moments. And my problems – a long, long laundry list of problems – didn’t go away.
But for a little while…
We felt better.
Truth tipped his cap and sauntered toward the dugout, a seasoned veteran having stepped up and thrown a solid mid-season shutout.
I felt better.
And the backup and compression processes continued.