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Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys
Many of us like to be in charge. We want to be responsible for our surroundings, what happens to us, and how life unfurls. I am one of those people who love change, but only when I am the one making the change 🙂 I have issues otherwise.
Working in a new college, there are many balls in the air. People doing a million different tasks while all trying to run in the same direction. I like to be involved and know what is going on. I have my work to do but at the same time want to help others in their work. Sometimes though, I have to just stop and say “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”. What does that mean?
Does it mean I don’t care? No. Does it mean I don’t want to help? No. It means that I am not responsible for those activities nor do I have the authority or the accountability for those tasks.
Work in only one area where this comes up. Political discourse, which is toxic in this country, is a prime example of the Circus and Monkeys issue. There are so many places where we have opinions but are not responsible, accountable, or have the authority to make the change. We can use our voice and position power to influence others but that doesn’t make us responsible.
As I always do, I turn to scripture to see what the Word tell us about change, responsibility, and when to say “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” – Romans 12:6-8
“for each one should carry their own load.” – Galatians 6:5
In Romans, we are reminded of all of our different gifts. It would be unhelpful and possibly quiet foolish for the profit to teach or for the servant to give encouragement or the leader to prophesize. (Granted, someone may have multiple talents but the key is knowing what those talents are). Add to that, that we are already busy with our own work, that trying to help someone with their monkeys when your monkeys are running amok can cause chaos.
Don’t get me wrong. We need to help each other as much as we can. There is a balance and a time to say, I can’t help there, because that is not where I am called at this time. It doesn’t mean you don’t love the person. it doesn’t mean you don’t want to help. It means, in fact, that you can be of more help by staying in your own Big Top. Be the Ring Master of your life and duties before trying to help the next circus over. And only then, when they need the help.
Are you willing to feed and care for your own monkeys? Are you able to see where help isn’t help?
I am willing and able with the help of God.