Tonight, I started my descent into the second half of my third year of doctoral studies in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. For a few years, now, I have been trying to figure out exactly where I would land in my scholarship. Like much of my life, I am influenced in some way by almost everything I read. I rarely walk away from something having learned nothing. I find that with each thing I read, each question I'm asked and with each meeting I have, I learn something about how the world works and my place in it.
I have noticed throughout my time at UTD, I have worked on several papers which I thought would lead me to my dissertation project. I would jubilantly meet with my professors about my topics, and they would rave over my ideas because they were so "ingenious" or "unique". I would later find that my ambitious idea required far more research time than I had in my full-time wife, full-time mom, full-time professor, part-time entrepreneur schedule. I then would have to slink back to my professors and refine my topic to a much more commonly explored idea that I could tackle with my already full schedule. Afterwards, when I was able to complete the assignment with excellence because the topic was not as difficult as the one I had previously chosen, then I would have general happiness at home with my family and at work with my students. I would have more time to brainstorm creative ideas for my business, and as a result I could create opportunities and products for my customers.
This process of taking in information and situating myself within it has often led to confusion and double-mindedness, which as the scripture says, tends to make me unstable in ALL my ways. I find that when I chase an idea or act on an idea without weighing it out against the rest of my life, I create chaos in my life. I am short with the people I love, and I am unproductive in the work and business that I love. Acting on impulse makes me emotionally excited about the new possibility of an idea yet unable to adequately respond to the responsibilities I have already signed up for.
So, I have made it my mission to compartmentalize information. I place it in a file cabinet of sorts. Sometimes I write the idea down and place it somewhere in my office. Other times, I think of it in the car (where I resolve to stop thinking about it once I get to my destination). Other times, I run it by a family member or friend in a short phone conversation so that I can process it. What I have learned to do is to ponder my idea, and then place it somewhere. It limits the confusion, and it makes me more stable in ALL of my ways. :-)
When we keep ideas floating around it causes confusion. We have to take every thought captive. We have to order our thoughts, so our great ideas won't rule us. They should be tamed and tested through wisdom and time. We have to get clear about who we are and our motivation for wanting to act on the ideas we hear or see.
We have to be careful not to covet someone else's idea just because it looks like something we can do as well. It breaks one of the sacred laws, and the effect of it can prove to be disastrous. What's for us is for us. Wanting what others have will leave us stressed and unfulfilled once we receive it. This includes job promotions, PTA presidencies, business ideas and academic or professional pursuits. It could be wanting your child on a national or traveling team because it shows their a great athlete compared to others. It could be a new car so you look more affluent. It could even be a new husband so that you look like you have achieved permanent companionship and true love. Beloved, if the timing is wrong or the motive is wrong, It may look good to you, but it may not be good for YOU in this season of your life. Don't be deceived. It may look like it will give you more prestige, money or power, but in the end it is a trap which is created to throw you off course from your true destiny.
I had an old friend who taught me a saying while playing dominoes that I believe works right here, "All money ain't good money." Just because you can score and get more points in the domino game doesn't mean that you should. Because if you get greedy or if you are a novice at dominoes and play only for points without playing strategically, you are an easy target for someone to play immediately after you and capitalize on the points you thought you earned. They will ultimately get your points and theirs too. Ultimately, they will win the game because of your greed or lack of experience. We have to be clear about our ambition and prioritize our ideas so that we see fruit in each area of our life, not just in the new thing we know we can do well.
Remember, ideas a great! Oftentimes, it is our creator speaking to us inwardly about something He wants us to do. We have to pace ourselves, though, to know that just because we think it, visualize it, plan it, and create it, it doesn't mean that we are supposed to have it right now. Timing is everything. Get focused. Know that you can have it all, just maybe not all at the same time.
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