Like Paul, I too got to marry my dream girl later in life. Unlike Paul, my dream girl is 8 years younger than I am, so it was an even better thing that I waited. However, while waiting for Rosy was a good thing, my time alone allowed me to develop a really bad habit that I battle to this day.
I like to do things without anyone’s help.
I start a project by myself…and I’ll finish by myself, even when help is offered and I really need it.
I procrastinate until the last minute…because I know how I want things done and I don’t need anyone else.
I don’t read anyone in on a project…because I need to show that I have a handle on things.
The times I do involve people…they don’t get it right the first time, so then I have to do the same thing over again to get it done right.
I hate teamwork, and I’m justified by my personality test. I’m an INTP, in other words I’m introverted (which means I get my energy by being alone), and a thinking perceiver, which (I’ve been told) means I take too much blame for things going wrong. So there, I’m bad at teamwork. I should do everything by myself.
But that gets lonely. And then I get sad, depressed, and I’m even less fun to be around. When I follow my personality type to a “T”, I hate my life. Maybe it is true that a personality test can explain you, but it shouldn’t define you.
Self-reliance is an American ideal. It is even more prevalent now than before. We don’t simply talk about teams, we want to talk about individuals. It’s not the New England Patriots vs. the Denver Broncos, it’s Brady vs. Manning. I mean, lately Brady is only great when Rob Gronkowski is not injured and Manning can’t beat a loosing team when his line isn’t playing well, but it’s still Brady vs. Manning.
Maybe we should call it an American idol. More specifically, my idol. I love to imagine that I have things under control. I like the praise that comes when I do something well. I don’t mind blame when things go wrong, because when it goes right the glory is mine.
This even affects my relationship with God. I make the mistake of imagining I work for God, and not with Him. Sometimes, I only pray at meals and bedtime because I’ve got it “under control”…until I don’t…then I panic…and blame God for not helping me. I mean, I didn’t do it His way in the first place, but it’s His fault, right?
God’s statement in Genesis 2, “It is not good for the man to be alone…” illustrates how important it is for us to have other people in our lives. It may be a spouse, but even single people need other around them.
Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. We need other people to encourage us, to love us, to tell us we’re wrong (lovingly), and to spur us on to good works. The church began with 120 people led by 12 (Acts 1), not one. That’s how they were able to grow to 3000 so quickly, with a quick kickstart by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).
We may need breaks from people, but even the most introverted person was never meant to do things all by himself.
Personally, this is especially important for me to remember, as a church is forming here in Denver. In the city, we have a lot of small churches throughout our area that really don’t seem to reach a lot of people. Some may blame it on a Hispanic culture that is hard to reach for Jesus. And while that is true, I find that often it is because a key person will take the job on him/herself to run a church. It could be a minster, an elder, or even just an sweet old lady (until you cross her). But the church will only grow to the point that the key person can maintain control. If that person works really hard, the church will grow to about 175. But it will never get larger than that.
I’m not saying that all small churches are run by one person, because there are plenty of healthy small churches in our world. I am saying, that large churches never got large on the back of one person. We may celebrate the minister because of our celebrity culture, but that minister has to have a great team working with him to make the church grow.
I do not have this down yet. But I am willing to let go of what was to hold on to what God has for me, even if that means sharing it with someone else.