Build a Circus, Buy Some Monkeys

One of the most profound and effective Scriptures that I have read this entire year was actually referencing adultery. I would very much like to state right at the outset that adultery is not something that I tend to struggle with. I am not married. I do not chase after married men. We’re all good there. In fact, on a normal day, I would have skimmed right over Proverbs Chapter Five and focused on something more pertinent to my life situation. Yet I am learning, all Scripture is given by inspiration of God making it vibrant, active, living, and yes, pertinent even to me.

This was no exception. There in the middle of all the admonitions to stay away from strange and tempting women was a verse that cemented my attention: “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.” (Proverbs 5:15) The natural context of this verse is very clear, but just in case it’s escaping you, let me clarify. Solomon is saying: “Have sex only with the person you are married to.” That’s good standard Christian teaching. It’s run of the mill simplistic information. However, the words resonated within me just the same.

You see, my favorite verse is Philippians 2:4. It’s the one about not looking to your own interests alone but also to the interests of others. I am constantly doing that. I am forever DIYing for someone else’s wedding or writing someone else’s sermon or celebrating someone else’s success or changing the diapers of someone else’s child. I love to do those things. I don’t plan on quitting any time soon. The problem is, while this kind of lifestyle may sound heroically selfless sometimes it’s actually horribly selfish. There are some days when I am not helping people to benefit them at all. I’m doing it because it’s easier to work on the life of someone else than on my own.

You know that phrase we see on internet memes all the time, “Not my circus, not my monkeys?” I used to hate the phrase. It seemed so cruel to me. What if someone else’s circus needed my organizational help though? What if someone else’s monkeys need a bath?” Sometimes they do. And it’s good I feel. I still feel that it’s good to help someone out with their circus. But not if it means ignoring my own. And ignoring my own circus? That’s something I’m incredibly skilled at.

So I have begun it. I have stood straight up on the life principle I gleaned from a Biblical passage about infidelity and I have become more mindful of my own well, more aware of the benefits of my own cistern. I’ve been making my own bed and tending my own garden and writing my own sermons and who knows? If I keep doing that maybe I’ll soon be celebrating my own successes, or DIYing my own wedding. Until then I attempt to live and love as He has called me, walking the tightrope of the dreams and the visions He has given me alone. And yes, although sometimes I do miss the days when I was blissfully ignorant of the way my life strongly resembled a three ring circus, I am getting to know the Ringmaster a lot better.

Let’s start an Instagram movement shall we? #thisismycircus