A long time off from blogging. Had some time to work and reflect on new things happening at Parkview and it’s been great, but I felt this was a good time to jump back in. I was prompted, too, or should I say “kicked into gear.”
Three things happened to me this week: 1. During the Starting Point class I teach, I was asked a Biblical question that totally stumped me. In front of the entire group. 2. I finally finished a message on science and the Bible, and I say finally because I ended up totally re-vamping my sermon writing process to get it done. 3. I realized that I talk too much in my small group.
These events have a particular impact on my personality type – I’m a “feeler” and have an oversensitivity to the way people perceive me. It leads me to do a lot of “perception-management”, making sure that no one thinks bad of me or questions my ability or competency.
Seriously, this is why public figures have public relations people working for them. It’s a full time job.
The lesson here is very simple – humility. The hardest thing for my personality type to learn about is the balance between pride and self-destruction. It is almost as if I have a split personality, and the lessons of humility shine a spotlight on that split.
On one side, Satan wants to convince me of this idea: “See, you make mistakes. You aren’t worthy of doing this work or teaching these people. You are, and will always be a colossal screw up.”
Exhibit A: self-destruction.
On the other hand, the temptation becomes “Just make something up on the fly that makes everyone believe you’ve go it covered. You’re the best at that – you know you can get people to believe you’ve got it all together. Then they'll say how wonderful and brilliant you are.”
Exhibit B: pride.
I think this is a challenge for anyone who has a public presence, or even if you don’t we get so caught up in perception-management or self-destructive thoughts that we forget the basic reality of being a follower of Jesus.
For example, have you ever dropped the ball on something and brought back a recent email problem as an excuse? "Hey did you ever talk to that guy for me? I sent you an email." (knowing you totally whiffed, you say) "Oh, an email? Well, we've been having server problems but send me another one and I'll get to it." Yep, I've done that. Guilty.
Maybe you "get to it" this time - but what we've just done is missed an opportunity to blast the light of honesty into the world and into our own lives and at the same time given the Spirit of Jesus a chance to say "Okay, now, let's work on this together."
Jesus surrendered all the power He had so that “every knee would bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11)
Through that, life changes and we no longer call the shots on our ultimate value. We are directed, strengthened and given courage by the Spirit of God (John 16:12-15) to live like Christ (Gal. 2:20).
Perhaps you can join me in praying that God would rid me of the joke of perception-management? That I would see that He loves me, but know that He calls me to an honest self-assessment and obedience to the life the Spirit calls me to.
Could I pray the same for you?
If you haven't watched my interview with Gretchen Magruder on "community" it's great Wednesday viewing. Keep an eye out for the next installment with Greg Hunt from Paseo Christian in El Paso, TX.