I did it again!? Augh. Why did I do it? Why can’t I seem to learn my lesson? What is wrong with me?!
Those were the thoughts that careened through my mind after chatting with Phillip (not his actual name).
Phillip pushes all of my pathological buttons. So much so, that I avoid him whenever possible. That's because Phillip suffers from what I'd call, ‘obsessive competitive disorder.’
Whenever we chat, he habitually rolls out his standard artillery, touching on….
How many really important (i.e. wealthy) people he hangs out with.
How many boards he serves on and the fantastic work they are doing.
The many colleges that are recruiting his kids for one reason or the other. i.e. ‘Sandy is phenomenal, but Lucy [Sandy’s younger sibling] is even better.’
Adding the obligatory tip of the hat to God, Phillip once took a deep sigh, looked toward the ceiling and commented, ‘I do so much for the Lord.’
What bothers me is not that Phillip is a pathological status seeker. He always has been and probably always will be.
No, what bothers me is that when I am around Phillip, I reminded that I AM Phillip.
You see, if I weren’t Phillip, Phillip wouldn’t bother me.
But he does.
If I weren’t Phillip, I wouldn’t compete with Phillip.
I'd just let him win.
But I either can't or won't.
The people I most admire are those who have allowed Christ to infiltrate their lives at an uncommonly deep level. It's as if they know that they’re loved by, and belong to,Christ in a way that most of us just don't and that is enough for them.
It's that unalterable realization which makes them among the most serene and secure people walking the face of the planet. They are rarity.
They are relaxing, rather than exhausting, to be around because they are not interested in competing with you, or with others for that matter. It’s not that they try not to compete. It’s that it no longer even occurs to them.
They have nothing more, ‘to prove.’
I'm not sure how they got there, but I suspect it begins quietly.... and continues incrimentally.
Maybe it begins by letting Phillips of the world, 'win.'
All the best,
A Shamless Plug
For those of you who are interested, and especially those of you who don't presently attend church, I'd like to engage in a shameless self promoting plug: I am preaching on April 10th at 10 am at Great Valley Presbyterian Church (www.gvpres.org) on 'Plenty, Piety and Popularity: The Devil in Suburbia' and would love to have you join us. (Yes, you can sit in the back if you wish and no, eggs and tomatos will not be tolerated. :-)
'Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.'
-Jesus in St Matthew 11