Good, Better, Best - no matter

The Prillaman way is somehow about seeking to be the best.. achieving success(lots of ways to define this).. then somehow changing plans before that success can grow into something that consumes me. I talk about focusing on others, I care about people, but deep down I wonder just how selfless those relationships are. This kind of thinking will really mess with your mind. Are my actions based on love for fellow man, on my call to ministry... or at a deeper level am I fulfilling some intense desire to please and impress those around me.. My initial reaction that reality-possibility is a sense of self-loathing,shallowness, and disgust.. but I think maybe this is at the crux of how the devil can take us off the path with such a little misdirection... Do we all go through this struggle as we mature?

Seeking success down a successional variety of paths... maybe that is what we are all supposed to do. Maybe I should be more content, but I have this deep seated passion to seek the "prize"... only my prize is so often the respect of others, power, money...My prize should be my relationship to God, a call to social action, a sense of identity built on a solid foundation which allows me to question openly and live in a questioning world.

I spin this tale about doing my best.. but actions speak. When given a choice, I seek to be the best as long as it doesn't compromise my family. That is the only thing that seems to trump this intense passion for the competition. My desire to WIN overrides everything except family.

To win.. at work to get the promotion-power-money-respect, on the stage to be able to use my voice and skill to lead others-touch their souls-share who I am at my core, in my community by being liked and popular and in the family by seeking to be super dad..

Ultimately, the burden is too much for any man to bear. The first monologue I ever memorized sums it up...

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

William Shakespeare from "As you like it"

The melodrama of our story is real..consequences painful. Our children and family pay the price for our vain misguided sense of accomplishment..

Lord, help me to focus my senses and skills on seeking your will and bending to your rod.


Charles Hulin said…
Hi Jeff,

I'm all for self-examination that leads to us questioning what our true motives are.

Also, I think it might be a warning sign if our conception of God's will for our lives seems to involve sacrificing those around us.

But for the sake of balance, I think it's healthy to realize that a common characteristic of people with the gift of service might be the desire for approval - not thunderous applause, just simple recognition that the work they are doing is effective.

I don't know if your gift is service. I assumed for a while that musicians probably tended to have the gift of encouragement, since music encourages people. But I think the gift of service might also make sense, since our musical calling involves serving the composer, the listener, the cause of culture, etc.

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