It’s taken me a while to pluck up the courage to write this blog post. It’s not that I have anything particularly shocking to say, it’s just…well it’s been quite a while since I last wrote and it’s kind of hard to get back in the saddle. I’ve written posts in my head a hundred times and then second guessed myself and thought better of it. I see the outcome of my words and dwell on how they will be received.
My problem is largely perfectionism. A fear of getting something wrong. A fear of offending. A fear of letting my family down.
I think, to an extent I was born this way, but perhaps there was some nurturing involved in the formation of my fears? I see perfectionism in Elizabeth and Jonathan, who are both, in many ways, quite like me. It’s strange seeing aspects of my own personality from the other side.
I see perfectionism can lead to procrastination and can be something of a disability. The reality is that nothing will be perfect this side of Heaven and trying to create perfection will only lead to frustration or pride.
So, instead of perfection, I will have to satisfy myself with good enough. By the Grace of God I pray that something I say will be of use to someone.
I’ve been learning a lot about personalities recently. I have a great interest in the workings of the human mind, what makes us tick. Each of us are unique, but within a family we see overlaps in personality and understanding a little more about why we think or behave the way we do helps us to be the best version of ourselves.
It is my aim to honour God in my thinking and not to overly secularise this topic. God has created each of us and I see that for every weakness there is a strength. For example, Jonathan is a very skilled craftsman and makes beautiful things, but oh my, he is slow. He’ll get the job done, but timing isn’t his specialist subject. Christopher, on the other hand, will have a job done before you’ve even thought of it! It won’t be perfect, but it will be done. The amazing thing is when these two young men work together. The job gets done with efficiency and beauty.
I’ve learnt that I’m a highly sensitive INFP. For those who need that translated, it means I’m an introverted mediator, sensitive to bright lights, sounds and emotional stimuli. I feel all of these things on a deeper level than most people, apparently 20% of people are made this way. Without thinking about I’ve learnt to deal with this by, among other things, having dimmer switches on all our lights, avoiding using the bathroom fan and opening the window instead and avoiding background music. I can’t eliminate all stressful noises (I have ten children😜) but I can recharge regularly by sneeking off for 5 minutes alone. I’ve found having emotional teenagers to be really draining, as I absorb all their feelings, but knowledge is power and so I’m learning to set boundaries to help them and preserve my sanity.
The flip side to this is that I’m deeply empathetic. For example, during the lockdowns, when everyone was clapping on doorsteps and baking banana bread, I was churning inside, thinking about children living with abusive parents, unable to escape. I prayed for children with alcoholic parents, children who took responsibility for caring for their siblings in the absence of parents who had to work.
Carrying around so many feelings is often exhausting and yet it means I have to draw so close to God, to hand over everything that weighs me down, to trust that he watches over everyone and he hears my prayers.
But God created us to be part of a body and no one part is better than the other, we need each other in order to thrive.
In our marriage I see that Phil is a doer, not a feeler and I’m so grateful for this. Whilst I’m busy dwelling on the problems of the world, he’s busy fixing them. I share my concerns with him and he’s the first to ask what can be done. When I had the vision of living on this smallholding, Phil was busy working out the finances and practicalities.
Recently Phil has been laying cables ready to install some solar panels, enabling us to rely less on the grid and preparing our family for the days ahead.
Marriage and family can be a beautiful picture of God’s body, the key is perspective. We need to look at situations from a distance, see the bigger picture and in everything give thanks.
I’m still working on this…I’ll let you know how it goes.
What about you? Have you done a Myers Briggs personality test, this one is free https://www.16personalities.com/?
Are any of you highly sensitive? Here’s a test https://hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/
I’d love to hear from you if any of this resonates with you.
Sending blessings to you all, Vicki