I am the epitome of Type A. I am a perfectionist. In fact, I take pride in my perfectionistic tendencies.
Uh oh. The "p" word. Pride.
This week in my discipleship class we talked about consecration. Now, if you're anything like me, you've heard that word thrown around in church a lot. Part of the vocabulary in Christian-ese. Here's what it means:
1. the act of dying to oneself
2. picking up your cross
3. giving up your rights
Whatever I am willing to die for is what I am consecrated to. In other words, where are my priorities? Where do I spend my time? What do I put above all else? Well.....I can unequivocally say that I am currently consecrated to my job. It is my priority. Above all else. Hmmmm.....sounds to me like my priorities are a little skewed here.
Let's be honest. Like I said before, I am a perfectionist. I want my to-do list completely marked off every night before I leave work. I want my lessons to be perfect. I want my bulletin boards to be perfect. I want my SMART board slides to be perfect.
I. Like. Perfect.
Now, I can clothe this passion, this obsession with perfection at work in the "calling" that is education. It's for my babies! It's for the future of our country! I am doing this for them! And I genuinely, genuinely believe those things. Hear me when I say this -- I am passionate about my job and the importance of it!!!! It truly is a noble profession. HOWEVER.....When it comes right down to the nitty gritty, this is nothing more than good, meaningful intention hidden among pride.
Not only am I a perfectionist, but I'm a wee bit competitive. (I'm also good at sarcasm. "Wee bit" might have been an understatement.) This school year I have a PHENOMENAL new teammate which pretty much rounds out our second grade team as the most perfectionistic (is that even a word?) teaching team on the face of the planet. And we are good at what we do. Here's where the competitive thing comes back to bite me.
When my teammates have created some magnificent bulletin board or lesson plan or filing system (yes, even filing system), I feel a little bit bad about myself. A little guilty for not having spent the time doing that myself. A little less than. Is this making any sense at all??
And so I give up another weekend to work at school. I stay up late at night grading papers and making lesson plans instead of having my quiet time. I skip the gym in the morning to get to school and finish that to-do list and try to stay one step ahead of the game. But in the process, I have become consecrated to my job. I have become consecrated to my pride. Wow. It really is too bad that the Lord sees my heart. I'm so good at hiding these truths from the outside world!
But here's the bottom line. I am not going to die on the cross of room 103. I am not going to die on the cross of perfectionism. YES, I will continue to work my tail off at school because what I do every day means something and sometimes it means everything to a student.
We learned also that burnt offerings (sacrifices) were completely consumed in the fire. NOTHING was left of them. I will not be a living sacrifice to my job. I will not be utterly consumed by a job that will always have a to-do list a mile long, a job that will always have new expectations and requirements and guidelines. I will be a living sacrifice to the One and Only. I want to be consumed by HIM.
The other part of being consecrated that spoke to me is giving up my rights. Ouch. If I'm honest, here are the rights I'm still holding on to.
I deserve to be married.
I deserve to have children.
I deserve to have a job that fulfills me.
I deserve to have my dreams fulfilled.
But the honest truth is that I don't deserve jack diggety dog anything good. I deserve death. For the wages of sin IS DEATH. And, Lord knows, I am a sinner. Saved by grace alone - the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So I choose to be consecrated to my Savior. I give up my rights to marriage and children and career and dreams. I give up my rights to happiness when what I truly desire is holiness. This in no way, shape or form means that I don't continue to desire those things. But I sure as heck am not entitled to them. Not my will, but HIS will be done.
Jesus, help me to let go of my pride. Help me to put first things first. You are my first and my last. The beginning and the end. Remind me of this daily. I will die on the cross of Calvary with my Savior. I will die to myself. For whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will keep it.
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