The common Polish proverb goes like this: “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy . .” Poles say it’s the kind of dismissive thing usually heard among coworkers around the coffee or tea urn, either sipping black tea with sugar and lemon – Krakow’s fav – or strong black coffee known as czarna , literally the word for “black” or czarna kawa which, in its most extreme form, is equivalent to espresso. Coffee with milk is kawa z mlekiem and coffee with cream or milk is called biały kawa , literally “white coffee.”
Yes. That’s the point. What they’re saying to one another is, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” In other words
- “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”
- “Your opinion and approval aren’t needed, thanks. I have nothing to do with that and I’m simply not interested one way or the other.”
- “Not my concern and I’m incredibly busy. Now, if you’ll excuse me—“
Just cut to the chase.
- “Not my circus, and definitely NOT my monkeys.”
We all face Goliaths in this life. Unplanned job changes. Career choices. Health challenges. Marital issues. Family relationships. Financial hot coals. Interpersonal rapids. Professional whitewater. Spiritual turbulence. Faith shear. None of us lives very long without experiencing our own ugly, foul-tempered, bullying Goliaths.
Some are daunting and imposing. Some are pretty big. Some are just flat heeyoodge. Some seem to materialize out of thin air, hanging just beyond our reach, taunting like a pup with a towel he knows you need. Others you kind of see coming, hoping they don’t but understanding they probably will. Yet others are self-made, borne of bad or unwise momentary decisions, the effects of which live on long after the Big Ugly itself has been faced, owned and with God’s help taken down.
. . . and that’s where we’re going with this.
Neither you nor I, 2nd Cup friend, needs anyone else’s Goliath. I love you, pray with and for you, and appreciate everything you are and are not. I do NOT, however, want any of the ugly giants from your life. I have plenty of my own to face . . .
. . . and whip.
Mine are as unique to me as yours are to you. Trading is senseless. Goliaths don’t come in little packs with cheap bubble gum reminiscent of a quarter-slab of floor tile. Right. “Not my circus…”
We each face our own giants. And here’s the key: we face them with our own individual armor. Go back and read it in 1 Samuel 17. Everyone gathered around agreed: Goliath had to be taken out. “Oh, yessir, hoss–she’s got ta be diyud!”
David stepped up, recognized the challenge and decided it was time to do something about it. Of course, since it was to Everyone’s benefit that Someone do something I’m convinced Anyone could have done had they been willing, they were all gathered around David, offering him armor and weapons and gear.
“I can’t even move with all this stuff on me. I’m not used to this.” And he took it all off.” (v. 39)
When you stand facing your giants, you need to rely first on who and what God has made you to be, letting Him work specifically and exclusively in and through you.
The man sat on his own couch in his own living room, flanked by an eager man on his right and an equally eager, smiling woman on his left. As the poor guy in the middle swiveled his head back and forth like a Wimbledon spectator, the couple said in unison, “God loves you and WE have a great plan for your life!”
It is great to have trusted friends who are eager to help you in life. It is not great when you feel obligated to give in to their plans for your life instead of holding true to God’s plans for your life.
“But we’ve known each other for a long time. I don’t want to disappoint them.”
If they’re truly the friends you believe them to be, they may momentarily be disappointed you’re not following their lead. But they’ll recognize your resolve, understand your commitment to your own personal excellence and desire to keep God and His plan for your remaining days first above theirs, and they’ll celebrate that.
“What if they don’t?”
“Not my armor…”
“Not my giant…”
“Not my circus…”
Learn to distinguish between God’s voice and those of your friends and acquaintances. He will keep you focused and on task–HIS task. They will just keep you busy.
© D. Dean Boone, September 2014