Our family is blessed with a wide range of personalities. Sometimes I think we would make a great cartoon.
We have weepily emotional people, very quiet people, passionate people, can-do people, volatile people, whiny people, oh we have it all. The difference in our personalities is the axis upon which much of our relational growth turns in the little universe that is our home.
How do quiet people deal with those given to loud outburst? How do logical people handle emotional reactivity? How do deep-feeling people process apparent insensitivity?
Not always well, I'm afraid.
As I try to help our children (and myself!) learn to live with others, I've noted several recurrent themes.
First and foremost, God created each of us the way we are for a purpose. Yes, of course we are sinners, and not all of our behaviors are aligned with God's will for our lives. But there is a reason some are quiet and others loud, some logical and others emotional. We talk a lot here about the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
At the same time, we were created to love, and love means I think about other people first, and myself second. It means I work on learning self-control so that I can be free to serve instead of wrapped up in my own "stuff" or a prisoner to my personality.
My heart's desire is to see others with God' eyes, as beloved children. It is not always easy, what with His kids being sinners and all. And I don't do a great job all the time remembering that He has eyes for me too.
One of my children is a very emotional person. In so many ways I can relate to this child's struggles. I too am, at heart, deeply emotional.
One of the things that frustrates me about myself is that I can be logical, I can plan what the "right" way to respond to a situation would be, but in the moment I find that sometimes I react differently.
For example, when the fire started and I knew we had to evacuate, my mind went blank. I had no clue what to take. When my children get hurt I stay very calm and rational, so I would have thought that I would be clear-headed in this scenario. But I wasn't.
Fast forward 6 weeks. We are safe, our farm is safe, thousands are homeless including many of my friends. I have so much to be thankful for. I fuss at my children for silly complaints, reminding them that their friends have lost everything.
Then my laptop dies. Dies a horrible, forever, "it's a brick" death. And it hadn't been backed up since the morning of the fire. Guess who complains? Granted it was silent in-my-head complaining, mostly sorrow over hundreds of lost photos, but it was complaining nonetheless.
After a few minutes of silent woe, I grasped my hypocrisy and selfishness. I was so ashamed.
It's so very true:
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
~ Romans 7:15 ~
There are so many aspects of my life in which this is the case. I go through seasons of waking in the night in the midst of drowning anxiety about "not practicing what I would like to do." I become deeply frustrated with the emotions that well up and seem to obscure the truth of who I am in Christ.
Yet in the midst of negative thoughts about myself and should-haves and could-haves, two verses relentlessly squeeze their way into my consciousness:
It was for freedom that Christ set us free...
~ Galatians 5:1a ~
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
~ Romans 8:1 ~
Quite simply, when I am worried and anxious about my own "performance" not only am I not clinging to grace, I am also forgetting to focus my eyes on Him and others, instead of myself.
So if you have met me in real life you know... I can be moody. I forget important things, to my chagrin. I don't do the things I want to do and it grieves me.
I am a sinner saved by grace, and that grace means I am also dancing. I am dancing in the heavenlies, while still here on earth, because no mood can eliminate the truth that I have been set free!
photo by adam piggott