quiet or loud? Intellectual or artistic? orderly or inspirational? driven or gentle? Humorous or serious?
"Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed." Romans 12: 1
Early one morning, my chatterbox little boy ran into the room, jumped on the couch next to me, snuggled and said with a sparkle, "Come on, admit it, mama! You must love me the best because I am the most fun of all your kids."
Followed by, "Nuh huh! She loves me best because I help her the most and you just get into trouble!"
And so the conversation escalated. My answer, "I love you the Nathanest! I love you the Joy-est!" You each have a place in my heart that only you can fit.
Personality--what a strange animal!
Perhaps you prefer one type of personality, and some personalities are surely easier to deal with. But the reality is, all personalities are holy to the Lord.
God gave me two introverts and two extroverts and a variety of different issues in between to shepherd. He expanded my soul and stretched me by challenging me to look at them from His eyes.
We live in a world that values conformity. We want to use our force, our power, our authority to make people, and our children, fit into the box. Be good. Be tame. Be moral. Don't bring attention to yourself. Don't contend or question the norm.
I remember a time when Nathan had brought some boys home from a class he was taking. A mile high pile of chocolate chip cookies, just out of the oven, was the enticement for them to stay around in my kitchen and jabber. One of the boys always called me, "Dude, mama." From him, it was a compliment. I had attained approval.
As they were talking, they said, "We thought Nathan was so weird when he first came into our class. He walked up to the teacher and introduced himself and said he was looking forward to being in the class. We all thought, 'Everyone knows you don't speak to a teacher in front of everyone else."
He then went on to say, "All of us learned by third grade to fit in, don't do anything that would call attention to yourself or you would be bullied by the whole group, all of your peers gang up against anyone who is different---everyone is supposed to fit in. So when Nathan comes and doesn't care what people think and makes friends with everyone, even the teachers, it blew our grid of norm. Truly, for a while, everyone thought he was a weirdo."
Quietness but fire underneath fits the description of one child, while steady Freddy, slow but dependable; funny, in your face charming, another. All have pushed my buttons through the years, but they have humbled me, too, in a good way. I now know for sure that I cannot control my children--they are free agents with a will and desires and dreams, all unique to the call on their lives and the personalities God gave them.
But, no matter the personality, I am called to shepherd them to love God, to teach and train them to have the character underneath that they will need to complete the tasks God gives them to do in their life time.
Most important, though, as a mom, I am called to control but to release them into His hands, as they are, to live out their uniqueness in a world that needs them to sparkle as God made them.
Nathan called me yesterday and said, "Hey, guess what, I got a new commercial with Nike! Keep praying, mom. God is opening doors."
This from the child who never fit into the box--always dreamed of something bigger, some way to influence the world. We are still waiting to see and spending time on our knees, but if I had followed the advice of those in the world who just knew "God's will" for us and told me to spank Nathan more, to make him fit in, I would never have seen God's will, would never had known the story of God shaping a young man's soul to be passionate for Him, to have the courage to dream, and to love him unconditionally with his stripes and spots--just as God had made him.
Sally blogs at Sallyclarkson.com