Updated: May 29, 2020
"I see now that to live for God, whether one is allowed ability to be actively useful or not, is a great thing, and that it is a wonderful mercy to be allowed even to suffer, if thereby one can glorify Him." -Elizabeth Prentiss
Have you ever taken a personality test?
Several months ago, I took a test called the Enneagram. I found out that I am a "3" on the testing scale, also known as "An Achiever." As I looked over the results, I was actually a little shocked. Basically, a "3" is a person who becomes extremely depressed if they feel like they aren't succeeding in life. They are very goal-oriented, enjoy improving themselves, and tend to be very driven people. Their biggest fear is feeling insignificant or worthless.
The funny thing is, when I took this test, I was at the crux of feeling worthless, unheard, purposeless, and insignificant. Nothing in my life was succeeding. My career was awful, and I felt stuck. My schooling felt like a waste of time, energy, and money, because I had no clue what I wanted to do. My marriage was at a very low point, which made me feel unheard and misunderstood. My mental health was also at a low point. This resulted in anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. On top of this, I had daily headaches that often turned into migraines. All of these things were causing me to feel like I was failing. In my mind, I was doing the opposite of achieving, and I felt completely hopeless.
I remember questioning God. "God, if You created me to be an achiever, then why am I not achieving anything?" At the time, I just couldn't fathom why God would allow me to fail in every aspect of my life when He created me as someone who is driven by growth.
But now, I understand one thing:
I was growing. I just couldn't see it at the time.
God was using these hard situations in my life to grow me spiritually and mentally. Although, at the time, I felt like a stagnant failure, I wasn't actually failing at all. I was building endurance.
Romans 5:3-4 "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
Through all the suffering I went through, I grew more patient and more thankful than I ever had been before. For example, I now:
- complain less about small things.
- am much better at picking battles, because I don't want to fight with my husband about insignificant matters.
- spend longer periods of time serving others.
- am more thankful for the time that I do have to myself, rather than dwelling on the time I don't have.
- am a happier person.
This being said, I am definitely not perfect. Many of these things I've listed I still struggle with (especially the one about serving others!). But I know that if I hadn't gone through such a low point in my life, I would still be a spoiled, selfish person who is unable to serve others at all. So, honestly, I am glorying in my sufferings as Paul states in Romans, because I can see how much good has happened through everything I went through.
Help me to remember how good You are, even when I don't understand Your plan. Thank You for helping me through the hard times, so that I can build endurance and grow into a better person.
In Jesus's name,