Yes, it’s my personality, which is a sometimes complicated mix of melancholy and choleric. I’m honest, sometimes to the point of wishing I kept my mouth shut. I’m wordy and into details. I like to be in control. I analyze and am always making a plan. I have been known to set impossible standards for myself, and sometimes my husband, children, family and friends. I am opinionated, react too quickly and too emotionally, try to solve any problem near me, and am often impatient.
The fact I’m sitting here making a list of my personality traits and analyzing them is proof. Hey, at least I know myself, right?
My point is I know in my head who I am but sometimes that doesn’t connect to what’s going on in my heart. I want to be more compassionate, slower to anger and kinder. I want to choose words that build people up and not the ones that ruin the moment.
And my daughter is a lot like me, and I know she’s watching my every move and listening to my every word, even if she’s pretending not to listen. So I want to set an example for her. Plus it’s draining to grumble.
And then I was reminded that the Israelites spent too much time grumbling, even though God was faithful and provided for them in the wilderness. He redeemed them. He saved them. Time and time again.
[From Psalm 106 …]
Praise the LORD.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. …
… When our ancestors were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his mighty power known. …
The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.
Then they believed his promises
and sang his praise.
But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wilderness they put God to the test. …
… They exchanged their glorious God
for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. …
Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the LORD. …
… They defiled themselves by what they did;
by their deeds they prostituted themselves. …
Therefore the LORD was angry with his people
and abhorred his inheritance.
He gave them into the hands of the nations,
and their foes ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them
and subjected them to their power.
Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.
Yet he took note of their distress
when he heard their cry;
for their sake he remembered his covenant
and out of his great love he relented.
He caused all who held them captive
to show them mercy.
Save us, LORD our God,
and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.
Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting. …
I’m thankful God redeems us so we don’t have to stay the same, even if we fall back into our natural tendencies. And I’m thankful those near me, especially my daughter, spur me on toward love. It’s far sweeter than grumbling.