Inspiring title, no?
So a few weeks ago I made a Three Things Thursday post about how there was someone in my co-op class that seemed to always disagree with me, and how that bothered me and how it was really affecting my wanting to contributed to the discussion in class. First, I want to say that things have been better since I posted that, maybe because our topic of conversation has changed a bit, or maybe for other reasons (like some of you praying that God would just clamp His handover my mouth ;-). But I also felt the need to elaborate a little more ever since I put that post up.
See, the issue isn't that someone can't disagree with me. (My family does it all the time, LOL.) I mean, don't get me wrong, I like to be "right", and like most people, I think I'm right probably more than I really am. But really the issue is that one of the greatest areas God has really done a work on in my life is my competitiveness and my obsessive need to be right, to win the battle. I'd like to think that most people who met me today wouldn't even think that was one of my character traits. But I've always been argumentative. And sometimes even in a good way. I'm really good at debate, and at seeing both sides of an issue. Yet I still struggle with that innate, sinful desire to WIN the argument. And to find myself facing that situation on a weekly basis was uncomfortable for me because debating really isn't the purpose of the class, and being argumentative isn't how I want to be known. So I was really struggling. Personally. NOT because she was doing anything wrong, but because my response was wrong.
And so, being transparent and all, I blogged about it. And immediately felt bad. I realized I had shared my blog address with people in the class because of the reviews I had done. I realized it might sound like I though *she* was in the wrong. And I knew I needed to be even more transparent and lay it all out there. If there were AA meetings (Arguers Anonymous), my intro would go something like this, "Hi, my name is One Blessed Mamma. By the grace of God alone, I'm a recovering arguer. I love to be right. I love words. I love to craft them. I love to be clever with them. I love to win a point...or the whole debate. In my life, I've caused a LOT of damage with the things I've said, and I couldn't regret it more. So now, with God's help, I try to pray first before I open my mouth in important situations and ask Him to speak through me or let me know if He wants me to speak at all. I often fail at that. Especially with the people that matter most-those closest to me. I've messed up more this week alone than there are words to express, but I'm grateful that God's mercies are new every morning and He forgives me time and time again."
I believe God's word is true in Proverbs 27:17 where it says, "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." One of the things I miss the most about our old church on FL was Sunday night round table where we would intentionally come together and debate that weekend's message or any other topics that came up. It was a perfect example of that verse, and was the best example of a positive use of my "skills". Being about to give an account for the joy you have, and for what you believe and why, all while speaking the truth in love-truly iron sharpening iron- is a beautiful sight to behold, and an amazing experience to be part of. But the difference is that everyone came to that table knowing that was the intention of that meeting, and we all had the same goal in mind. We all were better for it after each discussion, and our friendships and respect for each other's Godly counsel deepened quickly. While I yearn for something like that again, I know with certainty that the newcomers' class is not that place :-).
So, I hope that helps to clear things up...not that any of you out there probably thought there was anything needing to be cleared up. But I did. I didn't ever want to imply the issue at hand was anyone's problem but mine, and that because of my natural tendency to debate everything and, of course, to be on the winning side of that debate. But God was gracious that when I confessed my struggle it actually got easier to bear (duh!), and reminded me that it's in the struggle that the refinement happens, so I'm just going to hypomone- my favorite Greek word- until then.