Thursday, June 24, 2010

What I've Been Reading

I just picked up and began re-reading Gordon MacDonald's Ordering Your Private World. In one of the chapters he discusses the idea of person caught in the "Golden Cage." That is, the person who is driven to the point where success is all that matters, be that in the your work, being "spiritual," or any other thing that we attempt to accomplish. The person is so driven that the end is all that matters--the accomplishment. Some of his key points about driven people are:
  • A driven person is most often gratified only by accomplishment
  • A driven person is preoccupied witht he symbols of accomplishment
  • A driven person is usually caught in the uncontrolled pursuit of expansion
  • Driven people are not likely to bother themselves with the honing of people skills
  • Driven people are usually abnormally busy, are averse to play, and usually avoid spiritual worship
As Charles Spurgeon wrote about these ideas:

Success exposes a man to the pressure of people and thus tempts him to hold on to his gains by means of fleshly methods and practices, and to let himself be ruled wholly by the dictorial demands of incessant expansion. Success can go to my head, and will unless I remember that it is God who accomplishes the work, that He can continue to do so without my help, and that He will be able to make out with other means whenever He cuts me down to size.

 This book would be a great summer read for those who need to re-order their lives to get things back under control, and it is definitely not just for those who are driven. It's a thoughtful book, which unlike some Christian books, offers you practical ways to make changes in your life, which are concrete. If you are a person who is struggling with what it means to be "successful," be that in your work, or as a parent, or as a volunteer in a ministry, this book can help you reclaim the what it means to live as a "called" person. It may help you become the person who can have lofty and realistic goals, but also one who doesn't let these ambitions dictate their lives.

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