As far back as I can remember, I have been the quieter one. Since I was always compared to my twin, some people would say, ‘Sheila is more mellow, more serious’. In truth I am more like a larger dog compared to a smaller dog, if you want to compare my sister and I. She likes details, and is very excitable about everything, and some would say more bubbly. I love her personality, and I have come to accept mine. There is one thing that does bring out my obnoxious happy side or my extroverted side and that is people. I am the true definition of an extrovert. I love people. I also love alone time and soul time as I call it, but if there is one thing that can get me excited, its a crowd of socializing people. I love getting to know people and I am happy to be silly and have fun. Quality time is my love language, so you will see that I make spending time a priority.
Then there is a side to my personality that I am not proud of. I am sure we all have some character traits that are not ideal, but I am going to just lay mine all out there. #1 Self Consciousness. I hate that. Its crippling and really a debilitating quality to anyones personality. When I see those people that really seem oblivious to what anyone else is thinking about them, and they are so comfortable in their own skin. I am impressed. Truly admiring them. Because, if you are content and happy with yourself, you have great peace and way more fun. So instead, I practise confidence. I literally have a mindset talk that I use to work through my thoughts and feelings and to remind myself what really matters most. People. Love. Living in the moment. Not missing out on life. My fav is this, ‘how do you think the starving orphans in the world are working through their insecurities right now? There is just no compromise on this, and usually my rational self can give my insecure self a pep talk and get back on track pretty quickly. This is a weakness that I can turn into a strength by refocusing my thoughts but its still a challenge.
Secondly, I despise when I feel jealous. Funny that envy is in the 10 commandments, because if there is one thing that takes away joy in your life, its wishing for things you don’t have. Gratefulness and focusing on the gifts in my life are the only way to get over this. If I feel bad about myself, I can start reminding myself who I am in Jesus. I am a Kings kid. I am part of the family of God and I will go to a place he is preparing for me in Eternity one day. When I notice that I feel the most jealous is usually when I also feel the most unloved or rejected or deliberately left out. Really I am just being defensive and I can see that in other women or girls at times and understand their actions. It’s a great experience to feel these emotions, because then I can remind myself to be careful not to cause others to feel this way around me. What do I do that makes others feel unloved or left out or overlooked. The last thing I ever want to do is brag or boast or be prideful. We all know pride comes before a fall, so help me God. Help me to love, not to resent or be stand offish. Girls can be the worst at this, and I want to show my daughter how to let down her guard and just love first. It’s always better for everyone.
And lastly, but not least, the worst character trait I discovered in myself is anger. And not just normal anger but rage. I say discovered because I am not an easily angry person. Actually most people would notice that it takes a lot to make me angry and even more for me to actually react in anger. That is true, but after having children I realized, ahhhhh this is why God gives us kids. To build character. True character that comes from actually being tested to your core. And rage is an emotion that I do not like or admire in myself. I will never forget hearing my good friend Jackie say, ‘God says in the Bible thou shall not murder, otherwise we might not keep our kids forever’. I laughed because I didn’t have multiple kids yet. Then I had 3 kids in 4 years and that was the beginning of being tested. I think we must all battle this emotion at some time, but I have figured out what sets it off. First, its when I am frustrated or being ignored or when I am not in control. In other words, bratty disobedient kids can get really annoying, and after multiple warnings, I can feel the anger starting to boil. Not good. This is when I really need an intervention or need to be more assertive with my kids. As I am not sure what makes me madder, the fact that you made me mad or the actual reasons I got mad in the first place. I get madder about being mad and I know that sounds crazy. If you have pushed me to the point of getting mad, now I am all bent out of shape and have learned that now I need to go for a walk or to have some time to cool off.
Here are great examples of what makes me lose my mind a little in my current stage of life; kids that are fooling around while I run around and they are not helping and we are going to be late. Or kids that are embarrassing me in public and taking advantage of me in front of an audience. And lastly, when I am just plain tired and kids or pets are either making a huge mess that I have to clean up or they aren’t going to bed and I am missing out on some quiet time to recover. These are all triggers for me but I have to say, even if I do lose it and say something I regret or start swearing in my mind or get impatient and rude, I have learned how to apologize. That is my strength. I am great at apologizing. It may take some time, but in general, God convicts me and I am really sorry that I got so angry.
Just last night I freaked out because my dog took off and I spent 30 mins looking for her on my bike without success. Then she comes prancing home filthy and now I know I have to bath her probably a few times to deal with her mess. This made me mad. I was impatient with the kids during their bedtime routine because they were dragging their feet to get to bed and I was just plain exhausted and not happy about the messy dog tasks ahead. Its not an excuse and part of me thinks my expectations of how much quiet time are available after an 8pm bedtime are probably too high. I either need to start bedtime routine sooner, instead of avoiding the process and bedtime becoming later and later, and I know I need to be firmer so don’t explode from disobedient kids. Just last night, God reminded me, do everything as unto God and not as unto men. So if I am spending my quiet time reading my Bible and praying or I am patiently working and putting in effort as if I was doing it for God, which is really better. Love is better. Peace is better. Patience is better. Joy is better. So today I apologized to my kids and pointed out what was wrong with my attitude and asked for forgiveness and voila all is well in the world. Lessons learned by all and until next time, life goes on and life is good. Luckily for me, my kids always forgive me quickly and usually say, ‘oh we understand why you were angry’. Dear God, thank you that I am not perfect but I am under grace and you are not finished with me. Amen.