Temptations of Temperament

We’re launching a blog by MERCYhouse women, for MERCYhouse women and I am super excited. It is here: MERCYhouse Women- Vessels for Honor. Read it every day. 

I get the honor of being the first topical guest post & I don’t even know what to call it. It took me way too long to write but now it’s done and it feels…well, I’m glad it’s done.

Here it is:

I was supposed to have written this blog post a week ago. It’s still not done. This is so unlike me.

It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have! I’ve tried a lot. I guess I’m just over-thinking this. I guess I just want to impress you.

I’m just being honest.

You see, sometimes I feel terribly self-aware. Sometimes my introspection is frightening.

And then sometimes I feel like I don’t know myself very well. Sometimes I hear people talking about their passions or talents or even just their favorite things and think, “I have no idea who I am or what I like or what I want to do.”

It’s a tricky dichotomy- knowing yourself so well that you hardly know yourself at all. Moments of insane clarity, weeks of misty obscurity.

I’ve been wrestling with this question of how we move past what we wish we were and embrace the way we were meant to be? I’m nearly 25 and I can’t do it or don’t want to. I can’t tell which.

In all of my reading about temperaments and personalities and weaknesses, I was trying to find myself. But I wasn’t there. I read over those lists of pros and cons, goods and bads and had no idea who or what where I was.

It turns out that I am not a list of characteristics. Neither are you! It’s easy to boil ourselves down to a list of weaknesses or character traits but those things don’t have skin or names or voices or dreams. Those things are the adjectives of us but they are not us. While those things may describe us, they do not define us. We, in our living, breathing, and loving, define those things.

My identity is not in my Sanguine lack of self-control or my Phlegmatic desire to create peace. My identity is in Jesus. In my weaknesses are evidences of His strength. In my strengths are evidences of His gifting.

And each of us is this way. We are incredible works of art, masterpieces. When I read Psalm 139 with all of that imagery of God knitting us together, like a blanket or a warm pair of mittens, I think physical things. God forming my heart and my kidneys and my cuticles, piecing me together and sealing it all in skin but it’s not just physical.

God made my parts, yes!, but He also made my spirit and emotions. He gave me passions and desires and things to be good at. He created me weird and lovely and all of those things that I am that can be observed or felt but not seen.

And I am bad things, too. I am broken and full of sin and a complete wretch. These things I know. These are the things that scream so loudly into my life, that drown out the whispers of my good things- my lovely, God-gifted things. These are the things that I am apt to see, feel, hate about myself.

But. There is hope.

We are creatures in motion and change is inevitable. That new cells are replacing old cells all of the time. That I am not the person that I was 7 years ago…or even 7 seconds ago.

There is hope because the Spirit of God is at work in each of us, as His daughters. This is the story of our lives: change.

I am, you are a creation is constant development.  New creatures. Dead to our old lives, constantly dying to our current ones. And in that death, we are renewed. That’s how Jesus intended it. That’s how this sanctification thing works. A constant laying down of self, a constant picking up of crosses.

We’re moving. Always moving. Always changing. All of us- all the time.

And we’re not alone. We’re in community. First- with our God, the Creator or our fingers and toes and hearts and minds. Second- with each other, other women, sisters in our faith, nudging each other towards Jesus. For that, I am thankful- ever so thankful.

I am different than you are. You are different than me. Each of us created by a creative God to serve specific roles in our common purpose: to know Him more and make Him known among all people.

So yes, know thyself! Understand who you are, who God made you! But look at yourself, not from a list made of columns and rows, but from the eyes of Him who gave you yours.

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