Thursday, November 21, 2013

Written on November 21, 2013
Receiving What God Has Given Me
INFJ. That means I'm strong but weak. Passionate yet private. Creative yet very sensitive. Altruistic yet often burned out. And I commonly feel like an outsider. Maybe that's because only 1% of the population actually has the ability to understand me. In other words, only 1% of the population are considered to be INFJs. Some of the greatest writers were INFJs like me.

And then there's my greatest weakness. I am without a doubt a crazy perfectionist.

That reminds me. Here's something funny: My perfectionist nature means I aim to perfect just about anything (and typically use lists to ensure that it happens). My perfectionism has led me to read a book on perfectionism so I can better myself, rid myself of my own perfectionism, and perhaps come out perfect on the other side.

To "relax" and leave myself alone just doesn't come naturally to me.

Throughout my reading, I've learned about some of the harsh motives, mindsets, and tendencies that may result in perfectionism. My worst motive to date? Seeking the approval of people.

When Pleasing You Is Killing Me, a workbook that's intended to help me recognize and break unhealthy relationship patterns, develop new attitudes and behaviors, stand up for myself and serve others, and create balance so I can better manage my life.

When anger turns inward. Little did I know that anger (past and present) may be a key to understanding people pleasing. And little did I know that anger can take the form of frustration, annoyance, and resentment. Frustrated? Yes. Annoyed at times? Yes. Resentful? Yes. Angry? Never.

Perhaps I have pent-up anger because of this need that I have to spend more time alone. But what if me not getting enough along time isn't the source of my pent-up anger?
    Do I have unresolved anger? Which begs the question, does any of that anger revolve around dad...and if not...why was I never angry at dad?
      I don't have the answers to these questions, but at least I've recognized a piece of what I've been missing. Unresolved anger, no matter the origin, has made me resentful and irritable in addition to some other not-so-nice things. Unresolved anger has been my barrier to thankfulness.

      I read the following in the Jesus Calling daily devotional this morning: "Remember that all good things - your possessions, your family and friends, your health and abilities, your time - are gifts from Me." A couple sentences later, I also read: "Ask My Spirit to increase your awareness of resentful feelings."

      Since I rarely, if ever, display the signs of anger, I've always considered myself to be someone who does not struggle with anger. My typical response has been something like this: Anger is bad. Anger makes me a bad person. Anger is undesired. Never show signs of anger. But by choosing to never show anger, I am not necessarily ridding myself of that anger. In reality, anger may need to be expressed, whether it's due to some smaller need not being met or some substantial childhood deprivation. After releasing built-up emotion, there is much to be received.

      What happens when I'm not thankful for the good things I have? I don't acknowledge that they've been received!

      Abilities and time stick out to me. I haven't been acknowledging what's been given to me. In other words, I've become stagnant and stingy, not jumping at chances for adventure and incredible opportunity.

      Present day, practical example: Applying for the MFA program at Hamline. Writing. God has given me great ability. Time. I'm still alive aren't I? So why am I sitting around?

      If I take a step back and consider my past, anger, healing, and ungratefulness, the big picture is bigger than I imagined it to be. God is bringing to the surface and resolving some musty, old emotions. In doing so, He is freeing me up to receive.

      In growing, in receiving what's already been given to me, I gain a great deal. I gain a great adventure. I gain what I've been wanting to go after all along.

      "Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant" (Galatians 1:10).

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