Looking Through a Compass . . .

Thermostats are pretty important but easy to ignore. If you’re reasonably comfortable you don’t even think about it. Thermostats are pretty simple: they have a sensor, a comparator and a responder. A good word for MOW is a word that can be used as a lens and while doing that I was reminded of how a thermostat works in the way I need my word to work in my life.

The sensor makes the thermostat AWARE of the current temperature–or how things are right now. A good word can do that too. When my word was relational I was made much more aware of how interconnected I am with others. With compass I’m far more aware of my “position” as it relates to God, to others, to requirements, to aspirations. It is easier to see when youre lost when your word is compass.

The comparator measures the difference between how things are now and how things should be. What is the distance between the real and the ideal? What is the difference between my recent response to a “honey do” request and how Christ calls me to respond? What is the distance between the way I recently disciplined my daughter and the way Proverbs and other scriptures call me to parent?

The responder guides the reaction or behavior undertaken to minimize the distance between the ideal and the real. With a thermostat it is pretty simple: turn on the unit that cools or heats. Our repertoire of responses has to be much much greater. I can’t even discipline my two kids the same way. For my daughter being grounded is agony. My son wouldn’t even notice he was being punished . . . . until he ran out of drawing paper. The WWJD bracelet serves as a reminder to try to respond like Jesus.

So when I have remembered to use my word as a lens it has taken me through this process of sensitivity to the things that matter most, comparing where I am at with where I should be and then identifying responses that would please Christ.

For example, the other day I could feel myself just wanting to vent at my family about the messy house after stepping over her stuff, around his stuff and on still more stuff. The words were ready for launch . . . . But then I used my word “compass” to ask “where should I really be on this issue?” What matters most? What is the ideal of a godly home? The needle pointed to peace. Within that climate of peace we can deal with other issues. That was about 20 seconds of internal dialogue that change a rant about “What the heck is going on here!!!!” Into calm, “OK, let’s have a 3 minute speed clean before I make some lunch. I’ll get the trash, each of you get your stuff. Somebody set the timer on the stove. GO!”

The potential of a word to act as a lens is not simply to put myself under a microscope and find every flaw. Instead I have found it works best to help me become more aware of myself AND my situations and then use my word as a catalyst for both personal growth and expressions of that growth in the real situations of my life.

Reflect on how your word can help you in each of the components above:

What does it make you more sensitive to that you might otherwise overlook or take for granted?

How does it help you see the distance between the real and ideal set forth in God’s truth about the issue or situation?

How can it inform your responses to bring the real in alignment with the ideal?

  • pam

    What a great idea to do a “3 minute speed clean!” Great way to turn an ugly task into a race for the clock and teamwork!

    Thanks for the reminder to use my word…I think I forgot to keep it in focus…

  • J

    I love the way you applied the mechanics of a climate device to the way we use our word, which in itself (the word) is a way for us to adjust the condition of our hearts This has given me a plan of action for daily change. Putting this in my journal and using it! Thanks!