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A Little Bit of Hope for the All or Nothing Personality

Oct 11, 2021

This post is by Jen Stanbro.

I feel like I need a T-shirt that says, “Woman who God is with,” because really, that’s what matters most about me. 

In the past, people have looked at my life and commented things like, “Oh, I could never get up that early, I’m not a morning person.” Ha, neither am I.

“I could never homeschool my kids, just getting them to do their homework is a struggle.” Yep, same here. My kids are no different than anyone else’s. 

“I could never be a foster parent. I’d get too attached. It would be too hard.”  I did. It is. 

My typical response is, “Of course you could, if you’re called to it. Because if God calls you to it, He’ll be with you in it.” Some have looked at my choices and assumed that there must be something ‘special’ about me that made me fit for the life I’ve chosen. But there isn’t. I’m just a messy, baggage-dragging, healthy-choice resisting, constantly failing, weak chick who dared to believe God when He said, “I am with you always,” (Matthew 28:20).

He’s with all of us.

Now, of course, everyone is not called to do the same things, but “we are [all] His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). As we prayerfully consider what it is God has prepared for us to do in each season, let’s ask Him to search us, to help us discern any area where we’re protecting our comfort, avoiding His calling because it’s hard, or letting fear have the final say. Is our faith in our abilities, personality traits, or what’s special about us, or is our faith in Him? Do we pursue only that which we feel we are capable of handling, managing and controlling, or are we willing to step into seasons of uncertainty, where being in-over-our-heads is inevitable, knowing deep in our spirits that God has called us there and He will be with us there? 

The season I presently find myself in is interesting to me. For the past eight-or-so years, God has invited my husband and I to make some pretty big moves. In this season, however, I feel like He has invited me to get small. Real small. Specifically, to make small changes for the better in long-developed habits. But, to me, the big changes feel easier than the small ones.

As an ‘all or nothing’ personality, the idea of making teeny, tiny changes gradually over time feels excruciating. It is not within my capability, my predispositions or anything within me to make the changes set before me this way. Although, I’m one-hundred-percent sold on the wisdom and tremendous power in it, it just feels like there’s too much to change. At this rate, I feel like I’ll be dead before I get to all of it!  So, I tend to go all in, throwing all of my habit changes at the wall simultaneously, hoping they stick. Many smack hard, lasting only a short time, then fall off. When Monday rolls around, I pick them up off the floor and hurl them again, to mostly the same effect. I’ve muscled change this way for too long. My hands are lifted in surrender. I give up. 

This ‘all or nothing’ gal has tried it her way and found that it is truly not as effective. While my days are not without their successes (some of those healthy habits have managed to stay stuck, hallelujah) I’m ready to do the next hard thing. Well, hard for me anyway. Stupid-small changes pointing in the direction God is leading me, increasing and morphing gradually till I arrive at fully formed, healthier habits. Phew!

Friends, if you have an ‘all or nothing’ personality like me, here’s our hope: God is with us. He’s seen us through hard seasons before and He’ll do it again. To His glory, I pray that one day we will be able to look back, holding all the memories of the mountains traversed inch-worm style, the tears, the falls, the tiny triumphs that led to huge changes, and say with all of our hearts, “I did it, because He was with me.”

 

Jen Stanbro is the singer/songwriter behind the Hello Mornings podcast theme song, “God Day.” She lives in North Carolina with her husband and crew of cuckoo kids. Her heart aches for the oppressed and marginalized, and she seeks to reignite God’s holy fire in the hearts of His people to love courageously like Jesus.

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

 

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