The Box of Self-Betrayal

1 Timothy 3:2. An overseer [leader] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not an excessive drinker, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy.

    May the Lord bless you today and tomorrow. On occasion, I spend time on reflection, reflecting on where I have been, who I have spent time with, how I got here, and, more importantly, what does the Lord have in store for me moving forward. I am not sure about you, but I tend to get a Word by reading a book, reading a verse or two that are illumined on my heart, or even watching something on TV. The cool thing is that I never know where the word will come from, it tends to just happen. Last year, the Lord enlightened me to some financial and investment decisions but earlier this year, He served as my comforter by bringing to the front of my heart my own acts of self-betrayal.  This word came from a random book that I picked up late in 2018 titled “Leadership and Self-Deception”.  As I am always one to use myself as an example, I will once again place myself “out there”. I know that I am not the only one that has experienced this, or, perhaps you know someone like this.

Matthew 7:5 (NASB) You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

    When I joined the military over 30 years ago, I did not know that I would serve 20 years. When I retired in 2007, I had not realized how my life had fully acclimated to change. I had become acclimated to frequent changes in my life that included such things as job changes, leadership changes, military change of stations, deployments, training, and several promotions. This lifestyle of change had so percolated my life, that I failed to realize until now, how this had impacted my post military career – and not necessarily in a good way.  The primary symptom that this manifested in me was boredom, which I recognized (I would even joke about it), but what I failed to observe is the condition this had placed on my soul and how I allowed this so-called “boredom” to impact me in other ways.

    Since my military retirement, I was honored to serve in “a few jobs”. By November of 2018, I started job number eight.  Yep, eight jobs in 10 years. There are a lot of reasons for this, boredom for all sense and purposes was just an excuse I had created in my own mind. On New Years Eve (2018/2019), the Lord brought the full truth down to me in his comforting, revealing, and funny way. Bottom line is that I had accustomed myself into a learned behavior where I was betraying myself. I had convinced myself that it was inevitable that I would eventually get bored at a job and, knowing that it was coming, I would start coming up with – and even creating – excuses to rationalize my eventual departure from “the job”. Once the excuses start to flow, I would start to get uncomfortable and create more excuses to explain away my discomfort.  I had placed myself in a vicious circle and as a result, I would betray my own happiness and job satisfaction. After all, I was going to leave the job anyway, why get comfortable or be happy about it?  For those that I hurt, or otherwise betrayed as a result, I can only apologize.

    Via this regular ‘modus operandi’, I placed myself in a constant “Box of Self-Betrayal”. Once in this box, I would become deeply insecure and hurt other people around me with the end result, causing them to place themselves in a box of their own. I would continue to come up with excuses to justify my own issues with happiness and job satisfaction. I needed this justification and I needed other people to also be “in a box”. And oh God no, it was never my fault – nope!! It was always someone else’s fault that I was not happy or satisfied. While in the box, I am actively resisting what God is asking me to do with, and for, others. In Ezekiel 36:26-27, the Lord promises to give us a new heart and He will remove the hearts of stone.

 

    When in the box: I see myself as the victim, I am hardworking, I am important, I am fair, I am sensitive, I am good at what I do, I am a good leader and follower. When in the box, here is how I see others: lazy, incompetent, unappreciative, lousy, insensitive and/or inconsiderate.

    Here is what I have learned by being “in the box”. 1) It does not work when you try to change others, 2) it does not help when I do my best to simply cope with others, 3) leaving the job does not help (oof!, that one hurt), 4) just communicating my feelings with others does not help, 5) learning and implementing new skills does not help, and 6) even changing my own behavior does not help.  None of these work because in each one of these areas, I am still focused on myself.  But wait, there’s more!! And it gets worse!!  What do you think this mode of thinking does to ones character?  Shall I share?  OK.  Depending on the job, one or more of the following have been a problem for me: 1) lack of commitment, 2) lack of engagement, 3) troublemaking, 4) conflict, 5) lack of motivation, 6) stress, 7) poor teamwork, 8) backbiting and bad attitude, 9) misalignment, 10) lack of trust, 11) accountability issues, and 12) communication issues. I wonder how many of my ex-coworkers would agree to these?

    Now, to be clear, there were plenty of occasions when I was not in the box and I was always on a mission to see the organizations I worked for succeed. Even more so, I wanted my direct reports to succeed – this is where my primary motivation was generally derived from.  I have known for a few years that there was something going on inside of me, I could just not explain it. I knew that I had some old programming in my mind, and in my heart, that I needed to clear up, but nothing was working. I had prayed about this for years and I cannot recall, at any time, a good answer that I could use to rectify my destructive pattern. Until now. The answer had been right in front me the entire time. Praise God!!  There are people that have been in and out of my life, in which I was never in a box around them. What made them different than others? And then, there are some people in which I move in and out of the box like some kind of jack in the box.  On a deep level, this is when my personal values are in conflict; primarily values of honor, integrity and loyalty.

Person B

 

    When I was operating outside of the box, these are the occasions where I would question my own virtue and my personal values were in full force. These are the occasions where I would question my own hypocrisy, and I would even dare say, that the Lord had been trying to talk to me the entire time. My heart had been focused correctly, but my rational and logical mind would take over.

    Here is the bottom line of my discussion with the Lord on this topic. I have been a real jack ass, and everyone knew it but me.  I now know what it is that has been placing me “In the Box” and the Lord and I are working on a system to keep me out of the box – a way of thinking, a way of measuring, a way of reporting, and a way of working.  An accountability system that will minimize my self-betrayal. Once outside of the box, it is much easier to move forward. The Lord is offering me up another chance and I believe that He has an awesome plan for my wife and I in 2019 and beyond. A breakthrough. The result is a system of achieving positive results that require thinking of others first. This is true servant leadership. This is what it looks like outside of the box.

 

    Here is what I know now:1) self betrayal leads to self-deception which leads to “the box”, 2) when in the box, you are not focused on results, 3) success and influence depends on being outside of the box, 4) we get out of the box when we stop resisting other people.   When we honor ourselves and others we are: committed, engaged, reputable, positive, sensible and self controlled, and hospitable.

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