When I was around 10 years old I found a watch next to the sidewalk by a small general store in the town where I grew up. I took the watch inside and asked the owner if anyone had been looking it. After the answer was no I raced home only to have my mom make me suffer the suspense of checking our local newspaper the next week to see if there was an add in the lost and found section looking for the watch. That statement dates me a little doesn't it? Upon no claim the watch was mine. The watch wasn't anything special., It was a mid-sized manual wind gold plated watch by Waltham with 17 jewels. By today's standards it was nothing great, but to me it was a treasure and the start of my love of watches.
Fifty years later my love of watches has grown into both a hobby and passion of mine. I am fascinated with the intricacies and the minute details that make a watch work. Currently, there are a wide variety of sources of parts for watches but I remain "old school" and pursue genuine Swiss parts. I can't exactly state why but I find using genuine Swiss parts have more intrinsic value to me even though I could use less expensive reproduction parts that perform to similar standards. To me, authenticity is more than what is on the surface. It carries meaning and depth from its' origin that isn't easily replaced. Authenticity always costs more but but is worth the price to me.
As I look at my christian walk the above analogy holds true. I seek out relationship with other men who are authentic and real. With them there is an intrinsic value I can't put a price on. There is richness in relationship when you can truly be yourself and not have to live behind a false identity. As I stated in previous blogs maintaining those false identities takes too much work.
Back to my watch analogy. When I refer to watches I am talking about watches that require winding either manually or automatically by an internal mechanism and not the battery powered quartz watches that are common today. What I have learned about watches is at the core of them is an internal main spring that has memory and performs best when it is wound regularly but left unattended it becomes less dependable and inaccurate as it sits around on the shelf unused. These same springs can also be wound too tightly causing the brittle metal to snap and completely unwind. Once this happens it typically requires a complete breakdown and refurbishment of the watch. This is a complex process and often causes other collateral damage during the repair.
God created us as men to be spiritually active and regularly exercise our spiritual muscle. He never intended for us to become complacent causing us to weaken and lose our strength and efficacy. On the flip side there are also those of us who tend to be wound too tight most of the time thereby causing us to periodically snap and completely unwind. Sound familiar?
As I self reflect, without a doubt, for most of my life I have fallen into the category of the over wound man. I don't think I can count how many times my main spring has snapped in my lifetime or more importantly since I have been married to my wife. Honestly, it is becoming less important to me to look back at my history and way more important to look ahead to whom I want to become. I have learned history can be a good teacher but I also know the enemy is the master of using my past failures as a predictor of what lies ahead. I am done looking back to whom I use to be and now strive to look ahead to a new outcome. Unfortunately, personal growth doesn't follow a nice linear curve. On the contrary it tends to be choppy and filled with ups and downs. It is during these erratic times I realize more than ever that I need to keep my spiritual watch wound regularly so I don't slip into the old patterns of the over wound guy. By doing so, my history is becoming smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror and I pray some day it will vanish completely in the horizon.
Phil 3:13 "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,"
I can now say with certainty I desire to become the regularly wound man that takes things in stride and is running smoothly and accurately and not on the edge of snapping. I want to be the guy that doesn't snap under pressure thereby causing more collateral damage to my family than the circumstances warrant. It isn't my expectation that challenging circumstances won't continue to come my way because I know they will. I just seek to tackle each challenge as they come like the steady beat of a quality watch. You see, a quality watch doesn't change whether it is on your wrist while you are doing physically demanding work or are simply lounging around the house at the end of the day. The internal mechanism of a great watch is unaffected by the outside forces working against it. Maybe that is why I remain committed to the intrinsic value of authenticity.
Looking back to 2018 it was the year I broke down my spiritual watch all the way, Without question, as I broke down the components of my life there was plenty of unexpected collateral damage that was exposed in the process. I was shocked, when I was honest with myself, how many issues from my past were still defining my present. Maybe that is why Rolex recommends you to send in their time pieces every 5 years to their service department so they can be completely disassembled, cleaned and carefully put back together. Maybe it is time we learn the lesson to keep ourselves spiritually clean, wound regularly with the word of God and in safe relationships with other men that will help break us down through regular cleanings of confession and accountability. For many of us this may be long overdue. That is okay but don't linger any longer because now is not too late to change but tomorrow might be. Like a watch we can recover from being over wound occasionally but if we live in that state constantly there is a high probably we will snap and create a wide spray of collateral damage to those near to us.
Rom 8: 6 "The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace."
As John Piper wrote: "Life is short. Eternity is long. Live like it."