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Dear 28 year old Laura,

You’ve been thinking a lot lately about your personality. How you sometimes love it- like when you are studying or when you are in a productive discussion… And how you sometimes hate it- like when you realize you’ve offended people or feel rejected. You sometimes want to embrace your instinct to get into ‘debates’… and other times you wish you could just stuff it and get a temperament transplant.

Your personality, like all personalities, has it’s strengths and weaknesses. You, in your motivation to ‘get it right’, often hope that you will finally ‘arrive’- that you will never again come across as arrogant, you will cease to be misunderstood by anyone, and that you will get complete control of your pride and need to be right. Can I just say- Get over yourself. The Kingdom of God does not depend on your ‘perfect’ image or actions or everyone liking and understanding you. God isn’t waiting till you ‘get it right’ to use you. You should probably stop trying so hard to be perfect… at least in the way YOU think of perfect. Expect to need grace… expect to need grace for your failures, and for your successes. There you will find yourself a lot more at peace in Jesus… and a lot more reflective of Him.

Here is an approach- when you study, when you listen, when you talk- EXPECT to learn something before you expect to teach. It’s called humility. Humility doesn’t shun weakness. It recognizes it. It accepts it. It allows it to mature us.

Consider this as well- you won’t- you can’t- please everyone all the time. That is clear to you even now. But at least try to understand them. People are complicated. Most of the time, they aren’t just trying to be disagreeable for the fun of it. There are reasons you might rub them the wrong way- some of those reasons are in them, and some are in you. Do your best to be understanding. No good comes from just writing people off.

Lastly, my dear, stop wishing for a personality transplant. No good will come from insulting the gifts God gave you. Don’t fight your personality… but allow Jesus to shape it and refine it and empower it with His Spirit. Your gifts are a very specific instrument and He wants to partner with you in using that instrument for the good of His Kingdom. Embrace His call on your life. Let Jesus define you- not your fears about people not liking you, and not your failures or fears of failures. Because guess what- failures will happen… and if you let Him, He will take you through a painful process and turn them into something beautiful. It doesn’t take you getting it all ‘right’ for Him to bring beauty. Rest in that.

No, really, girl- rest. Like, learn to take a nap.

From an older, wiser, more wrinkly you,
78 year old Laura