Surprise: not there yet! (Beware, Honest Content!)

If you would’ve asked me a couple of weeks ago, “How am I doing really?” I would’ve told you I was in a good spot. Everything was going pretty great, right on track…until it wasn’t.

I started going through a book with a couple of guys and it has really gotten under my skin in a variety of ways. The book is “gods at war” by Kyle Idleman. I won’t spoil the book for you, but do want to highlight the ways it has bothered me (In a good healthy way.) So far, I have discovered that I wrestle with perfectionism, need for affirmation, and greed. Not a pretty picture at all. I want to show you what God has been revealing in my own heart for each of these and then I will talk about how God is repairing them in me.

First up, perfectionism. I feel like this one is pretty easy to justify because who doesn’t want to do a good job and strive for excellence. But if you look at the root of my perfectionism, you see a deeper heart problem. I am usually a very diligent worker at everything I do. If it’s worth doing, then it is worth my whole effort. I love getting things done, learning new things while putting them into action, and doing it well. The problem arises when I’m never satisfied with the results. I nit pick it to death. I refuse to see the great work accomplished and only focus on what is wrong with it. I do this with people as well. I point out where they miss the mark instead of seeing all the good they have accomplished. I find myself critical of my kids when they mess up (they are 4 and 2, so they make messes constantly) instead of focusing on them playing well together, minding, and having good manners. In the middle of perfectionism, I am neglecting something recommended and highly valuable, contentment. Paul teaches us to learn to be content in all things (Phil. 4), even in those messes and coming up so short. I find myself anxious and distracted by all that is off or wrong, instead of being content with what has gone right. There is deeper root here that goes way back, but I don’t wish to throw anyone under the bus to write this blog. God is doing a work, but first he had to reveal it to me so I could see it. Contentment is a choice and a learned behavior.

Next, is my need for affirmation. Honestly speaking, it goes perfectly with perfectionism. I want to do a good job so that others with notice and tell me how good I did with a project. (Side note: just to show you how crazily my brain is wired. I desire affirmation, but I am absolutely awful at receiving compliments and encouraging. Fastest way to make me uncomfortable, compliment me. Weird I know!) I have a deep desire to be noticed. When I was a kid, I always stood in someone else’s shadow. It had a profound impact on me. I remember thinking as a kid that I couldn’t wait to be know as Timothy, not Darrell’s boy. This is how it usually plays out. I do some home renovation project and it turns out pretty well. I cannot wait to post the before and after pictures on social media (Like I’m Chip Gaines or something) so that I can have the moment’s glory and attention for a job well done. Just this week, I finished a project and caught myself trying to get my phone out to take a pic to post on Facebook. I didn’t by the way, because it wasn’t the right motivation. There was a time a few years ago that I did projects because I enjoyed them and it usually helped the resale value of my home. Somewhere along the way, it got twisted in my heart and in my head. So there won’t be any home renovations pics from me any time soon. I want to be known by God and called His Child. I want to live in fellowship with Him and quit trying to find shallow, cheap substitutes. My value and worth comes from Jesus, not likes and positive comments.

Finally, but probably not the last one. Greed! This is a word that I never thought would be a problem for me. I really don’t care about money. I never had much money for the biggest part of my life. Just over a decade ago, I was usually lucky to have more than ketchup and homemade bread in my fridge. God has done miraculous things since then. We are in the middle of selling one of our homes in Texas and we hit a road bump last week. The appraisal came in significantly lower than the contract price. The bank panicked, the buyers panicked, and I was less than thrill. We ended up taking a hit on the price one week before closing. It put me in a funk for sure. I really wrestled with why it was bothering me so much, other than the money part. God pointed out a problem area in my heart. I was getting upset over something temporary. Money won’t last and the money I accumulate here will be spent by someone else after I’m gone. The other reason for being unsettled was I looking forward to doing something with the extra cash without even considering what God might want me to do with the money He provided for me in the first place. Ouch! So the deal has stalled and I am trusting God, who sees the whole picture. It was never my money to begin with. I’m just stewarding it for a short time. I need to make sure my focus is on the eternal, not the temporary.

Some pretty ugly things had taken root in my heart, all the while I thought I was fine. It is hard to admit ugly sin problems, especially publicly like this (You know the 6-8 readers and mom 🙂 ). But I know this will be helpful to someone and it will be an encouragement to search your heart and let God do a work in you. For me, that is enough. If I can help you in any way, please let me know. I would love to help. I am slowly letting go of these things so My relationship with Jesus can have my full attention.

Grace and Peace to you as you search your heart and come clean before God. I encourage you to really consider anything that could be stealing your focus from God. I am not there yet, but God is still working on me!!

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