Wednesday, January 15, 2014

From Quitter to "Stick-with-it-er"

I have been a quitter most of my life. Not in all areas. Just in the ones that exposed my feelings of inadequacy, self-hatred, anger, and shame. To name a few:
  • Work/career
  • Relationships
  • Sexual purity
  • Most sports, especially basketball, golf, and tennis
  • Money
  • Controlling my temper/anger
  • Feeling confident in who I am
Wow. That's a long list. Work/career has been a lifelong struggle. One year I filed my taxes and had six W-2's. Boy, was I confused and wishy-washy that year! Until 2013, I really didn't feel confident to pursue a career direction. It's still a struggle many days to press through the unknown and "slow" financially-limited times. However, I love what I do now and know that I must persevere and trust the Lord's provision and direction.

In relationships and sexual purity, I stunk, too. I remained surface in most relationships and placed my identity in the opposite sex's approval. As a teen, I was either freaked out by girls or I let them determine the type of relationship we would have. I stood for very little and had very little confidence. In marriage, I longed for Amy's approval and was highly insecure. I eventually let myself go down a dark path that was very costly. Thankfully God is using it to bring healing to both of us.

In sports, I had a terrible temper. I hated to perform poorly or lose. Ask my friend Paul. He witnessed my temper regularly. Playing basketball, I could get madder than a hornet. In golf, tennis and even ping pong, I regularly beat or threw a golf club or racket in a temper tantrum. It's really embarrassing to relive those memories. I eventually quit playing those sports to avoid feeling the way I did. They had quite a stronghold on me. I still hesitate to coach because my competitive nature kicks in, and I don't like how I feel when that happens. Soccer coaching and playing is highly emotional for me. Running has it's "sensitive" areas, too, though I feel more confident in it than most sports and activities.

Money. It triggers more shame in me than most things. I am praying diligently for clarity as to why. It's hard not to base my mood or confidence in the bank account. It's a stronghold even today I seek to overcome. I don't want to base my worth, value and "mood" on money - whether we are seeing prosperity or struggle. I have made huge strides in overcoming my shame and insecurities regarding sexual purity, but I still have work to do in the area of finances. Money freedom and victory (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally) is my focus for 2014. My year of Jubilee!

Sadly, until my "fallout," I had more areas than not that led me to either quitting OR never attempting to try at all due to feeling like I would fail or "couldn't measure up." It's ridiculous that I spent nearly 37 years giving in to such negativity, doubt, shame and selfishness/pride. It's not a pretty sight. Matt Chandler of the Village Church is right, "In our shame, we turn to things that cause us shame." I am a living, breathing example of that reality. I want to keep that "chapter" (or chapters) closed and keep writing new ones. New ones that reflect victory in Christ; not defeat to sin and Satan.

Instead of being a quitter in life, I want to be a "Stick-with-it-er." I know that's not a word, but it has significant meaning. Other words to use could be: persevere, committed, diligent, faithful. These are words that I wouldn't have used to describe myself prior to 2011. I have grown in these qualities and traits since then, though. It has taken hours upon hours and months and months of reading, praying, and applying truth in order to slowly retrain my brain and be "transformed" as Romans 12 says.

I consider it an honor that the Lord is not done with me. It's humbling to think that He still has plans for me and takes the time to lead and teach me. That is a reflection of Him, not me. He's very personal and His character is unlike any other. It's amazing how much He loves me. 
Belief as a positive force is the promise of realizing things hoped for and unseen. As a negative force, it is the premonition of our deepest fears and unseen darkness. (Many people lead lives of quiet desperation, having most of their 365 nights each year spent in anxiety) ... There’s no such thing as an absence of faith; it’s always one kind or another --- optimism, or cynicism and despair.
Excerpted from Safari to the Soul by Denis Waitley

"If God is for us, then who can be against us?" Romans 8:28-31

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