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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Yam, what I Yam!

I Yam, what I Yam! Deal with it!
Today, it seems character traits and/or flaws are chalked up to genetics or predisposition and not a result of a progressively built personality. I have known or know people who treat others poorly, but its ok because, “that’s just who that are.” I once worked at a place where half the people were incredibly rude and I was told it was just their personality and how they were and I needed to deal with it. It was ok that I went home from work crying everyday, because being rude and down right mean was just a part of who those people were; it was in their genes. (HR felt a little differently about this) To me, this explanation seems like a justification for bad behavior. In a world where people are dictated by unchangeable personality traits, there is no need for apologies. But what about criminal acts? Personality traits don’t seem to get pedophiles, murderers, or car thieves off the hook. Where does society draw the line between what behavior is justified by genes and what behavior isn’t.

Lady Gaga tells us that we were born this way, but I’m calling BS on this and the whole topic of predisposed rudeness. I too used to fall prey to my personality, but I have been regenerated.

I used to stand by this credo of inherent personality. I was and am passionate about loving others. I have always had the capacity for empathy and the ability to feel the pain of others. I was passionate about what I believed and what I wanted to do in the world, but I thought this passion transferred to all aspects of my life and was an excuse for flaws within myself. Because of my “sensitive, passionate nature” I got upset/angry easily and could win awards for my dramatic, theatrical displays of emotion. I said it was simply a part of who I am and people could accept me for who I am, or not. The truth was I grew up in a home where yelling was an accepted way to express yourself and I had learned the same route, albeit I’m pretty sure I took it up a notch.

 Pretty much what I used to look like
Deep down I knew that no one could possible love a creature with such a temperament. Now, I wasn’t like this all the time, but I was a time bomb. I was also convinced that these things, these flaws were ingrained in my personality and I couldn’t possibly change. Then I met Mark and I put him through the ringer of my emotional rollercoaster in first year of dating. (It was truly love at first sight- otherwise he would have ran for the hills). I was still this crazy emotional being and now throw into the mix that I was madly in love and my mom had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I was a mess. There were many tantrums that confused and perplexed my loving boyfriend and other family members who were privy to the beast I could become.

The first thing Mark tried to teach me was that emotions are not reliable- they change with the winds so I shouldn’t rely on them to make judgements or to control my actions. He said I didn’t have to act out my emotions and could control my moods. That was all well and good to know but I felt very much controlled by my emotions. My mood was most times determined by the grief I felt for my mother and I didn’t think I had the ability to change.

At the time I had been a Christian for years, but I was confused and doubting. I hadn’t gone to church in months and my prayer life was usually just another burst of emotions pleading with God. And the Bible, ha! That was just a book of anecdotes and couldn’t possibly help me. At this time, Mark encouraged me to deepen my spirituality and to draw close to Christ. And in fact, we did this together. We recommitted our lives to Christ and fervently pursued intimacy with Him. April- which is the month we chose to marry- was also the month of our recommitment to Jesus (a renewal of our wedding vows to Jesus). April is also a time of live springing forth, rebirth, and new creations.

1Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (Amplified Bible)

New Creations. And my favorite flowers.
I learned through the power of Jesus-not my own power- that I could be different, that I could have peace in an unpeaceful world. I learned I could be made new. I didn’t have to be what I thought I was. But I couldn’t change this on my own, I had to be filled with the Holy Spirit and accept Christ’s grace to be remolded to closer resemble Him. There are still times where something upsets me and I feel like I’m going to explode- it almost feels like a physical need. But I no longer need to, I can give all this to Jesus, I can find peace. The more I seek Christ, the more I have the mind of Christ, and the better I can control this flawed, fleshy suit.

Do you think there are things about us that are unchangeable? Have you been transformed? With Christ in your life, do you feel like a new creation?


  1. I think we're all-without exception-responsible for our behavior. Habits of conduct like substance habits are not always easy to break. But with determination and practice one can re-condition oneself.

  2. For the most part, I do think we are in control of our own behavior. I do however, think that just like some physical illnesses prevent people from controlling their limbs and walking, some mental illnesses prevent people from controlling their behavior. The funny thing is, if you would have excused the people you worked with as being mentally ill, they would have been insulted. There is no shame in being sick, either physically or mentally. It is a shame to choose not to care how we make others feel if we are (mentally) healthy.

  3. I hear you sister! It takes hard work to change those behaviors that can become awful habits! Thank you Jesus for setting us free!

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  4. See that nail? You got it on the head.

    I was born a certain way. It was great ... until life started happening. Then I realized things got all heavy really quick. Only Jesus helped. I did not say He made things better. "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" was a good start, and that only by the Holy Spirit.

    Good post!

  5. Yes with determination we can change or make a good attempt to change. But through the power of Jesus we can be truly transformed. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Interesting point about the mental illnesses. I'm sure they would be insulted. :) Some illnesses cannot be helped but many mental illnesses are not technically illness but learned behavior (either conscious or not) that one uses as a way deal with some sort of trauma. Many therapies are actually behavior modification, similar to programs for addiction. Unfortunately secular addiction programs have 15-20% success rate while many Christian programs boast a 80-85% success rate. The difference is truly giving these parts of ourselves to the Lord. With the illnesses and syndromes that inundate today's western culture it seems it has become easier to excuse bad behavior as unchangeable.

    Thanks for your comment Helen!

  7. Thanks Daniel! "Be transformed by the renewing of you" I love that scripture. I think Paul might actually say the continual transforming of your mind in some translations. If I didn't work to stay close to the Lord and understand His ways and His Word I'm sure it would very easy to go back to my drama queen ways.

    Thanks for the comment!

  8. We are all predisposed to sin...it is a natural predilection. Christians have no excuse because as you said we have been regenerated. we must not blame others or our " nature " for the choices we make.


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