How well do you know yourself?
I don’t mean how well do you know the you you want to be, but how clearly can you see the way you come across to others, the true quirks, personality traits, flaws, gifts, and patterns of your life?
Are you an introvert or extrovert? Optimist or realist? Short-tempered or patient? Do you wear your emotions on your sleeve, or close to the vest? Are you a leader or a follower? Insecure or overconfident? A nurturer or business-like? First-born, or the baby of the family? How do you handle conflict~ hide from it, or face it head-on, whatever the consequences? What is your love language? What are your spiritual gifts?
I have always been frustrated when people say, “That’s just the way I am.” To me it sounds like a bit of a cop-out. Saying “That’s just the way I am” shuts people down and basically is an excuse for poor behavior or lousy communication. In Christ we always have the option to put on a new self, to become something better than what our human nature and innate personality dictate. It is within our power to put off the old self, the sin patterns which entangle us. And some days we feel that power. Other times we feel weak.
In order to be comfortable with our friendships, we need to be comfortable within our own skin, knowing our strengths and weaknesses, behavior patterns and personalities, fears and expectations, and know that each person we meet comes with an entirely different set.
The decade of my 30’s has been a time of discovery, and the things I’ve realized about myself haven’t always been pleasant. It could have been a time of resignation, and if I’m completely honest, there have been times I have almost thrown up my hands and said the phrase I don’t like. With a sigh, I think, “That’s just the way I am, Lord. It’s hard to change. Were you serious when you said I am a new creation in Christ? Because I certainly feel just like the old one.”
If we search through the Bible, we will find that many (most?) of the people God used knew themselves pretty well, or at least they thought they did. David readily accepted his flaws and was quick to turn back to the Father when they were pointed out. Jonathan, the son of a king, submitted to the leadership of his friend David, realizing his purpose in the Kingdom. Moses knew his weaknesses in speech. Mary acknowledged her low position and wondered why she would be chosen for such a holy purpose. Paul, in his fiery way, spread the gospel with such fervor, yet seemed to know how he came across to others, and it wasn’t always good.
God, working within each of them, working their gifts, personalities, and even flaws to His ultimate advantage, used them all.
And He will use us, even as He molds us.
It’s God’s intention to lead us to women who will grow us and who we can lead to growth in return. That isn’t always comfortable. But uncomfortable is often good. Would we really want friends who are exactly like us anyway? We are to fill in each other’s gaps, not have the same gaps. True friendship accepts not only the positive and negative in the other person, but also the positive and negative within ourselves, knowing that the Lord will work all to His glory if we let Him.
So again I ask, how well do you know yourself? Because only when you know yourself, can you truly be yourself with others.
- The Myers-Briggs personality test is a common one (with cool codes for each of the types- you may have seen them tossed around). Learn more about it here.
- Take a Spiritual Gifts Analysis to discover the giftings you have to be used in the body of Christ
- Find out what your main love language is.
I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, also writing about the travels of their hearts:
Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful LifeKris~ Journey Out of FearErika~ Journey Into the WordEmily~ Journey Toward RestNicole~ Journey of Providence