Obsessed Much? Identify And Dealing With What Controls Us

There is this guy on my street that is constantly working on his lawn.  It’s not a large lawn, but during the Spring, Summer and Fall he is out there watering, raking and manicuring his grass.  His obsession is amazing because if a patch goes brown, he rips out the entire lawn.  As grass grows back he ropes it off from small children and falling leaves.  The man really loves his lawn.  But as I walk by his lawn I wonder, “How healthy is this?”

In ministry it’s easy to become obsessed with people, projects or procedures.  Some will cause you to lose focus others can send you down a path that can be quite destructive.  Here are three areas where obsession can derail the momentum of your ministry:

  1. Criticism: In my second year of ministry I received an email from a parent tearing me a part, what did I do?  I printed out the note and posted it on my desk.  I obsessed about the criticism to the point where it started to jade the relationship I have with parents.  It’s important to discover a healthy system of handling criticism like mentioned in this earlier post (Kill Them With Kindness).  
  2. Tweaking The Message: You want to get the sentences just right or maybe it’s about hooking them with the first line.  While we want to make sure our points are engaging and clear, if we don’t know when to step away we can create a message filled with tangents and uncertainty.  Over tweaking a message is like over seasoning a sauce, if we become obsessed with getting it just right we’ll end up spoiling the final product. 
  3. Pleasing Everyone:  This is just impossible; yet, we still try.  If we obsess with trying to make everyone happy we only make no one happy.  Why this obsession?  Because we don’t want to let anyone down and the disappointment crushes us.  But when you are worried about everyone else, you tend to just forget about God.

Maybe you can relate to these areas, maybe it’s to something else; either way you need to break the obsession.  How is it done?
  • Find Accountability: You need someone who will speak truth into your life and tell you to “Snap out of it.
  • Build In Structure: A schedule will tell you when to move on to the next project, when to go home and when to stop wasting time (Take 30 Minutes To Do This And It Will Save You Hours).  Create an agenda you won’t get stuck on one subject.  Write it out and you’ll get from A to B in no time.  
  • Take Time Outs: Vacation, days off, or just some quiet time to detox and let go of the madness around you.  If I’m staring at my screen for too long, I like to get up and go for a brief walk.
It’s great to be passionate and to care about people and certain issues, just don’t let it control your life.  Our focus needs to be on God and our energy needs to be driven towards the path he lays out for us.
Where are you obsessed in ministry? How do you battle them?