Do Not Be That Guy
Every meeting has that guy. Every conference has that guy. Every church has that guy. Every team has that guy.
“That guy” or (“that gal”) is the one who walks into the room convinced that he is the most spiritual, most knowledgeable, most strategic, and most valuable to everyone else.
“That guy” is often the loud extrovert in the room. Life-of-the-party kind of person who photobombs everyone. He cannot just be in a photo but has to strike a pose in order to stand out.
“That guy” is sometimes the brooding introvert in the room. He arrives with an air of mystery that is supposed to show off a deep humility. Sitting in the corner, he waits for people to come and seek his counsel. Kind of like a mysterious monk on top of a mountain waiting for you to make the climb to beseech his wisdom.
By virtue of the fact that he (or she) thinks this way, it most assuredly is not true. The histrionics are an act. The humility is feigned. “That guy” is the one who wants everyone to need him. In reality, he needs everyone to need him. It is a dangerous mixture of self-doubt and arrogance. The convergence of the need for human approval leads to the self-assurance that warrant it is poison to our relationship with Christ.
How Not to Be That Guy
Many people will face the external temptations and the internal tendencies toward pride. Here are five ideas to navigate away from being that guy.
1. Increase your self-awareness. One of the best antidotes to pride is to know yourself. It is when we only glance in the mirror that self-delusions can set in. We need a regular (if not daily) self-evaluation led by the Spirit and under the authority of the Word. As we come to see self more clearly, the guise of spiritual Jedi Knight will slough off.
2. Anchor your identity in Christ. We need to constantly remind ourselves of the implications of the gospel. A good place to go is 2 Corinthians 1-7. In this letter, there are numerous descriptions of the Christian’s life. Be happy to be the mirror that reflects the image of God within us. Christ in us should be a driver to serve others rather than be sought after.
3. Love the community of faith. It’s just my guess but I think “that guy” is actually very lonely. For whatever reason, he is disconnected from any deep community. No one has been given access to his soul to say “No” or “Hey, you’re being an spiritual infant.” If it is you, identify and break through the barriers that hold you back from deep relationships with other believers.
4. Show up early. “That guy” loves to make a dramatic entrance that everyone will notice. Be early so you can serve rather than be seen. It is pragmatic but the discipline to be part of the “set-up” often stems the tide of self-aggrandizement. Not always but it can help. When you arrive with the focus of helping in the details, then it is tougher to be the focus of them.
5. Choose to learn. When you don’t think there is anything left to learn then plan on all the lessons coming the hard way. Learn and listen before you live. The shoot, ready, aim mentality stems from arrogance. Look around the room and remind yourself how desperately you need this community of people to better understand Christ and how He works in us.
Both the introverts and extroverts will be tempted to be “that guy.” It’s fun to be him. Everyone celebrates the one person in the room that seems most valuable. So, if you want to be of that kind of worth, know that the rest of us need you to point to Who really has the greatest worth.