Your Reality vs. Your Fantasy

Does the image you have of yourself match who you really are? Which one is real? Here’s another thought, it’s not about how you see yourself that matters as much as what you do. Actions matter.

Self-Image

One day I was dressed all in black, my old uniform, but it wasn’t the clothes that triggered a thought. It was how I saw myself then. You see, though no one knew it, I was the baddest, toughest, guy around who had all the answers.

At least that’s how I thought of myself.

That was my internal world/buffered self (see The Problems of Being A Self-Made Person). It was my identity and the story I told myself. Was it true?

Hahaha.

How did I interact with the world within this view of myself? With a superiority complex covering over an inferiority complex.

What use was it? Hard to say, I was too busy telling the world how brilliant I was to measure impact. There wasn’t any legacy in it.

Ask yourself those questions.

Living An Impactful Life

Now consider legacy. Legacy comes from making a meaningful impact in people’s lives. If you look carefully you can see the influence of one person as it works its way down a line of people. A ripple effect.

Think of the small things, the little things that you’re consistent at. I see people who show up and volunteer at every big project. They are in part creating something that will have an impact for years to come. Those who see them will remember, and whatever banner they are under will be remembered.

I work with people that I know I can count on. Their legacy is loyalty. One had even left, but while there I could count on her and learned from her.

The questions I’m leaving you are these, what legacy do you want to leave behind, and how far-reaching? When you die, how do you want to be remembered? For the Christians, when you see Jesus, will he tell you ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21).

Think about these. If you are truly who you see yourself as and are making the impact that you should, or if it’s just a personal fantasy.

My Greatest Struggle As A Leader

There’s an idea that you have it made when you’re placed into a leadership position. This idea isn’t shared by anyone in that position. This month marks two years since I was hired as a supervisor, and at times it’s a grievous burden to be a leader.

Why?

Because I care.

First some background. The position was created around four years earlier and I applied both times. I was unsaved the first time and was planning on using my knowledge of social dynamics to manipulate people to do what I wanted. Me against them, seeing them mostly as cogs in a machine. I didn’t care then.

I took my name out of the running before I was interviewed.

The second time the position opened up, I had been a Christ-follower for a year and prayed about it. Obviously I got it, and honestly, I regret it at times.

The Grievous Burden

What grieves me is those that were terminated or quit under my care. One young guy tried so hard, yet just couldn’t cut it in the position he was hired for. I worked with him, encouraged him, and got to know him. He was let go.

His last day I knew it was coming, and it broke my heart to see him trying so hard still. He had no clue that he’d wake up to a phone call the next morning informing him that he was fired.

Another guy, a good worker, hurt himself and was given every chance in the world. When he was skipped over during a hiring cycle, I was one of the ones to talk him, to talk him out of quitting. Encouraging him to excel in another position at the plant.

And he did. Then he lost his temper, quitting before they could fire him.

Another, recently, was fired. Had been employed at least two years, with problems a mile long, often disciplined, and missed work a lot. He lived nearby so I gave him rides when I could to keep him from getting fired for absenteeism. Ended up counseling him often when we weren’t geeking out over comics. He was a friend.

Time For Confrontation

The day he was fired, I learned of a bet on when it was going to happen. The attitude displayed in it angered and disappointed me. Especially since it was someone else who I’m mentoring now.

I confronted him, asking if it was true.

“Maybe…” he answered hesitatingly.
“He may have brought it on himself, but it is heartless to bet on another losing their job.”

The kicker is, he rigged the bet, having overheard about it. I mourned the loss of integrity. You know the saying ‘love the sinner but hate the sin’? That was what was happening then.

His justification was he wanted to get one over on the other guy. I quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:15 to him, “don’t repay evil for evil”.

Afterwards, I determined that the day I don’t grieve the loss of one of the crew is the day I step down as a supervisor. I will have lost my heart.

How Can I Reconcile All This?

You see, when you see those who work under your authority as people who have lives, hopes, dreams, and struggles instead as pieces on a chessboard, you will start to care about them. It’s not you versus them, it’s you and them together with the goal to do the job well. All balanced on the good of the customer, the company, and them as a person.

At least that’s how I see it.

Looking At The World As Heaven’s Ambassador

It’s the week of Easter and I made the three-day weekend a four-day one. I had zero intention of being productive on Thursday. Wednesday I had seen a post on Facebook about the church needing help moving the train out of storage for Eggstravaganza, our Easter bridge event.

When I woke up they still needed help. Should I? I have time, a whole day…

I got a strong impression, GO.

When God says go, you go. Why other than helping? I didn’t know.

To Work, I Go

As soon as I arrived, the kids’ pastor called me. Turns out they found enough people to get the train, but I could help this one guy on the Polaris.

For four hours we worked. We built a wheelchair ramp, small booths, and a big tent, all the while checking on other volunteers. I learned he usually does it by himself; I see him so much I assumed he was paid staff at the church.

Nope, he’s a volunteer, and he’d been working all week getting ready for the free event coming up to welcome the public to our church. The serving superpower is strong with this one.

Maybe why I was sent to the church that day was to simply give him a hand.

Why Was I There?

When I consider the transcendent ordering of the universe in line with God’s will, life can be approached more like an adventure. On a personal level, what was He doing? Was today to help, or build into something bigger down the road?

Take out the supernatural implications and it’s dull. Naturally speaking, they needed help so I went, though there’s no tangible benefit for me. Hours of work for a three-hour event. At the most, I get to feel good about myself for something that doesn’t matter in the long run.

Like I said, that’s from the materialistic perspective. Let’s look at it supernaturally.

Looking at it transcendentally, we opened up one of Heaven’s embassies in a grand event for the public. The desire is to save them from evil and themselves, with their eternal destinies at stake. We have the dual goals of representing our King, Jesus, and inviting them into his kingdom. It’s much more meaningful.

How does the world look when you shift your perspective to see yourself as an ambassador for Jesus?