Last month I had the privilege of having my dear friend from Germany here for three weeks. While there are many reasons she’s one of my favorite people in the world, one thing I really admire about her is that she lives and breathes calmness wherever she goes. She is not easily irritated or upset. No, she could spend hundreds of dollars to go on an exotic beach vacation and if it rained the whole time, not only would she not complain, she would find an incredible amount of good in each and every rainy day at the beach. I so admire her for this.
I inquired as to whether this came naturally to her, and this led to some interesting conversations regarding personalities and upbringing and how God created us each with our own unique personality – our own set of strengths and weaknesses. You add to this our unique life circumstances and you see why no two people are the same.
By nature we all have limitations and we have to learn what those limitations are and how to live within them and not compare our weaknesses to other people’s strengths (or our strengths to other people’s weakness), yet also to realize that though God created us with limitations, He Himself is not limited by our limitations.
I can’t help but think of Moses when God called him to go to Pharaoh on behalf of the Israelites. He tried explaining to God his limitations and excusing himself from the task, but God didn’t say “Oh yeah, I forgot about your speech impediment! Good point! You’re right. I’ll ask someone else.”
God knows our weaknesses and limitations and He’s okay with us living within those limitations unless He calls us to a divine task. And as Charles Price says, when He does, He asks us to step out of our shoes so He can step into them and act on our behalf to fulfill the very thing He’s called us to.
This has been a reminder to me that I don’t have to be anyone other than Kim and it’s a good thing to realize and understand my personal set of limitations. I don’t have to try to force myself outside of that except for when God calls me to. Whew! Isn’t that good to know?! Your life may look different from everyone around you and that’s okay! It’s supposed to look different. Embrace the person God made you -limitations and all- and rest in the fact that if God wants you to step outside of that He will accomplish all He’s asked you to do.
Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
– I Thessalonians 5:24
Another dear friend gave me this great analogy: Everyone is given a set amount of ten spoons of energy every day. Some people can get an enormous amount done with their ten spoons. (We all know who these people are because they’re running circles around us.) And then there’s people like me. I feel like I’m surrounded by spoon robbers and I barely make it to fika time without needing a nap. 😉
I have a little guy who calls me by my full name all day long: “Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom.” He hasn’t grasped that I prefer my nickname: just plain “Mom.” 🙂 Definitely a spoon robber. My teens think that music makes the world go ’round, so lack of silence is another spoon robber. And why is it that everyone needs me all at the same time? It seems they all collaborate and decide together to bombard me all at once.
And then there’s regular life: jobs, grocery shopping, laundry, doctor, dental, and chiropractic appointments, dishes, cleaning, yard work, gardening, schooling…. And if that weren’t enough, throw in a few accidents, messes, broken dishes, sickness, unexpected phone calls, whining, arguing, and complaining…and you find those ten blessed spoons disappearing before you have time to say, “Where’s the coffee?”
So, what’s a girl to do? Well, the thing that I discovered is that I need to make it a high priority to guard myself from giving up spoons to all the non-essentials around me. Some spoon robbers we just don’t have control over. But others we do.
If I am going to accept and live within the limits of who God made me, I have got to learn to guard my spoons so that I have enough to give to my greatest calling as a mom.
It’s also helpful to think about what gives you spoons. What is it that restores that energy when it disappears? I have found that early mornings of solitude give me spoons…whether it’s working out or just being outdoors early in the morning in total solitude with my Maker, this fills my energy tank. Short (and long) naps can do wonders. And don’t ever underestimate the power of the fika break!
So, as you discover your own personality – the person God made you – consider your set of strengths and weaknesses. Not so that you can compare with others or make excuses for yourself, but so that you can live within those limitations and not feel guilty about it! And know that when God calls you to something hard – something you know you can’t do in your own strength – step out of your shoes so He can step in and watch Him work.
As a disclaimer, what I’m not saying is that we only depend on God in certain times or that we can handle life on our own unless it gets really tough. In fact, for many of us, the nitty gritty of the everyday is just plain hard. We need Christ for all of life. The Christian life by definition is all about Him living His life in and through us – all the time. But there are special times as well, when God says, “Take off your shoes.” And that just means things are going to get really exciting! 😉
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
– 2 Corinthians 12:9
Hugs to all of you!