Thursday, July 31, 2008

Accomplishment Addiction

Another outflow of the Sunday before last's Supermessage is that I've come to the conclusion that I've been in bondage to achievement. I'm a person who loves to cross things off her list. I'm almost at the point of making a list just so I can cross things off it. Sometimes in my journal at night, I list all the things I've donethat day, just so I can feel good. That doesn't seem right. That is, it doesn't seem that my motivation should spring from a desire to feel good just because I've gotten some things done today.

I've read tons of get organized and how to manage your time books and have come across statements such as, "It's accomplishment that really motivates... For a doer, one accomplishment just provides fuel for more." That was Don Aslett, in his book How to Accomplish 1000 Things at Once. He said, further, "Accomplishment is the sustaining reality. Once you build and produce, once youre work results in something that changes things, then it changes you, too, and feeds you like a tank of gas."

It's true, at least in that I think accomplishment is part of the pleasure God has put into life. We feel good when we get a bunch of things done. We take satisfaction in the work we have to do. But... we can also (I do, absolutely) feel bad when we don't get things done. When something happens and we don't get one thing on the list accomplished. or worse, when we just get sidetracked and distracted and end up not getting anything done, not because of someone else, but because of our own selves. Which I've always regarded as especially bad. You were a wastrel. A flake. A flibbitygibbit.

I've believed all this for years. Now I'm questioning it.

For one thing, I've become aware of the fact that I start each day with a plan in mind. I'm going to do A, B, C, D, and E in that order. Then I proceed. The whole time I'm doing A, I'm not concentrating on A, enjoying it, noticing the little pleasing details that are part of it -- no, I'm thinking about how fast I can get it done so I can go on to B. When I do B, I think about C. I'm always in a hurry, and should anything come up to interfere, well, that is a major distress factor. As I'm writing this I see so clearly how that method is all about my plan. My things. My order. Not about God's. When I didn't fulfill my plan, then I felt bad. I made myself feel bad. It wasn't God doing it. If I thought about God at all, I'd realize He saw me as accepted.

But somehow I couldn't get His eternal and overriding acceptance to link up with my temporal failure. I couldn't see that I was overriding God's acceptance with my own arrogant lack of acceptance.

There is now, no condemnation to those who are in Christ. God is perfectly pleased with me, as is. I don't have to do one thing to be "good." The things God has for me to do are for my blessing and benefit. It should be for pleasure and/or out of gratitude and desire to serve. Not the little stroke I get at the end of the day for having "accomplished" my plan. Not so I can feel good about myself because I've fulfilled "my" standards and "my" plans and that's what really counts. If God's said He's accepted us, period, how can I say, "That's fine. I know I'm acceptable to God but I'm not acceptable to myself." I'm actually saying I have to do a little more to please myself than I do to please God. And that's just nuts!