I am seeing a side to myself which I had always thought was a good thing but now, because of God’s mercy, I realize it is an immature place in me and has need of trasformation.  You see I tend to be an idealist.  Even my Myers-Briggs personality profile would be labeled “idealist” which on a good side is described as creative, imaginative, insightful, subjective, and sympathetic.  On the other side (my less mature side, shall we say) “idealists” can become easily annoyed and quick to show their displeasure, unable, in other words, to put their feelings on hold.  The twin of that inability is the devotedness to an ideal way of life – the propensity to be somewhat dogmatic.

While I’d love to go back to the former list of my charming qualities, I realize that the latter list is where God is pointing His finger, looking at me intently and waiting for me to come and work through it with Him.  AND, much to my discomfort, He is not doing this in the quiet recesses of my mind and heart, but in the great populated plaza called Community.  This is no simple “come let us reason together” and change my mind, but rather a “do what I ask and obey” even when my personality is in opposition.

Bonhoeffer writes:

The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves. By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world …”

Lord, thank You for not allowing me to live in a dream world (no matter how painful it is to me).

Jean Vanier writes:

We shouldn’t seek the ideal community.  It is a question of loving those whom God has set beside us today.

Lord, enable me to look away from the “ideal” and see my brother and sister next to me.

Jesus says:

My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.

Lord, though my flesh feels unable to put my feelings on hold, You call me to live by love.  And not just an idea of love, but the love You have already shown and put into action.

So here I am.  Though I’ll always be an “idealist”, my ideals need some maturity, some tempering, some transformation.  And the crucible of that transformation just happens to be community.