One of my greatest blessings, as well as one of the most humbling and difficult things I continue to be a part of, is the sharpening of my character. This has happened between God and me through a variety of revelations during devotion and listening to God. BUT more often than not, God uses others to reveal some of my character flaws. I’ve been in public and gotten caught up in the rantings of the masses and then been embarrassed about my behavior.Don’t get me started on how I’ve lost my senses while watching my students play sports at the various schools where I’ve worked. It got to where I would bring a book to read so that I could stay distracted enough to not make a fool of myself. I will admit to being threatened with being kicked out of a particular basketball game when I lived in Georgia; definitely not my proudest moment.

I can also see how instrumental my family was in helping to shape me to be more like Jesus. I especially recognized this when I lived with my mom as a 40+ year old woman right after my dad passed away. I have a lot of my dad’s pride and determination in me so I think very highly of my ideas and my own ways of doing things. My mom and I have decided that we don’t like the way each other drives. Which is fine, but early on I was very critical of the way she drove and got so annoyed. But throughout my journey, God allowed me to relax and allow her to be herself and not try to turn her into who I want her to be; whether that’s her driving, her humor or how she runs her household.The joy of arguing and going through these growing pains with someone who truly loves you is that you can be upset and even be a jerk, but you know that love you have for each other will see you to a resolution. Luckily enough, she and I have enough humility and malleability that even in the middle of an argument we could recognize and confess our pride and wrong-doing. I remember one time mom had aggressively asked me why I had done or thought something and I just hollered back, “Because I’m prideful and think my ways are the best ways!” Afterwards, we both kind of smiled and chuckled and thus began the process of reconciliation.

Not long after my dad passed away, I prayerfully chose to move to North Carolina to live near my brother, his wife and their 4 children. That was one of my most favorite times for multiple reasons. One, I got to know and build relationships with my nieces and nephews. Nothing beats days upon days of quality time with those precious kiddos. Another was being able to be around and have fun with my brother and sister-in-law through all the ups and downs of life. But another reason I’m thankful for that time is, honestly, the sharpening of my character that happened in those 3 years. I was kind of a live-in nanny for the family in that I helped take care of the kids, shopped, made dinners, and even helped a lot with home schooling during the Covid years.There were a lot of times when I was watching the kids as the “parental” figure and we would be doing homework or chores or just doing our thing and those kids knew how to push my buttons. The more dramatic and obstinate they got, the worse my character and temper got. I did quite a few things I’m not proud of, apologized a LOT, but always looked for ways to be better. I would even tell them God was using them to sharpen me and strengthen my character. I chose to be honest and vulnerable with them. And, Praise the Lord, they started to see a difference in me. It’s now been just under 2 years since I moved out and when we talk about those days, they will thankfully recognize the changes that God was able to make in me.

So whether it’s your family, spouse, good friends, or even little ones, we can sharpen each other. When we speak in love, choose to be honest with each other, and when we’re open to change, God can use us to change and shape each other. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)

Someone who allowed circumstances to sharpen his character is Joseph. Check out this video to look at lessons from the life of Joseph.

7 Days of Hope 7 day devotional

Get Your FREE 7 Day Devotional

Join the JFH Newsletter and receive 7 Days of Hope

 

You’re almost done! You’ve just been sent an email that contains a confirmation link. Once you have, you will be provided a link to download your free devotional. Thank you for subscribing!