Ever look at yourself and wish you were different? Ever wish you had blonde hair instead of brown, or wish you had a petite nose? How about taller – shorter, smaller chin, pretty smile? Ever wonder why God didn’t give you this skill, or talent, or wish you had a different Spiritual Gift? I don’t know about you, but I most certainly have. I often wished God would have created me to be somebody else – Someone who drew people to them, someone who others found attractive on the outside and the inside; someone whom others would find spending time with a gift rather than an obligation; someone who had a “quiet and gentle spirit”. On the outside I wear the Popeye mask which says, “I yam what I yam” but underneath the mask I cry for acceptance… for who I am.
I can’t remember anyone ever saying I possessed a quiet and gentle spirit; in fact just the opposite. My parents would tell me I was like a bull in a china shop in reference to my personality (although being physically graceful is not a strong suit of mine) 🙂 Parents would often say, Sandra, you are too outspoken, too bossy, and too loud, why can’t you be like so and so… meaning the quiet one who never spoke up, asked questions, or rocked the family boat. I grew up feeling inferior, less than, and unacceptable. As an adult I hear similar phrases such as “People know where you stand”; “You tell it like it is” and “You speak truth”. My favorite comment, “You simply have a strong personality”; a softer way of saying I’m not quiet and gentle. “What happened to the softer side of my personality”? Did it somehow get lost? A constant struggle goes on between the stronger more bold me and the desire to be a quieter, softer more acceptable me. I’m not alone! In my ministry as a lay-counselor/mentor to women who have survived childhood sexual abuse I see similar struggles all the time.
I survived childhood abuse. I have experienced first-hand what many women who come into my life have endured. I understand their pain, their struggles and have empathy for their fight to survive and be understood in a world which tells them, “It’s in the past, let bygones be bygones; let it go”. My strong personality helped me survive those years, even though I never felt very strong; I never felt bold and often found myself afraid of my own shadow.
We are drawn to the quiet side of life. We would rather have no conflict. We would rather have no trials, no situations which test our faith or rattle our world. Yet the Bible says we will have trials of all kinds and those very things we dread will perfect us for the day of Jesus coming. It is those very difficult and often ugly situations which strengthen us to rely on God. Quiet and gentle personalities need strong people like us to come alongside them during challenging times. To help them run the race set before them and not grow weary. Likewise, strong personalities need quiet and gentle people to provide a safe haven to find temporary respite and acceptance from an otherwise harsh world.
Recent events in my life caused me, to once again, question why I am the way I am. I took my hurt, my doubts, my hunger for acceptance to the One who knows me best; the Lord. I love God! As I sat quietly before Him I could hear Him whisper, “Sandra, I created you to have strength of character. I created you to speak truth into the lives of others. I created you to be bold in speech. As a result of the work I have called you too you may be met with resistance. As you well know facing those areas of mistrust, fear, abuse, etc. are not easy and often frightening. The easiest way to avoid. what they have no desire to face. is to quiet the voice; you. And yes, sometimes because you care so deeply you may come on a wee bit too strong.
As for the quiet gentle spirit… Oh my child, you possess this too. It comes forth when you sit for hours next to a hurting person and listen. It’s seen when you come alongside those facing critical illness, often terminal in nature and offer hope. It’s what allows you to comfort a mother who loses a child or a loved one to tragic circumstances. A quiet and gentle spirit is found in the prayers you offer throughout the day for others; some you have never met. It is what draws you to do the ministry I have called you too. Need I go on? Remember what one person calls coming on too strong another calls passion. Let Me be the one to lead you as to when to speak and when to be still. And forgive yourself for the times, out of love you come on a wee bit too strong; I have”.
God created each of us uniquely. God will take the circumstances of our lives to mold us and to use those things for Kingdom good. Embrace your God-given personality – God does not make mistakes and He most certainly makes good use of a life surrendered!
“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion” Proverbs 28:1