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April 29, 2010

In the recent post, “Who I am in Myself”, I gave a fairly detailed description of who I am…both good and bad.  I then took the list, threw it into an excel spreadsheet, and made columns titled:  “Positives”, “Negatives”, and “Spiritual Effects”.  Almost all of the qualities that I listed have both positives and negatives.  And I believe that almost all of the qualities can be molded and used for the glory of God.

Next I grouped them because many of them seem to tie into each other.  I came up with three groups:  Competence, Inter-relational and Personal. Many of the qualities overlap into these groups, but it was fairly easy to choose which group would primarily apply.

Today I am going to look at the “Competence” group.  Technically, the qualities in this group are both inter-relational as well as personal, but they all stem from my desire/need of competency.

To sum it up:  I like being competent in every area of my life.  The people that I respect most are those who strive for competency.  I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable and intelligent.  I strive to better myself and appreciate people who strive to better themselves.  Because I like to be competent, I also like to be right and tend to not act or speak about something until I am fairly sure that I am right.  This involves planning and a need to see the “big picture”.  I am curious and questioning, needing to know the “whys” about everything and everyone.  I am compelled to do things as good as, if not better than everyone else.  If I cannot, then I do not even bother to try.  I crave respect, but find it hard to give it to people who I view as “unworthy” of it.  I spend most of my waking hours proving to myself and others that I am competent.

This desire to be competent offers a lot of positives.  I am a great employee, as long as I don’t have to deal with people who (in my mind) choose to be stupid.  I will not just finish my work, but will finish it with accuracy and efficiency.  Because I am a perfectionist, my work tends to be very close to error free.  I am a great leader.  If there is a problem that needs to be solved, I will research and solve the problem.  If that involves taking a new approach, I am glad to do it as long as I have researched it and am fairly certain that it will work.  I am a great planner.  I throw some truly awesome parties.  Because I see the “big picture”, I am able to work my way through a situation fairly quickly, this generally makes me pretty good in crisis situations because I can deal with all the information being thrown my way.

The need to be competent also offers a lot of negatives.  If people are choosing to be stupid or lazy, I will quickly lose my patience with them.  I am not a good follower, unless the leader has proven him/herself to be intelligent, efficient and competent.   If people do not appreciate my intelligence and competency, I tend to strive to show them the “error of their ways”.  Sometimes that involves me “proving” to them that I am intelligent.  Other times, that involves me “proving” to them that they are not.  Because I am so focused on my competency and that of others, I do not always see the emotional ramifications of my behavior.  I do not think of how people feel after I prove “how intelligent” I am.  I do not think about the fact that while they may be aware of how smart I am, they are probably not liking me very much and I have probably unknowingly hurt their feelings by making them feel stupid.  No one wants to be around someone who always has to be right.  Because I am a perfectionist, if I know that I cannot due something “good enough”, I will not even attempt to do it.  I fear failing so much, that if there is even a chance that I might fail, I won’t even try.

Spiritually, my desire/need for competency can cause a problem in my relationship with God.  In order for me to truly be “competent” in God’s eyes, I need to admit that I am actually completely incompetent without Him.  If I strive in myself to be competent, I will ALWAYS fail.  Often God and I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on how situations should be resolved.  And since I like to be right, it is often difficult for me to admit that God’s way was right and mine was wrong.  God will always be “righter” than I am.  I have to find the humility to admit that God is the only one who knows EVERYTHING…not me.

Being a perfectionist can make it very hard to be a Christian.  I will never and can never be a perfect Christian.  I will never be “good enough” and have a tendency to feel like I am a failure when it comes to serving God.  Someone once told me that “God loves failures.”  My response to that was, “That is before He saves them, after He expects some fruit from them.”  While my response is true, I need to not allow myself to think that God is going to condemn me for making mistakes or for not being perfect.  God in His grace and mercy looks past my short comings and desires for me to find my perfection in Him.

I believe that my desire for competency is something that God has given me.  But it can also be a great weakness that Satan uses against me.  My competency can be used by God for truly great things…if I let Him.  In order to let Him use me, I must learn a greater humility.  Philippians 2:3-8 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!”

Competency – Humility = Sinfulness

Competency + Humility = Effectiveness

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