Monday, July 6, 2015

Taming the Type A

It's a safe assumption that St. Paul was a Type A personality. Jesus chose him and enrolled him in Kingdom work. 

Could anyone have a stronger sense of mission and empowerment? 

Yet Paul maintained a humble spirit...

I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.

It's a lesson about persistent and unanswered prayer that he famously shares at the beginning of 2nd Corinthians, chapter twelve:

But he (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Last week I read a contemporary expression of this in The Upper Room Disciplines. The devotional wasn't written by a clergy person, rather by a lawyer, an Assistant Attorney General in Alabama, Margaret Fleming.

She describes her prayer life as a time for vulnerability and surrender "where I find my connection to a strength that is humble, gentle and yielding." Do you see that? Yet another paradox of faith where humility, gentleness and yielding are divine strengths.

I have fashioned some of Attorney Fleming's devotion into a prayer. (I hope she takes this as a compliment, not piracy.)

Sovereign God, 
I acknowledge your claim on my life, private and public.

Holy Spirit, 
Assist my surrender,
To One whose will is superior to mine,
To One whose strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Give me...
A humble attitude
That takes no offense at others' insults.
A flexible frame of mind
Capable of bending to others' points of view.
A good heart
That takes no note of others' wrongs.
An open schedule
That can accommodate others' needs.

Lord Christ,
Screen my priorities,
Clear the clutter,
Open my heart (and calendar),
To a better way,
To your way. Amen.

Graphic credit