I spoke with a group of moms yesterday about the differences in all of our children, be they step-children or biological children or adopted children. Every person is fitted with a unique personality and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to communicating with, disciplining, encouraging, or training them.
Try as we might, and I have, there'll be no squeezing all of one's children into a mold one has made for them. Child #2 will not be like child #1, etc.
I remember blissfully reading stories to my firstborn. She would sit and listen contentedly to all the words, point at the pictures, and then ask for another book. I would put board books in her crib so that if she woke up "too early" from her nap, she could entertain herself with books.
Child #2 had to be strapped into his highchair with a tray of cheerios in order for me to read to him. I sat close enough to show him the pictures, but far enough away that he couldn't grab The Pokey Puppy and chuck it like a live grenade. He wasn't a "tough child" or any more difficult than his sister; just different.
I have often tried to be different, in a different way than I already am different. I have tried to be more outgoing, tried to be more excited, tried to be more small-talky and brave about meeting people and less self-aware and timid. It hasn't really worked very well, or at least it hasn't stuck.
Honestly, there are things about me that I attribute to personality which are really just sin, and Jesus and I are working on those things. I'm working on making fewer excuses and listening better to the still, small voice that prompts me to be more about others, less about me. I don't know what the technical line between Personality and Habitual Sin is, but I know it must be somewhere between being content to be alone and never wanting to make a mistake in front of others.
It's odd that I could be truly content to be alone and also prefer to be alone because I make a lot of mistakes, and that I write words and publish them for all the internet-browsing world to see. I have written less lately, for several reasons, but one true conviction I've listened to is that waiting for perfect words to encase imperfectly finished thoughts is futile and debilitating.
Maybe my desire to dazzle in my work is actually hindering my ability to do move forward in my life. ~ Emily Freeman, Chatting at the Sky
Sometimes my personality feeds my sin, and maybe the opposite is also true.
The one thing that settles me when fear shakes the picnic blanket out from under me: there is no formula or list or stone-tablet-way to be more pleasing to God. There is no way to be more saved or more Christian or more acceptable to a perfect God who sees Jesus when He looks at me.
If I had 15 more children they'd come with at least 15 more personalities, and at the sight of each one I would think that is my child. And sure - some personalities are more compatible with others. Having a child with a decidedly opposite personality from yours can make you work harder in that relationship, but I'm pretty convinced you would still scratch the eyes out of anyone who tried to hurt that child. In a godly sort of way.
So for now I'm laying down that desire to be perfect and just resting in my child-hood. I'm resting in the security of being perfectly loved, though imperfect. And when I say, "for now" I probably just mean this very moment when I'm about to hit publish, because I know myself and I know that peace with imperfection comes in waves.
I'm riding this one out, though, hoping it's more of a layer on my life and less of a wave.