The Way I Am.
I’m a firm believer in knowing oneself. We ought to understand ourselves and others. It helps to understand the way we’re wired, why we respond differently to situations and to people, and what makes us tick. This means knowing our temperament, personality, strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge also helps us understand why others respond the way they do.
There are many studies and tests available to help you learn about who you are. Even with DNA testing, the questions you can choose to answer will help explain who you are. When you’ve been through those tests, you’ll have “Aha!” moments. Suddenly, the way your spouse, friend, or child acts makes sense. You might learn not to take something personally or to allow that person to be the way he is, instead of insisting he responds like you would.
There is everything right with having an explanation for the way we’re wired. There’s everything wrong with using the way we’re wired as an excuse for poor responses and poor behavior.
How many times have we heard – or used it ourselves – the excuse, “Well, that’s just the way I am,” or “I can’t help it ’cause that’s just who I am.” Sometimes we’ve said it about others: “That’s just Tom,” or “Well, you know how Sally is,” as a way of excusing (but not explaining) their behavior.
The way I am is an excuse and not an explanation.
You know what’s wrong with these statements and sentiments? These are excuses and not explanations. They establish the baseline of existence and do not strive for improvement. Instead of aiming for the stars (becoming like Christ), we allow mediocre behavior and responses.
What God says we should do with The Way I Am
You know what these statements really miss? The standard for excellence provided in God’s word. This is what God says about how we should live:
- approve things that are excellent and be filled with righteousness
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
- have the mind of Christ – which includes humility, service, and obedience.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross.
- everything we do is to bring glory to Christ.
- what we eat and drink is to bring glory to Christ.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
- prove we are His disciples by bearing much fruit. What is that fruit? Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
The way I am needs to change
Being stagnant is not endorsed in scripture. Nor is hanging onto the way I am. Instead, many verses provide the challenge to bear fruit, grow, change, and become transformed. There is no room for excuses regardless of our genetics, the way we’re wired, or our personality. Own the sin nature, but don’t hang onto it as an excuse for the way I am. Instead, change course! We must reckon with the way I am and make a conscious effort to shed that old skin and grow new qualities that prove we belong to the King.
The next time those words of excuse pop into your head, STOP. Don’t excuse yourself. Instead, try saying “This does not come easily for me, but I am going to use this challenge to grow and become more like Jesus instead of more like me.”