October 18, 2015 – Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

10/18/15  Rev. Cindy Farris, L.U.T.
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

This one friend always says, “It’s not your circus! They’re not your monkeys!” Do you know what that means? Have you ever taken on more than you had to? Have you ever felt like you were the only one who could fix it? —the only one who was doing it right? Are you a control freak? Are you “capable”? Do you get hooked into things you wouldn’t normally do?

I do. I am partners in a yarn shop. 11 women in a co-op. Now there’s a circus! A few weeks ago we moved the shop. It had been decided it would be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday for the move. Unbeknownst to me, a couple of the “sergeants” decided to start moving on Sunday. I usually work there on Mondays, so on Monday when I texted “When should I come in?” the reply was “Don’t come in. Stay home.” My ego was a little miffed, but I got a lot of work done at home. Over the next few days I did go in for a few hours. There were plenty of Ringmasters and I was not needed. It was a circus, but it wasn’t mine. I got to see what it looks like when I’m in controlling mode. The sergeants mirrored it back to me.

Do you see lots of things that aren’t being done well? “If they just did them my way I’m sure things would go better”. There are clues which can tell you if it’s your circus or not. Ask, “Does this situation really involve me?” Most of us have gotten involved when it was not our business. And at what cost? —our time and money, energy and health? Can I really bring something to a table I wasn’t asked to sit at? This is the butt-out part.

When we butt in, we could be taking someone off their path. We have to be mindful, “Do I have some responsibility here?” If the answer is no, butt out. Am I doing my actual work or taking over someone else’s job? Am I butting in because of my ego or lack of self worth? Am I doing something so I feel more fulfilled, to show I am capable? I could be in places where I am truly filled with joy on my path. It is ultimately God’s will to be done. At times I have to be the monkey with my hands over my mouth, or my eyes, or over my ears.

Tuesday through Thursday I teach science at a charter school. I am a master teacher, and I am Ringmaster in my classroom. That’s what I was hired for and I am good at it. I like it. It is my circus. Most of my students are boys and often the coach will come by and call all the guys to the baseball field. This school was founded and is paid for by a major league baseball player. When my students leave, I am no longer responsible for them. They are not my monkeys. I am free. I know when it’s my circus when I have empowered my monkeys to soar!