I believe God created me on purpose for a purpose. He wired me intentionally, and my personality is not an accident. He often works through my personality, but sometimes He stretches me beyond my natural tendencies so I can better love my neighbor. So what happens when my personality, preferences, and priorities might actually hinder effective ministry?
I’ve known for a while that my Type-A personality can sometimes keep me from enjoying life to the fullest and from loving others sacrificially. So I’ve developed a new habit, a question I ask myself multiple times throughout the day: “Am I living life or managing life right now?”
Living life? Or managing life? It’s my ongoing mental refrain.
I default to life management. Give me a list and watch me labor to check off every item. I love that. But give me a day to enjoy, and I’ll find something to clean, organize, produce, or manage.
Rarely do I left life just happen. And if I do let it happen, I don’t often savor it. And, though I genuinely want those around me to relish life, I don’t want it to get in the way of my life management.
See the problem?
Some of it is personality and preference, but most of it is an addiction to control. And an obsession with control inhibits trust in God and service to others. If I’m going to love God with my whole self and love others as myself, then I will need to put aside anything and everything that might be a hindrance to those two aims. I might need to break my routine for a day or let the bed go unmade or invite a friend over for dinner even though it isn’t on my calendar.
Life is a good gift from a good God. Control is His job, and He’s really good at it. He can be trusted to sovereignly manage the universe while I do what He put me here to do – live life in a way that makes much of Jesus as I love Him and serve others.