i have tried countless times, without success, to reinvent myself.
i could write you a list of the things about my personality that irritate me. my propensities to speak without thinking and to easily be affronted (whether or not i do anything about that) are the first two i think of. i talk too fast. i get impatient easily.
and there are the things people have told me about myself: i’m bossy, i’m selfish, i act like i know everything.
(those lists, in case you were wondering, are most definitely not exhaustive.)
and sometimes, at the end of the day, particularly on one that i spoke or acted without thinking of the implications, melancholy, wondering why on earth i did that for the five millionth time and will there ever come a day that i think first?
i inherited a tendency from my father to get very angry about ways the world doesn’t work but should, ways we expect to see in ourselves as much if not more than in others. examples: people should be polite. they should be fair. they should be
i can hear my mother’s oft-given reminder now: this is not heaven.
in other words, this is not perfection, and we are not perfect. i am not perfect.
it is a wonder, then, that i expect perfection from myself every day.
after all, what is my irritation at speaking too quickly if not irritation that i did not say the perfect thing at the perfect time? or getting angry at my hesitation to give because the perfect person gives of their time and money and talent freely, every time they see an opportunity?
should i have approached those situations differently? yes, i should have. but anger doesn’t solve the problem. it’s destructive. and in my experience, destruction does not solve problems.
instruction does, though.
that’s why we have instructions like be slow to anger, give cheerfully, forgive one another, be thankful. because these urge us toward improvement of who we are, to a honing of our character. letting the power of God work these often difficult commands into our behavior is a fulfillment of the promise that we are to be made perfect. not to be perfect. but to be made perfect. and that’s a process, which, as all processes do, takes time.
so as i sit at my kitchen table, writing these words, i remind myself of the promise to be made perfect. i breathe slowly and i remember the instructions. i pray for love, for peace, for strength, for wisdom. and i remember that the next time i err, He will be next to me, reach down, and put me on my feet again.
shall we let iron sharpen iron? i want to be held accountable for the way i use my words – that i use them to bless, and not to harm. what’s something you want to be held accountable for? leave it in the comments, and i’ll be praying that He gives you strength to perform for His glory in that area. and maybe next week we can meet here again and talk about how we’re doing?