I love this community and I hope to meet some of you in a few weeks at the CONQUER conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. Each day this week I will be LIVE on Facebook talking about topics related to the CONQUER conference.
Monday I shared How to Live Courageously in a Scary World. Tuesday Megan Cox shared her story of leaving an abusive marriage and the organization she founded to help abused women break free. Wednesday at 4 PM ET Sheri Keffer will be on talking about Intimate Deception when your husband sexually betrays your trust. And Thursday at 1 PM ET, one of my team coaches, Elise will be talking about Boundaries Made Simple. Friday at 7:00 PM Sandra Lovelace will talk about How to Blossom as a Woman. Sandra wrote one of our guest blogs a few weeks back. Click here to read the blog.
Hope to see you on FB, but if you miss one, can watch the recording here.
Today I’ve been pondering Galatians 4 where Paul anguishes over the vulnerability of those who are influenced and shaped by false teachers. Those who sound strong but rob you of your joy and your personhood. He says, “Their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention to only them”(vs 17,18). Isolation is a strategy of abusive individuals. They don’t want you to listen to anyone but them. Don’t do it.
Paul prayed for their maturity, that Christ would be fully formed in them. God doesn't want us to have other “gods” before Him. Sometimes we allow other people’s words about us to define us instead of God’s words and when we listen, we become deformed by their words, instead of fully formed by Christ in us. Click To Tweet
I’ve asked my good friend Georgia Shaffer, a licensed psychologist, certified coach, as well as the author of Taking Out Your Emotional Trash and Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make, to share some thoughts about how this deforming process happens.
Are You That Square Peg Trying to Squeeze into A Round Hole?
Megan, who loved to have fun and live in the moment, married an orderly and demanding man. He wanted her to excel at work and keep a lovely home, all while taking care of their two children. According to him, fun was a waste of time and money, not something responsible working parents condoned.
To please him, Megan put aside her natural exuberance. “It’s so important to me that I make him happy,” Megan told a friend.
“I understand, but how long can you sustain this pace?” her friend asked.
Megan had no answer. Although she complied with her husband’s demands, she was barely surviving. A couple of years later when her husband left her, she was exhausted and depressed. Worse yet, Megan had lost sight of the person God had created her to be.
In contrast to Megan, Elizabeth was a natural-born leader who liked to set and accomplish goals. Growing up in her church, she noticed that women who were focused on tasks or who were leaders of various groups were not liked or valued. Elizabeth concluded that a good Christian woman should be a sweet, easygoing person who swallowed her opinions if they disagreed with the church’s leadership. In her efforts to be a godly woman, Elizabeth determined to hide her true personality, and cover it with something she perceived as more acceptable to others.
Alison suffered from personality envy. She wanted to have her sister’s perfect marriage and believed if she had her sister’s personality, her own difficult marriage would become great too. Her sister was organized and seemed to do everything perfectly. Despite Alison’s best efforts to be more like her sister, her marriage did not improve. If anything, it became more difficult.
Each of these three women, whether it was out their desires to make someone happy or their brokenness, insecurities, or misperceptions, worked hard to be someone they were not. Much like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, trying to create an alternate personality to replace the one God created simply did not work.
God doesn’t give us the option of deciding what our natural personality is. We are skillfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and come prepackaged with strengths, weakness, emotional needs and styles of communicating. I often hear women say they lost themselves when they married. For some that is true. I find, however, that others never had clarity on who they really were even before their marriages. And there are some, like Megan, Elizabeth, and Allison who reject God’s design and decide to recreate themselves.
The good news is it’s never too late to become more self-aware and recognize your God-given personality. Yes, you may have to uncover your unique self that has been buried over time. Even If you grew up in an abusive home or have been in a destructive relationship, it can be done.
The first step is to discover and understand who God created you to be. You may decide to complete a personality assessment or ask the Lord to reveal your natural gifts. Or you could ask the people who know you, people who can be trusted, to share what they see as your natural strengths. Another option is to start watching and observing yourself. What does your shoes-off, most comfortable self-like to do?
Slowly, as you begin to clarify your God-given personality and embrace your natural strengths, you will come to appreciate the real you. Maybe you’re great at helping people. Maybe you like to plan and organize. Maybe you’re good at soothing ruffled feathers. Own your strengths and use them. Acknowledge your weaknesses and work to minimize them. Seeing yourself as God sees you shatters distorted self-perceptions. You may even notice some unhealthy ways you’ve been relating to others.
Embracing your God-shaped personality helps you enjoy a deeper sense of meaning and purpose whatever your life circumstances. Most importantly, as that square peg, you’ll no longer struggle and strive to squeeze into a round hole. Instead, you’ll see how naturally your shape fits into your life and relationships. You’ll learn what a powerful and positive difference you can make in the lives of others.
Friends, Do you feel like you’re embracing all, part, or none of your God-given personality?
Georgia Shaffer, a Professional Certified Coach and licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, will be doing two workshops at Conquer and be available to work with you one-on-one to identify and maximize who God created you to be. For a list of the assessments and services, she will offer in Lincoln, email her at Georgia@GeorgiaShaffer.com.