My weaknesses are many, and I’m still a Work-In-Progress, but my main weaknesses, I think, are (1) catastrophic thinking, (2) a critical spirit, and (3) a flawed delivery system.
Catastrophic Thinking. I grew up in a sailing family where I learned to anticipate trouble (fog or squall or rocks or collisions or whatever) and to call this “Good Seamanship.” As I worked with my sponsor in recovery, I learned that its real name was “Projection.” Practically everything I shared with my sponsor back in 1990 elicited the reply, “Don’t project.” What I had thought an asset was a defect!
Today, I seek to discern more wisely: Is this X, Y, or Z scaring me or discouraging me or overwhelming me in any way? If so, it is a negative thing and therefore in the category called “Projection” which I am to recognize and rebuke. Planning, on the other hand, is a positive thing and therefore in the category called “Good Stewardship.” I find it amusing how close that sounds to “Good Seamanship.”
A Critical Spirit. Jeremiah and Isaiah (and all the prophets for that matter) remind me that “Love and Let Live” sometimes causes enmity with the world and its ways. As I began working the Twelve Steps, I was led into Scripture, which opened the eyes of my heart. I had not previously realized that God actually does have a point of view, or that I can know it. I thought that presumptuous: who was I to think I could know the Will of God? But I found that God is not playing Hide-and-Seek. Now I have a plumb line I can use to discern the Best Way(s) to go in my little life, and when I use it, the results are amazing.
Mine is to share this Good News with others, but only as the Lord allows. Even then, many will not agree that God means it when He says, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.” I find these guidelines are helpful:
Love and Let Live.
Take what you like, and leave the rest.
I believe God’s people are to be Salt and Light on earth, speaking Truth in Love as the Lord allows. This can sound unkind (aka judgmental) to unbelievers. Good judgment has been over-ruled by many, though a main message of Jesus is to love the sinner, but hate the sin. Recovery speaks the same way, urging us to love the alcoholic, but hate the alcoholism.
I seek to speak in Love as the Lord allows. Otherwise, my rigorous honesty can sound unloving, harsh, critical, or even mean. Soaked in Love, however, it’s like being a Godly friend: one who stabs you in the front while others are stabbing you in the back.
A Flawed Delivery System. I am seeking to simply “say and walk away,” though I do not do this perfectly. Recovery and the Bible both assure me that I am a Work-In-Progress and will be the whole way through. God loves me and is eager to help as I stumble and make mistakes. He loves me still, and all who seek to find and follow Him in the Best Ways to go. I seek to live relationally with others, pointing to God and praying, pretty much period. My delivery system is flawed, I admit, but I’m working on it with God’s help.
What about you? What are you discerning as character defects and flaws? For me, they are seeming more like opportunities for growth than weaknesses that are hopeless. And so, as unpopular as this idea is lately, I am seeking to use ”Good Judgment” in my life. Maybe I’ll start thinking of it as “Good Seamanship” instead!
Chime in if you care to share. FYI, this image was posted on Twitter by LS ASSOC Angel.