Recently I heard a sermon from pastor Andrew (our Assistant Pastor), which reminded me that I must do things for HIS glory even if I may not be happy with it or it may not be one of my priority list.
You may think that this is obvious principal that all Christians should already know about (which I agree) but knowing is one thing and putting into action is another...
Andrew's core sermon message did not make me realize this but his willingness to admit and share his own personal struggle during the sermon really hit it home for me.
It's really a plausible and admirable thing for a pastor (or any leader) to share their shortcomings since that is the exact opposite of what is expected of from the leaders.
I was reminded that a humility is not about thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less (but more of God).
After the sermon, we were challenged to think about what aspects of our lives that we put before/above God and the first thing that came to my mind was the disease that I had for a very long time... striving to be flawless and perfect in what I do...
Katie reminds me very frequently that this is a sick disease I have in me.
I try so hard to be flawless in everything that I do... I raise the bar SO high that no matter how much I do, it won't be good enough...
but the biggest problem is that it's not that it won't be good enough for me but I worry that it won't be good enough FOR OTHER PEOPLE'S EYES.
I'm very happy and proud to share that I no longer worry about how I look or what I wear. It's been a while since I stopped caring and worrying about my outside presentation to others. I stopped buying new clothes and I normally would wear the same clothes every Saturday and Sunday (since these two days are the only days that I would go outside of my house).
If I need a new apparel, I would either buy it from Costco or order it from online with the cheapest price I can find. I actually HATE wearing clothes that have their brand names printed outside and I cannot stand and allow Katie to buy me anything that is more than inexpensive (e.g. no more than $30 for pants but ideally $20).
Looking back, all the money and energy that I spent trying to look good outside makes me laugh and sad at the same time....
Even though I don't care or don't get embarrassed about my outside appearance anymore, I guess I do care about the work that I do and how others might perceive my work. Without sounding arrogant, this might be the reason why I'm good at what I do at work for a living.
Don't get me wrong, I think we should all try to do our best in all that we do using the talents that God gave us but when it becomes too obsessive and to the point where you are too afraid or worried about how others will judge your work, it clearly becomes a problem...
This also has some major downside and negative impacts at work and more importantly, to close people around me at home and at church...
Because I try so hard to be flawless at work, I end up over achieving many times (even though it's never perfect) and I end up expecting the same type of results from my peers and people that I manage. This makes me quick to criticize and unwillingness to compromise for anything less than WHAT I CAN ACHIEVE.
Katie tells me I can never be (or rather shouldn't be) a manager for this reason...
Now imagine how this sick disease I have can affect my wife and my children... it's really detrimental to their mental health... I realize that.
Katie lived with me last 10 years in horror because she was horrified how I would react to things that she did. Again, I was very quick to criticize and hardly ever gave any encouragement or even word of affirmations since everything she did are what I expected and/or didn't even meet my expectations/standards. How horrible does that sound?... it's really sad.
Because of what she went through with me, she stands up for our children and keeps reminding me not to put that kind of pressure and expectations on our children... because they will either grow up to have a very low self-esteem or even worse, I will end up passing this sick disease to their lives...
More importantly, how does this impact my relationship with God and as a Christian?
I recently shared this in my Life Group...
Because of this sick disease, I rely less on God and rely more on myself. What's worse is that I will only take on tasks that I know I will do well in but not on tasks that requires trusting in God and relying on His sovereignty and provisioning.
I recently learned from the Life Group material that we need to develop a Radical Faith ("Holy Ambition" by Chip Ingram).
Here are two excerpts from the book:
Radical faith is choosing to step out to fulfill God's clearly defined will at possible great personal risk and sacrifice.
Radical faith is not a faith you simply possess; it's a faith you practice!
Finally, I've been working on a secret project for one of the ministries that I serve in my church for several months. This project will help the volunteers to be better and more confident in their serving. Even though this project was production-ready more than 2 months ago, I did not share this with anybody because I wanted to have all the bells and whistles so I can wow the audience... Soon after I realized this, I shared and announced the project with my ministry so we can all immediately benefit from it for the glory of God.
I have to constantly think, am I doing it for the glory of God or for glory of my own?
If I do a good job then I'm sure there will be some glory/compliments from others but there must be more emphasis on the glory to our God.
There must be more of HIM and less of me.