Input vs Output
As guys, we all know the concept that what we put in is what is going to come out. And if we don’t put it in, it cannot come out. If you buy a new computer with a fresh, clean hard drive, in a year it will contain any and everything you have put into it. Nothing else. This law is true in most all areas of our lives—from the food we eat to the lies we believe—only what goes in is what comes out. Simple, right?
So, now that we all agree that we know that truth, here’s an interesting, ironic, and yes, often frustrating side of this for so many of us.
It is easy to get lazy about what is actually going into our lives. So, we spend a great deal of time expecting for amazing things to come out of little to no input. From our relationship with God to marriage to parenting to career, we want to put in 10 and get 100 out. That is inherent in us all. It is pride and laziness mixed together.
The good and bad news, depending on your perspective, is the answer to this problem in us all is simply focus and hard work. So, what can we do?
1. Stop distractions.
Identify what keeps derailing your input. Your time with God? Your time with your family? Time with Christian brothers?
2. Get realistic expectations.
Ask yourself, “Where am I expecting too much?” “Where am I expecting too little?” It is so easy to expect the world of others and little of ourselves—and not realize it. It’s also easy for some of us to beat ourselves up for not delivering all that we think we should.
3. Embrace discipline.
Pushing through and pressing on is often the best and only answer to many of our dilemmas. Running or ignoring just creates more problems. Facing them can often diminish them.
4. Redirect energy.
Our culture can demand we place time and energy on the wrong things. Sitting down and mapping out a typical week, and where the time went, might shed light on why input and output are not optimum. Giving God access and authority to your calendar might be the best move you ever made.
5. Know that “Yes” and “no” are still appropriate answers.
It is perfectly fine to give firm “yes’s” where they are right and firm “no’s” where something is not best.
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” —Mark 12:29-31 MSG