Is there some part of yourself that just drives you crazy? Some aspect of your personality that you wish was different?
Comparison is our enemy. That was last week’s topic and this week’s sort of adds to that a bit. In comparing ourselves to others, we look at the parts of who we are sometimes, and decide that there’s something wrong with those parts because we don’t see other people who are like that. We don’t like those pieces of who we are and we wish they were different.
I have my own personality traits that I struggle with, that I don’t like that I have . . . until God showed me something about it recently through a series of events—readings in two different studies or books, a comment someone made on Facebook leading me to an article I read online, and a storyline or scene that played out in my mind as I was driving one day.
As I was reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love recently, he shared this verse and how reading it had affected him. The first part of Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Mr. Chan said he realized that “God knew who He was creating, and He designed me for a specific work.” A truth that I know, but that became a little more real to me in that moment. And then God added to it. He reminded me that He did, indeed, know me before I was formed. He knew every part of me. He knew my weaknesses, He knew my personality, He knew any predispositions I might have for depression, and more. He knew ALL of me when He created me. Those parts of me were not created by accident.
I later read an article online about a woman who doesn’t feel pain in a normal way. In fact, she feels very little pain, if any at all. She also doesn’t get anxious or fearful much. Now this might seem like an odd thing to bring up here, but the article talked about how scientists think they may have been able to isolate the genes that cause her to be this way. That made me start thinking about the fact that she was formed that way. It was in her genetic makeup to be that way. And God knew that. He knew that before He created her. Which led me to think about the fact that He knew before He created me (and anyone else) the troubles I would have, the “good” parts and the “bad” parts I would have. He knows when we are genetically wired in a way that might mean we don’t feel pain or we struggle with depression or we have markers that lend themselves to certain diseases. He knows it all. He knew it all even before He created me. And still He created me! (Because He has plans to use even those things in my life for His purposes, for His glory, and for His story.)
I’m going to share the bare bones of scene that played out in my mind one day as I was driving. Thinking on it, there’s no way that I could have come up with what played out in my head. I believe that it was a way that God chose to speak to me about who I am even though I didn’t fully realize it at the time. It’s scene that has come back to me in several different moments, helping me see the truth in it more clearly each time. It’s a conversation between a younger woman who is struggling with a certain aspect of her personality and an older woman who’s been growing in the Lord for a long time.
Young Woman: I’m just—I’m just so tired of this part of me! I hate it! I just wish I could not be this way!
Older Woman: What way is that?
YW: That part of me that just ALWAYS has to have a passionate opinion about something. That always sees things a certain way. That always has to say something when I think something is wrong. That part that always jumps up inside me when I don’t feel like justice is served or someone’s done something wrong or the truth’s not being told. The part that makes people look at me like I just need to calm down and chill out. I just feel so stupid when that happens, when I get so worked up over something and everybody’s looking at me like I’m crazy, like there’s something wrong with me.
OW: You mean that feistiness I see in you?
YW: Yeah, I guess that’s a good word for it.
OW: Why don’t you want to be feisty?
YW: Didn’t you hear anything I just said? That’s why. It makes people look at me like I’m crazy. I feel like I’m supposed to be this meek and mild person who’s always calm and does the right thing and says the right thing in the right way and doesn’t get so worked up about things.
OW: There’s nothing wrong with a little fire in someone. It can serve a lot purposes. You know, I have some of that same feistiness in me and I’ve grown to be pretty thankful for it.
YW: Really? I don’t see that in you like I see it in me.
OW: Oh, I’ve spent a lot of years being refined by the grace of God. That passion is a gift from God. I spent a lot of years not seeing it that way. Wishing I wasn’t that way, that I wasn’t passionate, feisty, opinionated . . . Then I realized that, though it was gift, left in my hands, it had the power to become a wrecking ball of destruction. I could let it rule me and everything that I said and did or I could put that gift right back in His hands where it had the power to become a force of grace for His kingdom to be reckoned with. It was never a “weapon” meant for me to wield, but for His spirit to wield through me. He’s refined that gift in me over many years. None of us is perfect. A lot of who we are, those personality traits, those emotions, those passions are gifts, but they’re not meant for us to take in our human hands and use. Then they have the tendency be abused for our selfishness or by the enemy to tear others down. I don’t think those gifts are things we need to apologize for. We just need to give them back to the Lord—place them in His hands and let Him use them.
That scene and the way it played out in my mind has really impacted me. God has let me know that that part of me is okay, that it is there for purpose, that I don’t have to feel bad about that part of me. He’s shown me that He has plans to use that part of who I am, that I just need to give it back to Him.
On another day, while studying in Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon study, I came across these statements, “We are like a broken vessel (Ps. 31:12). The weaknesses we often despise are required for the light of Christ to be seen and for the darkness around us to be dispelled. Without the limitations and deficiencies of our vessels, we would not serve our purpose well. Your weakness is not a liability. It is one of your greatest assets . . . welcome His light into your weakness, and let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!” When all the parts of who I am, even the weaknesses, even the personality traits I don’t always care for, come under His control, they can be used for His glory, for His kingdom, and for His purposes.
What do you hear in your mind about who you are? Maybe someone’s even spoken it out loud to you or about you. I’m too feisty. I’m too skeptical. I’m too high strung. I’m too absentminded. I’m too flighty. I’m too passionate. I’m too opinionated. I talk too much. I’m too quiet. I’m too emotional. I’m too sensitive. I’m too serious. I’m too goofy. I’m too introverted.
So what is it about yourself that you aren’t fond of, that you sometimes wish just wasn’t a part of you? I challenge you this week to try putting it into the hands of the Savior and see what He does with it.