Something that has been on my mind a lot, in the last year or so, has been character. I keep joking with my friends that I’m 46 now, and by the time I’m 50 I’m planning on having that perfect character I’ve always hoped for. Four years—that should do it.
It’s a joke. You know I’m joking?
I have found hope in the gospel, though, that the longer we know Christ the more our character grows. In fact, the other day I had the opportunity to spill the beans about something confidential, and I didn’t. I kept my mouth shut. See how Christ is making me a better person?
We’re never too old to mature in character.
I came across a powerful blog post recently that had to do with selfishness, and I know this can be a place where I often still lack character. If you have time, I hope you’ll go read Rebecca VanDoodewaard’s post on The Christian Pundit. Rebecca wrote about “gentle selfishness,” describing ways we are selfish that we don’t usually think about. It hurt to read her list, like when you have a rock in your shoe and every step is painful.
There were three items on her list that I knew I especially needed to work on, so I thought I would rewrite them in a positive way and try to be more mindful of them during the day. Maybe one of them would be good for you to think about?
Three Practical Ways to Develop a Selfless Character
Really listen when someone is talking to you. I’m sure I’ll be working on this one until my dyin’ day.
Always be on time or a little early. I always try to race the clock to get one more thing done, which I thought was a sign of a great work ethic. But it’s selfish for me to think only of my own tasks and not the rudeness of being tardy or how my rushing in at the last minute affects other people.
Answer thoughtfully and graciously when someone asks how you’re doing. You should read what Rebecca said about how we should respond to the question, “How Are you?” I’m going to work on giving a selfless answer to that question and then hopefully take this lesson into my classroom this fall. Students almost always say, “I’m tired” when I ask how they’re doing. Do any of us realize that’s a selfish answer?
EPILOGUE: You guys will not believe what just happened. I was standing in the kitchen working on this very blog post, when my husband came in unexpectedly.
“What are you doing home?” I asked.
“I’ve come for a late lunch,” he said.
My first thought? Oh great, I’m right in the middle of trying to write a blog post.
One of us has 16,000,000 miles to go in having a selfless character, and that would be me.
But hey, I swallowed my inner complaint, stepped away from the computer, and heated the guy some lunch. One giant step for mankind right there.
So which item from the above list (or from Rebecca’s complete list) do you know you need to work on?