Solutions June 2016 - Page 55

APPROVAL ADDICTION I’m an addict. I am addicted to getting other’s approval through my hard work. It had been going on for years, but I didn’t really understand how my addiction was driving me. I had a nebulous sense that something was wrong in my life—that I was too dependent on work and others’ approval— but it didn’t seem like a negative thing. After all, I was doing pretty well at my job. Others thought of me as a success. By Pete Alwinson For twenty-six years I served the same church as church planter and senior pastor. They were my people and I loved them. I was in it for Jesus and for people, but lying just below the surface was an insatiable thirst to get my worth from performance. No doubt my drive to achieve and be noticed by others for my achievements hurt my wife the most. The decision to enter the pastorate was more by my prodding than a mutually well-prayed-through decision. I grimace as I write this, but I practically bullied her into the pastorate. And, as a pastor, I often put my need to be approved by church members above the needs of my family (notice I didn’t say their actual needs, but my need for their approval). I remember one day when our first son was young and Caron asked me if I could come home and watch him while she ran an errand. My response was that I had too much work to do to come home. Later I confessed to her that the truth was that I feared someone from our church would stop by the office, find it locked, and then criticize me as one of those pastors who was doing the bare minimum because “pastors really only work one day a week.” I sent a message to her loud and clear: my work is more important than you. My pressure to perform put my wife on notice to perform and made her feel unworthy, unloved, and conditionally accepted. SMG Solutions 55