Our dominant traits can be our biggest assets and simultaneously our greatest weaknesses. Striking a balance can be hard and takes an unusual level of discomfort. It is in this uncomfortable place that I grow.
Heb10:22-23 “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…”
God wants me to be sincere and assured of my faith. My sincere self isn’t always all that great. I’m a critical person by nature, and very direct; God created me this way. Both are good traits to have, but critical and direct have to be tempered with humility and sound judgment. These personality traits sometimes overshadow my other traits because they are my dominant style. I have to decide between the comfort of working in my dominant style or working harder to seek humility and God’s perspective. One allows me to rely on my own strength and stay in my comfort zone. The other requires faith. I need faith for God to help me with the things I cannot do. At the end of the day, God will always provide an opportunity for me to step out on faith and draw closer to him but still give me the option to do it my way.
Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.”
On a recent work trip I got to see what unplowed ground looks like. It’s harder than cement and takes a ridiculous amount of work to break up and turn into actual dirt that can be plowed or used for any sort of farming. God is pushing me into the discomfort zone so that I break this unplowed ground he has shown me. If I remain in the comfort zone there may not be any major consequences but there will also be no growth. In my sinful nature it is incredibly hard if not impossible for me to sow righteousness or reap unfailing love. I may reap and sow a little of these but God wants me to receive an abundance. When I do it his way I can use my strengths for his glory.
Recently a good friend called me on my traits and posed a challenge:
“Over the next 30 days, don’t utter a critical word, or email, to anyone, seek opportunities – great and small – to praise others and practice grace. Keep emails short and lighthearted – don’t leave room for misinterpretation.”
What God asks of me is both simple and more profound than obeying the rules. He asks me to walk with him through the blood and guts of my experience in an honest way. That is where he shows me what real strength and real love are all about. It’s when I step out of my comfort zone that I grow.
So what happened as soon as I set my mind to take my friend’s 30 day challenge and asked people to hold me accountable? He put before me the type of people and situations that challenge this area of my character the most. I know he did this so that I would be forced to rely on faith to handle it and not my own strength. Let’s just say it’s a little more funny now than it is in the moment.
Ps 46:5 “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”
Overall, I can take nothing into this battle but God’s word and a heart to help others succeed. Jesus will transform me in the process as I break this unplowed ground. When I take the time to rely on him and chose humility, I see God more clearly and let God fight my battles for me.
Zeph3:17″The LORD your God is in your midst; He is a warrior who can deliver. He takes great delight in you; He shouts for joy for you.”