Who I almost was

Written by David on June 29, 2012

A week ago, I had the privilege of leading a newly formed guy’s Bible study for church, focusing on our own life stories. I facilitated by choosing a few topics, then letting everyone share for a minute or two about that topic - and this would help guide us as we told our stories. We started from the beginning, talking about out parents, childhoods, and lives before submitting to Christianity. Then we transitioned into what changed us and led us to Christ, the people who had changed us, and how we had been doing since then.

As we reflected, a few major themes prevailed. We stopped to ponder the people we had been before we knew Christ and the trajectory we were headed towards - then the interruption of God’s grace in our lives, the fortune of our pride being impossibly broken - broken enough to recognize our need for a Savior and to know that Savior in Christ.

As Chris drove me home, he asked who I thought I would have become if I had never become a real Christian. I acknowledged that I had been on a pretty bad trajectory in life - that if I was a spectator of my own life, I would be worried for myself. I could’ve ended up a pretty bad kid. I would do anything for a laugh or attention - I didn’t really have moral standards. I cared for shallow things - the reputation, the grade - regardless of the internal conditions. It didn’t matter if I was smart if no one knew it or if my GPA didn’t reflect it. Not only did I care about things that didn’t matter - I cared about them a lot. I often questioned what the point of doing something was if I couldn’t be the best. And if I wasn’t the best - which I dreadfully knew to be true - what was the point of trying?

In my mind, that was the only thing that mattered, the only thing that fueled anyone who ever lived. We were all trying to be the best… and if we weren’t, we faded out of history. That was secretly my conviction. But also my downfall - it was entirely impractical and severely unforgiving.

My solution wasn’t to ease up on my standards. Fortunately - I didn’t have to. I became known by God, and He offered the escape I had sought after in porn and reputation and grades. One day in Mexico City, I struggled in my understanding that I simply wasn’t good enough to be loved and accepted by God. Later that night, I found much needed rest in Jesus as the reason and certainty that I was good enough http://bib.ly/1Jo2.1.

I think one of the big problems, though, is that my natural tendency is to try to prove and validate myself. I’ve learned that, when it comes to my job, I’m still seeking to be good enough, to be the best, to be the one person who changes the world (and anything less is worthless). My identity isn’t really found in Him - not quite all of the time, anyways. Before I had this job, I knew that people would turn to their careers and paychecks for identity - but I never really knew the struggle until I gained those things and felt the extreme insecurity of them. I wake up and go to work feeling like everything could come crashing down if I don’t produce and out-work all of my coworkers. Suzi can attest to my increased crankiness and stress levels since starting at Amazon. There’s a prevalent paradigm of proving yourself - and the fear you’ll be cut once they figure out you don’t really know what you’re doing.

I guess I’m struggling to learn how to work at work. I’d appreciate prayer and advice.