I like lists; I make them. I like goals; I sometimes set them. I also like transformation, and today it dawned on me what I really want more than visible abs, or the perfect job or romance. Don’t get me wrong, I do want those things; I just discovered the thing I want more which is a change in my inner disposition. I want to be recognized differently that’s all.
I’ll be honest, I don’t outright want to be somebody who is stronger or a better leader or exudes confidence although those things would also be nice but they aren’t preeminently my desire. Mostly because I think there are enough of those types that get exalted.
What I want for myself is gentleness. Maybe your underwhelmed by that thought and if you are, I’m okay because I’m overwhelmed by my often, utter lack. I had a friend tell me back in 2007 over the phone, “I like Jimmy so much better when he is gentle.” After that phone call I wept for 30 minutes.
Because I knew what she meant and felt completely helpless when it came to turning on that part of me. That part of me was the core that made up 5-year old me who never felt out of place anywhere, was curious about everyone and everything in a sincere way. I never felt the need to prove myself or defend myself then.
I wasn’t self-conscious about who I was or what I should say to someone and didn’t seem to be concerned about offending anyone because I never intended to. If you know me at all, as much as I would like to, I do not give off a first, second, third or even 4th impression of gentleness. My gentleness is often hidden primarily because it’s afraid of getting hurt.
Can I give you a brief definition of gentleness? Gentleness is the sense of being truly fair by relaxing overly strict standards. Gentleness fails to get close to extreme. There is scripture in Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” The word evident means to know through personal experience.
What I love about the concept of gentleness is a gentle person might suffer rejection or pain or wrong and they rightly displace the desire to lash out at a person and in some worse cases themselves. For me I am guilty of both too often. If ever you have known me to lash out, the beating I give myself is often worse. Which is why in the New Year this is so important to me, if my gentleness is not evident to myself how in the world will it be evident to all.
May I search this identity of mine that God has given me and find contentment and delight that I am His and fully loved by him. May I live in that reality and awareness and let go of every burden, rejection, and pain of 2016 and the years prior. May I recognize healing of wounds strengths of character. And may you find hope in these things as well and hopefully may you reap some benefit of some gentleness in me.