Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Confessions of a Middle Child

But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:18-20; 26-27

I am certain that my three sisters and I could have served well as an experimental test group for personality quizzes. My mind wanders back 15 years when we rated ourselves on such a quiz. The oldest sis was strongest in loyalty and responsibility. I, the middle child, rated high in sensitivity and compassion. The other middle sister tipped the scale heavily on charming and adventurous. Our youngest sis had the most marks in the inquisitive and self-sufficient department. We chuckled as we recalled personal stories that matched our traits. I actually remember Big Sis drawing up a chore chart all on her own accord. I could use her help this very instant. I am in awe of how Little Sis can keep any conversation going with her natural inquiries and her sincere desire to learn from others. And well, my adventurous middle sister can go from a long day at work to a competitive volleyball game to a laughter-filled visit with friends without stopping for a breath. She brightens up any situation. Then there's Little Miss Soft Skin over here. When we plan parties at our house, I'll invite enough people to create a fire hazard because I couldn't dare hurt anyone's feelings. Unfortunately, half-way through the festivities, I'll be overwhelmed and ready for a nap.

The sins of jealousy and coveting have overtaken me in the past... Oh that my life would be so much richer if I could multi-task like Christie, the eldest, or if I could compete like my fellow middle sis, Michelle, or if I could be as graceful in life as Stephanie, the youngest. Upon repenting of my jealousy and receiving God's forgiveness, I waited for God to change me. I thought that change would make me realize the value of my gifts and talents. In God's infinite and perfect wisdom, so much more was revealed. Are you ready?
It's not about me. God cares for me as His own individual child and has called me into His kingdom of fellow believers. My sisters and I are different; however, we were created by the same loving God. Chapter 12, verses 4-6 of 1 Corinthians reminds us that "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." The more I seek after God through prayer, scripture reading, and worship- the more I serve Him in my vocation as a wife and mother- the more I work in His church and serve by loving others, the less I worry about what traits I'm lacking in. To begin seeing one's personal qualities as an intricate part of God's plan is a joyous blessing that energizes one to persevere in love, faith, and work. The diverse gifts given to God's people were meant for the common good of God's people as is mentioned in verse 7 of chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians. We all have weaknesses. Christ is perfection. He fills our weaknesses. What is more loyal than a man who obeyed His father while being tempted in the desert? What is more compassionate than Jesus washing the feet of the disciples? What shows more connectedness to people than Jesus' parables? Finally, what is bolder than His death and resurrection on the cross?

The multitude of personality quizzes floating around out there are fun. By the way, in the dog quiz, my husband was a Golden Retriever and I was a Pug. Some of the inventories are well researched and accurate, as depicted with my siblings. Many leadership groups put personality quizzes to efficient, team-building use. These quizzes are limiting, though. God is the Author of our Lives and the Perfector of our Faith! God knew us before we were born. He knows our idiosyncracies. He knows how we fit beautifully together according to His plan. Thus, it is His wisdom upon which we lean.

Thank you Lord for my shortcomings, that I might know Christ Jesus, the Great Rabbi, the Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords, my Redeemer. Amen.

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