I let it happen again. My tags were expired and I couldn’t remember where my renewal form was so I could renew online. Therefore…off to the county clerk.
On my way, I began thinking about the week I’ve had. The balls that were dropped so others could be juggled. Some were really insignificant but others created new stress that I had let someone down.
I’m a 1 on the Enneagram which means I, like all “Reformer” 1’s, have an inner critical voice. Few people are as hard on me as I am on myself. (That inner critical voice is the defining characteristic of a 1, by the way, if you know such a creature.) It’s what drives a 1, which is also called a “Perfectionist”, to assess everything all the time. Nothing is as good as it could be or should be. We can simultaneously be driven to change the world AND decide that we’ve failed at absolutely everything in life…even renewing your tags.
Before you stop reading what appears to be a lengthy sob story about my inefficiencies, you should know I’ve been a 1 my entire life and part of maturing is learning how to manage your deficits. I still hear that quiet corrupting voice but I’ve learned to listen to a host of other, wise and encouraging voices, too.
Soooo, this morning I was heading to the County Clerk to get legal with the DMV thinking about all of those dropped balls rolling in the floor around me. As a pastor that usually leads pretty quickly to think about things I do for our church and more personally, things I do or should have done because of my faith.
Part of the maturing process I have developed over the years when dealing with feelings of failure or when I give that inner voice too much volume is to simply stop and pray. I believe in prayer and I believe God when he says to seek His Kingdom first and the rest will take care of itself (Matthew 6:33).
I also believe God sees me and He sees you.
God sees us at our best and our absolute worst but He is more eager to encourage us in our growth than criticize our weaknesses when we are truly seeking to follow Him.
Usually this prayer goes something like this:
God, can you see me? Do you know what’s going on in my life?
(of course He does – but sometimes sharing the details helps me to see more clearly – God already does)
Forgive me for dropping the things that you wanted me to carry and thank you for helping me carry the things that I did.
Help me to see the way you see and show me how to move from here.
Please preserve the relationships that I may have hurt along the way. Show me how to repair what may (or may not be) broken.
Thank you for loving me, for forgiving me and for helping me find a better way.
Now, there’s nothing magical about this prayer. God doesn’t fix all my problems because I prayed it. He actually leaves me with a lot (but not all) my problems so I’ll learn to avoid them in the future.
But God does see.
He does know.
He does have a way forward.
Even for you.
If you are a 1 or if you just deal with a lot of feelings of failure (which could indicate you might be a 1 on the Enneagram), know that God is seeing your inner motives and intentions. That may give you hope or it may give a little twinge of fear, but He does see you and He is in your corner.
BTW, if you are a 1, that inner critical voice is an asset. It drives you to do more than you ever would have done without it. Just be sure it is balanced with voices that give you a more realistic and positive picture of the world and yourself. if you are looking for some of those more positive voices, Jesus really is my first choice.
With much love,