Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong

Yesterday, my son said to me, "Mama, you are silly all the day long." I replied, "Is that OK? Do you not want me to be silly?" "Of course you can be silly," he said.

Well, I was probably going to stay silly whether he gave me permission or not. Silliness is a trait of mine that is quite essential to my personality, I think.

But what traits are not essential to my personality? Quite a few, surprisingly. Like sarcasm. I find that, while funny sometimes, sarcasm is really unnecessary. It's mostly used to make people feel bad, or it's used to make myself feel smart at someone else's expense. I've tried to cut down on the amount of sarcasm I use in the past few years, but it's hard. I mean, in fifth grade, my teacher called me the Queen of Sarcasm. Fifth grade. That's a lot of unlearning to do.

Sometimes it's hard to weed out which aspects of our personalities need to change and which ones are central to our being. Traits are formed over a lifetime. Some we begin when we're young, some we begin when we get older and life gets busy or complicated.

Don't I look smug? This picture says,
"I dare you to play Jeopardy with me."
One trait that I wish, wish, wish I could get under control is my know-it-all-ness. I am an insufferable know-it-all sometimes. While growing up, I was mainly noticed for my intellect. I was a very early reader, great in school. I was nothing if not smart. I wasn't pretty, I wasn't talented. I was smart. That seemed to be all I had, according to most of the adults in my life. I know I'm more than that now, but I still cling to that label. I want to be the first to answer, have the best answer, and prove all others wrong. And really rub it in. I even had an advice column in college called "Miss Know-it-All." The worst part is that I can hear myself acting this way, and it's like a freight train. I can't stop it. I'm already in the middle of an obnoxious sentence, and I clearly can't stop mid-sentence and say, "Pardon me. I must stop this sentence before I reveal that I'm an insufferable know-it-all." Ugh. I feel that would only make things worse.

I know this behavior is annoying. It doesn't make any friends, it doesn't improve my life in any tangible way. Sometimes it makes me feel self-conscious or hesitant to participate in discussions. Besides, I know the truth: there is more to me than my intellect. I'm funny, I'm talented, I'm not Quasimodo. I have more to offer than gray matter. And God knows that. If my life is supposed to point to Him in all I do, how does a trait like that point to him?

It doesn't. It points to me.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2


Sarcasm points to me. Being a know-it-all points to me. Pride, laziness, low self-esteem. Those traits all point to me, not to God. That's an easy way to decide whether a trait should be deleted. And I seem to need a lot of revisions, so that calls for a ton of prayer. Some of these are so embedded in me, there's no way I can get rid of them on my own. It also requires a great deal of humility on my part, as it appears I am not perfect.

I know. I'm just as shocked as you are.

But I know that when these traits are transformed into something God can use, he'll use me. Like crazy, he'll use me. I'm much more useful to him when I become who he made me to be. And that requires giving up the traits that only point to me and replace them with traits that point to him.

What traits point to you, and what steps are you taking to make them point to God? 

7 comments:

  1. Bravo Rachel. I have been studying humility, something I desperately need. I'm working at letting others make their points and listening, not proving I know more than them with my next sentence. So hard! Your words resonate with me.

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    1. Thanks, Julie! I love proving I know more than people. The worst part is that I know how awful it is, but I just can't help myself! And it takes a long time to convince me if I'm ever wrong. Which I rarely am, anyway. ;)

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  2. I am a know-it-all, too! My family called me Britannica growing up. HA! It's hard for me to to believe that others know more than I do sometimes, but I'm working on it! Great post. My daily prayer is that God will mold me into who HE created me to be, not who I am comfortable being!!!

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    1. What's funny is that it's not all that comfortable anymore, since I'm aware of the problem. But even things that are uncomfortable are habits that are just too hard to break. I know I'd be much happier as God's version of myself!

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  3. Well, I've always known I'm not the brightest tack in the drawer, but I'm a *tiny* bit sarcastic. That's something, that I too, have tried to keep in control. ESPECIALLY with my children. They don't respond well to it. Shocking. I have nothing else to add except that God has His work cut out for Him when it comes to me! ;)

    (love your title, btw)

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    1. Yes, it's very different with kids. Boy, my son is like a sponge! He picks up whatever I say.

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  4. Rachel, I relate to all the traits you have and describe. Silliness is a wonderful trait, by the way, and never lose that one. But, like you, I started out being noticed for being smart, as a little kid, and I like how you mention weeding traits that do not help us point to Him. Great post.

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