Last night, around the dinner table, we got into a pretty heated discussion (which is unfortunately my modus operandi). The topic is not as important to me as my conversation this morning with my cousin. I guess you could say it was one of those personal revelations - where the layers peeled back and the "real me" was exposed.
I've mentioned before my grappling with the meaning of a "gentle and quiet" spirit that Peter talks about in 1 Peter 3:3-4,
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
I wrestle these words.
I want to justify my crazy personality, want to know that "who I am" is okay - even if I'm not the quiet girl praying in the corner. I do believe God sanctifies our personalities, but I'm just not sure how to balance my uniqueness with the ways God desires to transform me to His image.
Enter my cousin Vince.
This morning, I asked him about last night's discussion. I knew the argument ruffled his feathers and I wanted to know what I could do better. I also, selfishly, wanted to know how to achieve that "quiet and gentle spirit" and still be, well, me.
In the course of our conversation, I realized a major character flaw that needs to be seriously refined by fire.
In a conversation/argument/debate, I often appear confident and decided in my view even if I'm not convinced of it myself.
Even writing it looks lame, but it's true. I'm not sure who to blame - my brothers for their ruthless monopoly bullying or my sister for all those squabbles over borrowing clothes. In the end, I know it's my own heart that is so stubborn. It's my own pride that prevents me from saying, "I'm not really sure. What do you think?" It's my selfishness that refuses to ask questions and instead offers, "Well, I think..." statements.
I love to process through ideas, philosophies, and theological dilemmas. I welcome questions because every assumption/belief must be challenged to reveal its roots. But, I've often made my mind up to be defensive before I am convinced of my own position. I don't ask questions or consider another as better than myself (Philippians 2:3) on the debate floor. My main focus is to be heard and understood, not to hear and understand.
Oh, dear. This confession is getting ugly.
Over omelettes and coffee this morning, my heart looked sour and silly. Vince saw through my selfishness to ways it has blinded my own heart. He saw my veneer of pride and called me out.
This is a rebuke past due that makes me wonder how many relationships and conversations would have ended differently.
My own pride keeps me from conforming to my Creator, but I would probably argue to the death that it's not so.
Oh, that I would throw off all that entangles so that I can truly
let LOVE fly like cRaZy