James Roberts on a revealing challenge

18 Jan

Undertaking this week’s God52 challenge has been a painful journey of self-discovery for IT professional James Roberts. Here he shares his story.

The God52 challenge this week is all about humility. When I first read the challenge I thought to myself: great, a nice easy task. After last week’s failure at praying here was something I was good at. I am naturally an introvert, preferring to stay in the background and get on with things rather than pushing my way to the front and bragging about my achievements. Or so I thought…

Once a week I help out at our church’s small youth group, an introduction into Christianity for a few 10-14 year olds, and at first I did it because two of those 10-14 year olds were mine and the church needed another volunteer to help out (and I was nominated by my ever-so-precious wife). Once I started helping though something strange came over me, I enjoyed it and have thrown myself into youth work, reading books on it, attending conferences and planning how to make our small group bigger.

Everything was growing great until another mum started coming to church and helping out with the group. Suddenly I was in a kind of ‘competition’ with someone else; this new family was hogging all the limelight. The church leader was talking about how nice it was having a new family in church, a perfect family with the perfect house and perfect clothes. My house is falling to bits and most of the time my children and I look like we have just forced our way through a hedge whilst being chased by a herd of cows, and so in order to compete I worked harder at the youth group; I planned lessons and discussions and talked about theme nights we can do.

Now you may say this is all well and good, it is great that I am working so hard in the youth group. But I am putting in this extra work for all the wrong reasons. I am doing it for the recognition and praise of other church members. I want to pulled up front and told I am doing a great job, I want people to pat me on the back and say ‘well done’, ‘you are amazing’, ‘you are a star’, and the strange thing is I never realised it until I read about this challenge.

So maybe I am not as humble as I thought and maybe I need to learn how to show more humility just as much as I needed to learn to develop a regular prayer pattern. The only question now: what can my anonymous good deed be?

James Roberts has the most exciting job in the world, sat behind a desk making spreadsheets. With his free time he helps run his local Youth Group, reads every book he can get his hands on and tweets at @james_openpath

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