So I know what the biggest idols are in my life. That doesn't mean I know how to avoid them, but I know what they are. Control, for one. I want to have a plan for every situation, and if something doesn't go the way I plan I have a really hard time dealing with it. Having a baby around for the past seven months has helped me recognize the ridiculousness of thinking I can control everything. Good thing I have a loving, gracious and forgiving God when I try on my own anyway.
Another idol of mine, I would say probably my biggest one, is the constant need for approval from others. I can't stand the thought that someone might not like me, or even that someone might be annoyed or simply inconvenienced by me. This makes being the manager of an apartment complex occupied by married college students rather difficult at times. It's fun giving a young couple the keys to their first home together, but I'm also the one who has to relay the university's policies concerning the apartments. No you can't have a dog. No you can't have a cat. No we don't have free internet. No we don't have laundry facilities. No we don't provide furniture (many new tenants assume the apartments are just like the dorms from their single days. Sorry folks, you got married. Welcome to life).
Anyway, this past week I had to deal with being the "bad guy" concerning the repainting of the lines in the apartment parking lot. The person hired by the university to do this first said he would be here last Sunday at noon (doesn't keep regular business hours I guess). I sent out two emails to tenants to have them move their cars out of the spaces, but hardly anyone read it or remembered or something, because I saw the guy drive through and leave without painting because there were too many cars in the way. Then he was supposed to come back Monday or Tuesday. We got most everyone out of the spaces and parked along the road, quite a distance from the apartments. Dude didn't show. Then he planned on Wednesday "after 3:30" - didn't show all night. Finally, Thursday morning at 7 a.m. he shows up. Takes maybe half an hour to do the whole lot. I was ticked - partly because I felt he was unprofessional (though I have no idea how much weather played into the times he didn't do it), but mostly because I thought it made ME look bad in front of my tenants. I sent out emails and made phone calls over and over to get people to move their cars, and he kept NOT painting. I was embarrassed.
How insane is it that something as trivial as this would make me feel bad? I did what I was asked to do, it's not my fault the painting didn't get done. So MAYBE tenants might get slightly annoyed about the barrage of emails with no results. Why do I care? Because way too often I don't find my identity in Christ. Rather, I depend on what others think of me to find worth in myself. It's a constant struggle.