For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139: 13, 14)
We can’t change, but God can change us – as much as He wants to change us.
By that I mean, He created each of us with a unique personality and gifts, and it would be a mistake to think He wants to change who we are. But through making different choices, we can take back the parts of our personalities the enemy has been using for evil and let God re-channel them towards what we were created for in the first place.
For example: I happen to be one who remembers a lot of things, short-term, long-term, in great detail. This used to be a source of struggle for me. In my younger days I had a hard time letting things go. I couldn’t shake the vivid memories of things people had done to me, and consequently I couldn’t forgive them the way I knew God wanted me to.
One night I tried to convince myself that these people hadn’t hurt me that much (But they had.) and that they deserved to be forgiven (They didn’t.), Jesus whispered to my heart, How about forgiving them because I asked you to? I saw forgiveness as a choice I could make (regardless of my feelings), and When I said Yes, Lord, He gave me the strength to make that choice.
Am I now a forgetful person, or a “big picture” person as opposed to a detail-minded person?
Not at all, because that’s not who He created me to be. I was relieved to learn that true forgiveness doesn’t have to include forgetting. As a woman who had been permanently blinded put it, “Forgiveness is the difference between a festering wound and a clean scar.” She could hardly be expected to forget that she had been blinded, but by choosing to forgive, she could live free of the bondage of bitterness.
I still have a good memory, which I am now using to retell stories of His working in my life – some of them things that happened many years ago. Now, instead of memorizing offenses or debts that people “owe” me, I memorize Scripture. Yes, Jesus changed me, but I am still me – the woman who has (as my husband put it) “a memory like a steel vault.”
Another characteristic of mine is my obsessiveness. Some may say I have a little OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Is that a problem? In the eyes of the world, and when I’m left on my own, yes! My obsessiveness used to keep me awake at night, and my insomnia eventually took its toll on my health. When I was obsessed with one thing on my mind, it was hard for me to focus on other things – things I should have been thinking about. This got me into trouble at school and in some relationships. Fortunately for me, it never got to the point of being destructive, just extremely annoying for myself and those around me.
So, if this is how God made me, is OCD a gift from God, or is it a curse?
Left unchecked, obsessiveness can disrupt sleep, hinder relationships, and cause frustration and self-loathing. And the God who created us does not want us loathing ourselves!
In the past 15 years there have been certain things I believe God has laid on my heart to commit to praying for. “Commit” to me means to pray daily. As this list grows, my daily prayer time has grown, as well. Some days it seems there’s just too much going on, and a “sensible” person would just let it go and pray extra hard about those things the next day. But the OCD in me says, A promise is a promise, and if I have to be up past 1:00 in the morning, I’m going to pray for those people [or nations, or ministries]!
Obsessive? Sure. Crazy? Perhaps. But I like to think that when God is looking for someone who will commit to pray in a certain direction, keep praying, and not give up until that prayer is answered, He’ll find someone with at least a little OCD to do it. (“That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”)
Oddly enough, I also seem to lean in the direction of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder – or as I sometimes call it, EDD – “Easily Distracted Disorder”). This sometimes makes an interesting struggle in my mind, as half my brain is trying to pray through my commitments, and the other half is thinking of all these other things to pray about. I would feel bad about this dilemma, except that I know with all my quirks God loves me, and there are times He and I just have to laugh together about it.
I once saw a t-shirt in a catalogue with a message that describes me perfectly: “I am OCD and ADD. That means everything has to be perfect – but just for a few minutes.” One reason my struggles are of value is that they keep me from taking myself too seriously.
What are your quirks? How were they a detriment to your life without Christ, and how does God use them for His glory when you give them over to Him? I would love to hear from you. We can all encourage one another, and maybe share some laughs, as well.
If you find yourself frustrated with your quirks and struggles, because you are still living a life without Christ, do check out a couple of my posts that lay out how a relationship with the Living God makes our lives the best they can be!
Prayer: Lord, You have created us to be unique masterpieces, but we don’t always see ourselves that way. Forgive us for questioning the way You’ve designed us, and help us to catch the vision You had when You decided to make each of us the way You did. Glorify Yourself in our uniqueness, and teach us to praise You in a way that is truly ours alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.