I have had a love/hate with my personality for 45 years now. This came to a head recently when I was doing a “personal inventory” of my life for an upcoming speaker’s conference. The questionnaire asked, “What is your greatest regret?” As I considered many aspects of my life, my marriage, my parenting, relationships, profession, education, etc., I settled on this one thought.
My greatest regret is being me.
I have begged God for many years to change me and to remove my flaws. Sadly, those parts that I desperately want changed have remained the same. I guess I’m stuck with me, flaws and all. Maybe for 45 more years. Uggh.
Can you relate? Do you struggle with being you?
I wish that I weren’t so much of a planner. My time is planned out to a T. And once it is planned, don’t expect me to change it. Especially without A LOT of notice. My best friend Nicole knows that I don’t make schedules changes within my “24 hour window” as we call it. I don’t know why I am so rigid and inflexible with my time, but I do know that if a change comes, all of the muscles in my back tense up and I feel out of control. I wish that I were spontaneous and flexible and not so much like, well, me.
I wish that I weren’t a homebody. My love for the peace and quiet of my home as well as my love affair with my jammy pants often keep me at home. I see on Facebook my friends getting together to go out to dinner and families going to the beach, and I wish that I could be like them. I have friends that travel and minister all over the country and I would much rather support them financially and stay at home. I have no desire to “go.” I am completely content to Stay. At. Home.
I wish that I didn’t need so much neat and tidy. I’ve come a long way from my perfectionist tendencies through the years that I don’t need “clean” quite as much, but I just can’t function in a mess. My brain does not work in the midst of chaos and disorder. So I’ve spent all my life trying to create an orderly world so that I could function. This did not go so well in the years that I had children! And bless my heart, once they grew up and kept all their mess in their rooms, we got a puppy who does not know how to clean up her toys!
I need a whole lot of time to recover from my week. I’m an introvert, so being with people takes a lot of energy from me. I always need a Saturday at home to recover before I head into church on Sunday morning. I use my Saturday to unwind and recharge in my garden. The size of my garden is a good indicator of how much I need time alone to relax and be ready to be with people again. So we don’t do fun things as a family on Saturdays. We stay at home and rest instead.
I wish that I were relaxed. Spontaneous. Flexible. Able to go out with short notice. Okay with messy. And always going out to do fun and exotic things. But I’m not. I’m me.
Recently I had coffee with my mentor. Usually I bring a list of things to talk about, and she brings a list too. This time she had something to tell me. It was short, but profound. As she had spent time in prayer in preparation for our meeting, she heard from the Lord. And she told me six words that brought me some peace:
“God is okay with your personality.”
Really? He’s okay with an inflexible orderly non-spontaneous introverted homebody?
Why yes he is. Because as I have begged Him to change me, I have come to realize that He can’t because He made me this way. On purpose. Yep, even God has a sense of humor.
“The good news is that we don’t have to despair over our flaws IF we’re submitting them to God to redeem them. They may be the very parts of our personalities that He wants to use. He can take what seems to be our worst traits and turn them around for good.
Our Flaws + God’s Redemption = Our Usable Strengths
Reforming perfectionists, have you felt crushed by your natural wiring and hopeless that things can change? Submit those traits to God. Let Him turn them into the beautiful center-pieces of your soul.”
So I’m learning to appreciate the unwanted parts of my personality. They make me able to do what only I can do. I can plan large events. I can cast vision and follow up with it. I can create an amazing garden. I can sit at home in my jammy pants and minister to women both near and far via text, email, blog, Facetime, and Facebook. I can meet with my girls that I mentor each month because I plan it. And other people can come and enjoy my neat and tidy home and my large garden.
Do I sometimes still wish that I were different? Yes. But I am learning to love myself, warts and all. Because this is how I was made.
As I make peace with being me, I pray that you will make peace with being you, too.
“…O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.” Isaiah 64:8