The saying goes, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks". Whether or not this is true I don't know. I do know this: I'm glad we aren't like dogs. Because I am learning new things every day and I'm not very young. Or old. I'm kinda in be tween ages right now. Ha!
Someone who follows Jesus should be learning new things pretty constantly. Every day is a fresh opportunity to take one more step into God's kingdom...I've been praying on the side, about my need to be softer, kinder, less expressive, more tactful.
I say on the side, because I wasn't praying in earnest about it. I was trying to also figure out how much of me is fixed personality and how much is changeable. I mean, when you hear how much you are like your mother, your sister, and your grandmother, how much of a chance do you have to be someone else? How much should you pray about traits?
So I prayed on the side about it and decided not to worry too much, even to the place of resigning myself to a life of bluntness and briskness. (Sometimes I think the things we pray about as a side note, God takes more seriously than the petitions deepest in our hearts.) Or maybe He decided it's time He makes me serious about something I thought was less important.
Whatever the case, I have been challenged with relationships that require me to stop and think and to learn gentleness and quietness... Two things that do not come easily for me. I am learning them slowly and wobbly like a newborn calf. I start and go and flop, then get up again. Each time I learn a little more about what helps to grow my strength in these areas.
Shall I be brave and tell you of a few people God is using to help me learn?
#1. Bruce. God has always used Bruce to grow me up. See, it's my husband that my skill with words can wound the most. He hears my words correctly only when they are softened by the right attitude. Somehow, my man is the first to sense when my attitude stinks. And I thought I was the sensitive one.😉... OK truthfully, some days he is not accurate. I'm not always sportin a tude when he thinks I am. That's OK tho...I'm a big girl...God knows better than either one of us what truly is going on in our hearts.
#2. My students... In particular, the students that have learning disabilities. Whatever that means...because are we not talking about my own learning disabilities just now? These kids amaze me. They have the majority of 'normal' people standing around being all judge-y about their struggles, yet they press on. They amaze me because they are miles ahead of the rest of us about what is kind and thoughtful. They don't know why they hurt so badly for themselves, yet I believe it's because they feel so deeply the emotions of others around them. It seems they are deeply angry and compassionate for the worlds' injustices all at the same time.
And then God gives them me. A teacher that loves them but is bold and blunt and to the point. A teacher that thinks she is doing the best thing for them by being strict and holding to a firm line. And it is the best for them but only if it is seasoned with love and grace and kindness. That is when the only thing I can do is to beg for wisdom. And "Please, Sweet Jesus, send me a little more understanding. Help me to soften my words while I give direction. Show me how to smile when I feel like grimacing." and pray pray pray that I can truly learn a few new tricks.
What about you? What are some things God is teaching you? Do you think we can ask to change some of our deeply ingrained personality traits or should we resign ourselves to them?