Always striving

“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”  Psalm 17:15

I discovered this verse in high school and it quickly became my life verse.  To me it speaks to that constant pursuit of being Christ-like – refusing to be satisfied until I awake in His likeness.

I think what I connected with in this verse is that idea of a constant pursuit, a striving, a desire to achieve.  Unfortunately I don’t always apply that relentless striving to the right things.  I wrote this in my journal last year:

I have this overwhelming, insatiable need for validation/to be acknowledged/to be right/to be taken seriously/to be valued.  So much so that I never lighten up/relax/let my guard down.  I always feel the need to prove myself.  It doesn’t matter what it is… work… house cleaning… exercise… decorating, etc.  Important or trivial I always have this underlying drive to prove myself.

Marcus Buckingham describes this as the striving talent of “achiever”.  In his book First, Break All The Rules he says this of achievers: “They may not have to win, but they do feel a burning need to achieve something tangible every single day.  And these kind of people mean ‘every single day.’  For them, everday – workday, weekend, vacation – every day starts at zero.  They have to rack up some numbers by the end of the day in order to feel good about themselves.  This burning flame may dwindle as evening comes, but the next morning it rekindles itself, spurring its host to look for new items to cross off his list.  These people are the fabled ‘self-starters.'”

I wish that I applied my “achiever” nature as much to the pursuit of being Christ-like as I do to all the other things in my life.  It’s kind of humbling that I seemed to have more clarity on this back in high school than I do now as an adult. 

How about you?  What about your personality, taken to the extreme, creates imbalance in your life?  

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  • Ash March 20, 2008  

    It’s pretty common around the office for people to comment on my “harmony” strength (also identified by Marcus Buckingham’s work). I actually love that this strength is a part of my nature…it means that I tend to look for areas of agreement with others. Wanting to help others feel comfortable comes naturally to me. It can (and often does) push me out of balance when I become so concerned with pleasing others that I over-extend myself, say yes to things I should refuse, and then get exhausted, annoyed (mostly with myself) and generally uneffective.

    It’s good to have great friends (like you!) and an amazingly patient husband who gently remind me to keep this in check!

  • Wendy March 21, 2008  

    I can identify with the comment that you wrote in your journal. I find it very difficult to relax and ‘let my guard down’. Even when I’m not trying to accomplish something, I’m thinking about what I should be accomplishing. I know that part of that is due to my task-oriented personality. Because I am so task-oriented, I have a harder time focusing on and developing relationships. I am really striving to do better in that area. It’s hard for me to take a break from ‘doing’ stuff to just ‘be’ with people. I just keep reminding myself of the Lord’s urging to “be still . . . “

  • Rachel March 23, 2008  

    Yes, you are definitely an ‘achiever’ as is Jim. I thank God for you ACHIEVERS because if it were left to me (whatever I am), it would not get done. I think my biggest flaw or weakness that keeps me furthest from Christ is my selfishness. I awaken most days thinking of ME and how I can find time to myself to get my stuff done…not what I can do for Christ or how He can use me that day. I need to work on that because I know the blessings (and end-of-the-day success) come when I deny myself and take up His cross.