I was sitting at the table at my friends house, old enough now to be considered one of the adults but not quite old enough to be part of the central conversation. I was on my best behaviour, because my friend just happens to be the pastor’s daughter and her guests just happened to be missionaries who were visiting for lunch. In the middle of dessert, the missionary wife turned to my friend and complimented her on her gentle and quiet spirit and how she had such a calm way about her. I smiled, all the while thinking two things: 1. that was such a missionary thing to say, no average person would randomly say that in the middle of their cheesecake, and 2. there is no way that anyone would ever say that to me, AJ, one of the most chatty, loud, clumsy and overly enthusiastic people in the world. I didn’t mind very much, I was proud of my friend and I felt she deserved the compliment, I was just worried about what they thought about me. Suddenly the missionary husband, who always seemed to know what I was thinking, turned to me and said “AJ, I want you to remember something, having a meek and gentle spirit doesn’t mean you have to stop talking” he then winked at me and continued with his meal. It was such a simple thing to say, and yet I have never forgotten it because it meant so much to me.
I think what I appreciated so much about it is the fact that someone picked up on who I am as a person. I am different to my friend, I have a personality that includes being more upfront with my opinions, discussing them more openly and just in general talking more. It doesn’t mean that my personality goes against Biblical principles, it just means that I display them differently.
It is something that I have struggled with many times. How can I be the way I am and still be a godly woman who is meek, gentle, humble, servant-minded, and so on? I more naturally want to speak up and be a leader, I am more naturally inclined to being loud, outspoken, opinionated, enthusiastic, brutally honest, and “in your face”. Many of the women I see who I admire are generally more soft spoken and obviously gentle.
It may sound terrible but there have been so many times when I simply wished that I was different to who I am. “Lord, how can I find my strength in You when I already have a fair amount of strength that you have naturally given me?” “Lord, how can I be a gentle woman when I trip every three steps and grasp desperately at whatever is nearby to catch me?” “How can I do all these things, can’t you just change who I am?”
But God made me for a reason and He tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So that means that He has a plan for me and for my personality. It just means I display certain characteristics in different ways. I haven’t quite figured out how exactly to best do this, but I have learnt to not try and be more godly by changing fundamental aspects of who I am but instead use them in a way that glorifies God.