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Annoying Personal Trait?

For a couple weeks now, I've been reading this really great book, The Way Of The Wild Heart, and I have been greatly impacted by Mr. Eldredge's writing. What he discusses about how God created men to be and live a certain way, and the various stages of manhood that men need to go through, it all seems to ring so true with me. So, today as I was doing some work around the house, what I've been reading in this book was floating around in my mind and heart as I worked and prayed.

Many months ago, a portion of my fence began to lean, and as it leaned, one of the wood beams began to crack. A week ago, a wind storm finally cracked the beam all the way through and blew this section of fence over. My wife has asked me to repair it many times before, but now it seems I could not put it off any longer. As I began working on it a week ago, I soon discovered part of the reason this section of the fence collapsed is because it was structurally weaker: a fence post that should have been in the middle of the section had been chopped off almost at the level of the ground, hidden by a tuft of grass. I became determined to replace this post and make the fence stronger, so I had to dig the remains of the old post out. Soon, I realized that the post went down a respectable distance and had been anchored by pouring cement around it.

For about and hour and a half, I continued to dig, periodically checking to see if the remant of the post was ready to come out (though, throughout this process, I kept wondering how I was going to pull out a block of cement and wood that I assumed would be very heavy). When I had finally loosened the post, I was very reluctant to try lifting it out on my own. I thought of calling a friend for help, and then was suddenly inspired to give it a try on my own. And so, I leaned over this hole, now nearly three feet in diameter, and two feet deep, grabbed the cement block, and lifted straight up. While heavy, it was not the 100 pounds I thought it might be. Rather, it seemed to way more like 60 pounds.

This whole process of digging and lifting rather invigorated me. I guess I had not done any "hard" work in a while, and I quickly recognized that I kind of missed it. Truly, I was somehow refreshed by the task of using my own hands to accomplish something.

Jump ahead to today. I have been slowly working on the fence throughout the week (cutting a new post to the proper length, pouring new cement, et cetera). Today, I was ready to put up the beams to which the fence planks would later be attached. Now, at one end of this section of fence, the fence line turns by about 30 degrees. So, the beams had to be cut at an angle to properly butt up to the next beam. I got the beams cut to fit okay and firmly attached them to the posts. As I walked away, I pondered how they could have been made to fit better and I quickly reasoned that the best way would be to cut a notch in the post for the beams to rest in. Not a big notch, mind you. Just a small notch that would let the beams come together at the proper angle and not leave a peculiar gap between the beams and the post. After coming up with this "ingenious" idea, I quickly identified this thought pattern as one of my perfectionist moments. I was frustrated to find myself drifting into a perfectionist mind-set again and this frustration quickly moved me to prayer. I asked God why I have the "perfectionist trait." No one seems to like it, and it doesn't seem to do me or anyone else much good.

The reply seemed to arrive as a mixture of something in my spirit and remembering the discussions of "what makes a man" in the Eldredge book combining to reveal something to me: whether being a perfectionist is good or bad, it is a part of who God made me and there is likely some purpose behind it.

But what could it be?

I still do not know, but I am stirred to seek God to find out.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 3, 2007 11:00 PM.

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