Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Character (Not the Sesame Street kind).

Say it with me 10 times.....

"I am not defined by my job. I am not defined by my job...."

It's true. But it's impossible to believe.

Okay, maybe not *impossible* but it certainly feels impossible sometimes.

I have struggled with this for as long as I can remember. I would like to think that it's simply a spirit of excellence. But the reality is, my "spirit of excellence" is a short jog away from "perfectionism"

Oh yes. Not far at all, my friends.

When things are difficult at work, I immediately feel like a failure. Its usually a mixture of ingredients that make "crap soup" and if anything, my input is minimal...But I can't help it. At least not on my own.

I think sometimes, we take control of what we think success is. Of why we think people love us. Of why we love ourselves. I have always been an overachiever. It's who I am. Down to my core.

I work hard. I am dedicated. And I will always give 110% to everything I put my hands to. But, I won't be good at everything. At least not from man's perspective. Sometimes, it's just not going to go the way I think it should. The way I think I *deserve* it to go. The way I am certain God intends it to go.

But maybe that's because my perspective is skewed.  And if I fail at my job, or at something else, it isn't those things that gain or lose God's approval. It's my heart in the face of those things. It's my character that matters.

Sarah, Abraham's wife, she had this problem too. In their culture, it was customary for a woman to give her husband children, even if that meant a servant bore those children. She couldn't have children. That was her *job* and she felt like a failure. I get that.

And she tried to change the situation (by means that were completely *culturally-acceptable*)...She tried to "fix" what appeared to be "crap-soup". She wasn't trying to "play God" or anything, she was trying to please God. To please her husband. To give them all what she was *certain* they all expected from her. I get that.

And she was so consumed with her "way" of fixing things that she forgotten to listen. She was so caught up in the situation, that she forgot to hear what the Creator was saying. I get that, too.

And she no longer believed in what He would do through her. Yep, totally get that.

But God didn't see Sarah as a failure. Maybe a little impatient. Maybe too much of a perfectionist. Maybe a little "caught up" in the situation that by man's perspective, made her a failure. But God never saw her as a failure.

His promise, while outside of what seemed acceptable, was to make Abraham the father of many nations. Through Sarah.

I have mentioned before that our lives are like a beautiful mural God is painting....There may be patches of black paint and rough strokes (90 years of black paint in Sarah's case) but if we trust that He only makes beautiful paintings. If we believe that it truly is our character that defines us...NOT  our jobs, our successes. our esteem....Then we can trust that, in the end, we are not failures. We are children, trusting our Father not to lead us astray.

"The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7 (b)

So the next time the world tells you it hates your stinkin' guts? That you make it vomit? That you're the scum between its toes?  Remember that God hasn't discounted you just because man has. Remember the things you are called to. Remember that there is a way to bring glory to God in the worst of situations.

 That's character, my friend.


Jennifer Poss said...

Thanks for this blog. I've been feeling extremely stressed out the last week because I'm trying to hard to be perfect at work. Since I'm the new intern I know they are watching me like a hawk. I've made a few mistakes, mistakes that were expected since it's my first month there.. but I have totally beaten myself up for it!! It's exhausting trying to be perfect when you know you aren't...

Matt and Sarah said...

Good Stuff! I needed this reminder today too. I'm a "fixer," a people pleaser, and a perfectionist as well. God is continually reminding me that He has it under control and that He is pleased with me...even when it seems like others aren't.

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