Disclaimer: I am writing under the influence of pain meds :)
Do you find your identity or esteem in accomplishments?
I sure do. In fact, when I reflect on my life, I always feel at my best when I am on track towards completing something. And I seem to always be at my worst whenever I have just finished something and can't figure out what is next.
I remember having the opportunity to speak at a winter camp a while ago. It was my first "speaking gig." I was so excited and thought I was so important. I put so much work into it, and as I walked through the airport felt on top of the moon.
Then I remember having this strange epiphany while I was giving my first talk on Friday night. As I am talking, I kept thinking that I am still me. Nothing really changed, this moment didn't make me cooler, smarter, deeper, or more whole. In fact it revealed to me that this one accomplishment I had been working towards, really didn't fundamentally change who I was.
Accomplishments should be seen as simply the fruit of a faithful life, not as the goal.
Over the years, I have been re-learning this lesson over and over again. Getting things done, accomplishing goals, growing ministries and platforms should not be the end goal, or even the motivation. If these things to occur, it should simply be the fruit of being faithful to the calling that God has put on your life. The simple calling of loving Jesus and loving the small group of people that God has blessed you with. And part of that calling may be as a youth worker, loving students into the Kingdom.
Loving people and loving Jesus is not an accomplishment to have or a goal to work towards. Relationships are complex and nobody wants to feel like a project or simply a step onto something bigger and better.
This is more of a reminder for me than probably for you. I am totally wired to accomplish, and to find identity in that. But I know that healthy version of me that God is inviting me into is simply love. Love Jesus and love people and let the accomplishments take care of themselves.
Forced to put this into practice due to my own clumsiness :
As I sit on my couch staring at my broken up leg, knowing there is not one thing I can actually accomplish over the next 6 weeks, I am reminded again of this reality. Who knew a simply stumble down two steps would cause such a ripple affect in my life. A broken knee cap, surgery a week later, 6 weeks of PT, and after that, who knows. I just know for sure that all of my plans and goals are up in the air.
This is a brutal wake up call, and quite a challenge for someone wired like me. I am not going to lie, as I was driving home from the hospital, the weight of this reality hit me like a ton of bricks. The goals I had for myself over the next few months, professionally and physically all got put on hold. And I felt the immediate choice of being depressed by this reality, or embrace it as a spiritual discipline.
By God's grace, I am choosing the latter. I am choosing to embrace this next season as one not measured by accomplishment, but rather, measured by presence. There is very little that I can do. But there is a way that I can be. And I am choosing to embrace my savior, my family, my church, and my friends. I can't bring anything to the table except my friendship and love, and that is what I am going to do.
Accomplishments are fleeting.
Accomplishments are simply momentary markers in our lives. May we all simply remember that as we strive to work hard and do all the things that God has called us to, we remember it is our investment in actual people that matter, not the accomplishments or goals we conquer along the way.
May you love people well this week, and may I practice what I preach. #prayforme