Can someone completely know themselves? I was asked that awhile back. Despite years of personal introspection, I had to say no. You can have a good enough grasp to know how you’ll act or react, but can’t completely know.
In Discovering You, I wrote about the self-discovery process I used to find out what makes someone tick, namely me. Personality tests, questionnaires, brutally honest friends putting up with my questions, and books; we love to take tests to see who we are or who we’re like. To prove my point, I’ll just type two words: Facebook quizzes.
I know how my mind works, how it processes the world, a basic idea of which script I am on (see ConCom), how I was designed, and an idea of the purpose I serve. I know how I’m perceived and how my writing is usually seen. I’m pretty confident in it all.
Except I was confident before.
Trauma and tragedy have a way of kicking over our apple carts and smashing them into dirty applesauce. That’s what happened to me after my godson. I retreated back into my head. Life’s experiences are what teaches us what we’ll do and trains us to overcome it. Experience is better than a book in teaching; the book helps us to conceptualize and understand it in application.
Romans 5:3-5 goes into the process of it. Suffering hurts, but we press forward. That builds inner strength and perseverance. From that our characters are forged even more, some of the rough edges knocked off or polished up even more. The forward process gives us hope, or it should. Unless you’re in the same spot exactly, you’re moving forward.
James 1:2-4 shows the importance of it. Trials are the testing of our faith, which develops our perseverance, and that makes us mature and complete. If we continue forward without our hearts becoming bitter, and more experienced, then that’s growth. We know the fields we’ve walked through and can successfully face the same trials and setbacks as before. It’ll hurt, though; I revisited my greatest trial and it threw me for a loop for days. I’ll get into that next week.
For now, I’ll sum it up like this. We have an idea of how we’ll act; life is what shows us if that’s true. It teaches us and sometimes the lessons are so very hard. We can come out of it broken, but better, experienced, and more mature. There is light at the end of the tunnel.