I was asked to write answers to the following 4 questions by my Counselor/Spiritual Director.
How does my profession distract me from my Journey?
1) To succeed in the profession requires high levels of activity, whereas success in the journey requires stillness.
The higher activity level required for professional success is like junk food, sex or alcohol. It’s very alluring, it makes you feel good, but can become addictive. The short term high of professional success can seize my attention and steal it away from the business of stillness.
High activity levels, “doing” seems to be a part of my God-given wiring. Therefore professional activity will always capture my attention first.
2) Most of the human approval I receive comes from professional activity. I am popular
I am a 2 with a 3 wing. (a reference the personality assessment tool called the Enneyagram) Having people line up outside my office door and tell me (in so many words) that “I’m the only one who understands…the only one who can help”, feeds my basic need. With this need being met at work – receiving affirmation and approval from God seems like the “slow/hard” way.
3) Without consciously trying to, I begin to develop the idea that I have “arrived” at some magical point in my journey that no longer requires the amount of attention it did earlier…simply because I have a position of leadership – those around me seem to think I’ve arrived somewhere, and I don’t stop to really evaluate the absurdity of that idea often or deep enough.
4) Because I have the potential to affect a larger number of people – I am a target for
Satan. One of his ploys is to ruin or inhibit my personal journey in order to impact my professional one.
How does AC3 feed my addictions?
1) Because I was the first hire – the one who kind of took the backdoor, unlikely,
rebellious path in to full time ministry – my role at AC3 is a “special one” (note 2 with 3 wing) I’m the one who didn’t “play by the rules” and this is a role that feeds my addictive need to be acknowledged as unique and special.
2) In terms of a ministry, I couldn’t be better suited to be a part of AC3. The emphasis on creativity and freedom, the irreverent approach to “liturgy” the musical emphasis and the opportunity to work in a pastoral role all at the same time seem custom made for me. This makes it a rarity – a 1% chance to do the things I love all day and get paid for it. This creates a jealous, “addictive” kind of need for it.
3) I have an idealistic commitment to this style of ministry because it was exactly this kind of church that made the difference in turning me from a spiritual seeker into a Christian seeker. I tend to be radical or one might say I behave addictively in my advocacy for these ministry ideals.
4) I receive a lot of literal applause. Through playing drums, singing and preaching, I get a lot of public affirmation which I crave.
What do I fear about my relationship with Brenda?
1) I fear losing my masculinity. I fear that she will deem me un-manly when I act as my true self. I have given her near sole-authority in judging my manhood.
2) I fear being tricked, duped, lied to, made a fool of. Being a laughing stock.
3) I’m afraid that no matter what I do, no matter how much unconditional love and acceptance I give her –she will choose to spend that freedom on other things, activities and relationships. I’m afraid that I’m inadequate to keep her affections.
4) I’m afraid she’s always secretly longing for a physically larger, more masculine man who is less emotional, less talkative, more interested in fun and relaxation…someone “simpler”…lower maintenance and manlier. I can’t be any of those things.
What perceptions and philosophies do I hold about myself?
1) I am an idealist. To a fault.
2) I am highly emotional.
3) I am a story teller. A troubadour.
4) I am empathic. I must work at not automatically adopting the view of the person in front of me without consideration.
5) I am a creator.
6) I love to learn the essence of things. The details rarely matter to me except as they relate to the essence of the thing. I collect experiences.
7) I look for and see patterns in everything, from nature to human behavior.
8) My soul is fed by being outdoors alone.
9) I crave change and challenge. Adventures (not thrills).
10) I am more of a pilgrim than a monk.
11) I love to complete things.
12) I recognize potential in people and things and am excited by the prospect of seeing it developed
13) I love serving as a guide for people
14) I am a romantic: From Wikipedia – “Romantic love became a recognized passion in the Middle Ages, when in some cases insurmountable barriers of morality or convention separated the lovers. The effect of physical attraction and impossibility of intimacy resulted in an excessive regard of the beloved as extremely precious. Winning the love, or at least the attention, of the beloved, motivated great efforts of many kinds, such as poetry, song or feats of arms.”
My romanticism focuses not just on women (Brenda) but on ANYTHING that I find appealing. This romanticism blends with my idealism and my love for learning “essence” so that I tend to fall in love with ideas. I love the idea of sailing. I love the idea of music, the idea of sex. My romanticism can extend to anything (following quote also from Wikipedia): One aspect of romantic love is the randomness of the encounters which lead to love.
15) I’m easily disappointed
16) I overreact
17) I have a tendency to lie and exaggerate
18) I’m afraid of many things