I am defensive about many things: my gifts/abilities and how
I do or don’t use them. My temperament. My motives. My parenting. My
I have learned that most of my defensiveness is born out of
fear – fear of being misunderstood, of being alone in my experience, of feeling
that I am not lovely or worthy, and that I am not enough or capable. I am most
defensive when I feel most threatened. Isn’t that true of most of us?
I have spent much of the summer focused in my Bible Study
and devotional time on who God says He is, who He says that I am (and the way
He created me), the implications of that relationship, and how it all plays out
in my life.
Coming to the realization that He created me exactly the way
I am, for a purpose… that He loves me and gives me everything I need to carry
out the purpose He has for my life and to take care of the responsibilities
He’s given me… that my strength, wisdom, discernment, patience, love, and joy
find their source in Him and not myself… it has allowed me to lay down some of
my defensiveness in light of His love and grace. He is my defender, my
provider, my protector, everything that I need but often try to be on my own. I
don’t have to fight for what I feel like I want or need – from myself or from
anyone else. I have all that I need in Him.
I’ve come to several conclusions that have been big “Aha!”
moments and brought freedom and joy that I have not known before.
I am a blend of introversion and extroversion, but I slide
more to the side of introversion in many ways. I have fought this in my life,
and finally seeing myself for who I was created to be and celebrating it as I
learn to accept it has allowed me to explore what that means for other areas of
my life – my marriage, my family, my friendships, my roles in ministry. I no
longer feel guilty for how I respond to people or situations, especially when
that looks differently than the way others around me might respond or act. I
can let go of the guilt I often feel when I take steps to care for myself –
taking time and creating margin in my day and week to recharge in ways that are
necessary for me. And I can see the value that I add, being wired the way that
I am. I am also able to look honestly at my tendencies and push myself not to
hide behind my temperament and use it as an excuse. There is a clarity here
that I have been seeking. I feel like the lens has come into sharp focus
(finally). And it hasn’t come without a good amount of work, study, and soul
searching. It’s been worth the effort.
It has been a very good summer – full of fun with the kids,
growth in my marriage, deepened friendships and some of the sweetest quiet
times early in the morning. A few friends have asked for a list of “Favorite
Things” to make a comeback. That cracks me up, and I’m always up for sharing
what I love and enjoy. So here you go – a list of my Favorites from the Summer
of 2013 to close out this blog post.