Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a doubled minded man, unstable in all he does. – James 1:2-8 (NIV
During the season of Lent I followed morning readings of short sentences that challenged the reader to acknowledge and consider surrendering things (behaviors, attitudes, actions, etc.) that hindered one from living with grace in their life.
It seemed that each day, the reading was targeted at an area of something in my life that I had been holding. Each day learned to release a little more. Still I felt empty. I couldn’t hear Grace whispering.
During this same time, I was doing a required Stephen Ministry reading in the book “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas. The book unfolds nine distinct spiritual temperaments…Naturalists, loving God outdoors; Sensates, loving God with the senses; Traditionalists, loving God through ritual and symbol; Ascetics, loving God in solitude and simplicity; Activists, loving God through confrontation; Caregivers, loving God by loving and caring for others; Enthusiasts, loving God with mystery and celebration; Contemplative, loving God through adoration; and Intellectuals, loving God with the mind, digging deeper into scripture, asking questions.
There is a series of questions at the end of each chapter that scores ones strength in each area.
I learned that I have some of all the temperaments, the strongest being Caregiver. I was surprised that the next strongest temperament is Intellectual.
As I sat quietly meditating and praying this morning, I thought “no way” am I an intellectual. But as I reflected back over the past several months of not teaching or participating in a group study, I had to admit I was happiest when I was doing in-depth studying as I prepared lessons. I knew right away that I needed to get back deeper into the Word. I admitted my lackadaisical approach to study since the first of the year. And Grace whispered “read James.” I balked, “are you sure?” Again I heard in the recesses of my heart and mind, “read James.”
I should have read those scriptures several weeks ago. The sadness, hurts and frustrations would have been easier had I heeded the Word. I could have said, “What trials and temptations?!”
Heavenly Father, I have to admit that I don’t find it pure joy when faced with trials. But Father God, I thank you that I am able to persevere through the trials and that you will give wisdom to overcome those trials. In Christ’s name – amen.