In a recent sermon at our church, David talked about how broken people get by in life by managing their lives. They create systems that cover up or justify their brokenness. For some reason, this terminology really struck me. Maybe because it’s just such a perfect description of myself.
I will begrudgingly admit to being a bit of a control freak from time to time. When I heard “manage and create systems” though, I felt like I had no choice but to own up to the words. At first it sounds a lot better than “control freak.” Who wouldn’t prefer to be called a manager rather than a freak? In the end though, it doesn’t really matter what you call it–the point is that we all avoid our own brokenness and try to hide it from others, especially God (see Leigh’s latest post for more on this!).
So I got to thinking….what are some of my systems? What do I do to shape others opinions of me? What do I do to look right before the Lord? Here’s what I’ve gotten so far:
- Avoidance. I will avoid talking about something (in as laid-back and chill of a way as possible) to make myself look better. I figured out early on in life that if you don’t say anything, most of the time people will assume that you’re going along with them. They will also often assume the positive rather than the negative about others (good ol’ self-esteem at work). I thought this was very useful in middle and high school–it allowed others to think that, yes, Elizabeth does all the same stuff that we do, even though I didn’t and sometimes didn’t even know what they were talking about. If only I’d realized that if I hadn’t tried so hard to fit in, I could have shared how the Lord was working in my life! I even almost finished this post by saying, “I’m still working on figuring out my systems…what are some of yours?” to give you an idea of how much of a habit this is!
- Complaining. I complain to gain sympathy. I complain to get attention. I complain to look better. Man…what a stupid idea! Who likes a complainer?? And I’m just realizing this right now, this moment…Lord, we’ve got a long, long way to go.
- Talking to friends. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl or maybe it’s because I’m me, but when almost anything of note happens I tend to call on my friendships to get through it. I’ve known for several years that this was probably not a good habit and I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better, but I don’t think I really have. You might think that it’s not really a problem but it is. Have you ever noticed that once you tell someone in great detail about something that happened that you don’t really want to talk about it again and again? The problem with going to a friend first, at least for me, is that then I don’t really feel the need to bring the subject before the Lord. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t confide in friends–I know that God gives us friendships to build us up. But I really think that I need to work on trusting the Lord with my stories first.
At the risk of boring you to tears, I’ll stop. I’m sure there are more systems (I’m a little scared to keep thinking about it!). I hope that the analogy works for someone like it did for me!