That’s Just How I Am

Nod your head if you’ve ever heard someone say something like this to you in reference to some way they’ve let you or someone else down: “I can’t help it. That’s just how I am.”

Now nod your head if you’ve ever said that yourself. (I’m nodding.)

The problem is, that sentiment is completely untrue. You can help it probably more than you think.

Sometime in my early teens I was blessed with some friends who loved me enough to tell me when I was wrong. During this time, I went to a private Christian school and was an overachiever to the max (as were all my friends), so breaks were reserved for homework, lunchtimes were obviously meant for meetings with teachers or ASB members, and after school was either meant for sports or homework. End of story. So when one of my (still) best friends wanted to find a time to confront me about something, she had to be determined and creative.

Luckily, she possessed both of those characteristics, in addition to guts. She spoke with our teacher just before class and got his permission to let us step out for a few moments to have an important conversation. You can imagine how surprised I was. She sat me down at a picnic table outside and confronted me on something that I had excused under the “that’s just my personality” category.

There she was, pointing out my blind spot. Exposing my weakness. Shining light on what was actually my sin. And it SUCKED. My pride was being challenged, and how I chose to respond would either propel me into being more of who God created me to be, or keep me stuck in my unwholeness and pride.

Thankfully, I chose the first option. Through that particular circumstance and others similar to it, I learned two things that ultimately changed my life for the better: 1. I’m not perfect, and I need to get over it; 2. Accepting constructive criticism from those I trust will ultimately make me better and stronger.

Fifteen years later, I’m still learning this, still trying to accept it, still suffering through the bitter taste of being humbled. But I never regret it.

Here’s the gist: Just because it’s “how we are” doesn’t mean it’s okay. Our personalities may lend themselves naturally to certain strengths and weaknesses, but it doesn’t excuse us from the responsibility of strengthening those weaknesses. Why is that important? Because a kinder, more gracious, more loving, more secure, more thoughtful, stronger, more compassionate, smarter, wiser me benefits not only me, but also those around me, and honors the Lord.

I would suggest that insisting on a “that’s just how I am” mentality is doing some of us more harm than good. It’s stunting our growth and certainly giving the enemy a foothold in our lives.

Here’s what I recommend (and what I try to do myself): Ask yourself what weak spots you know of that you’ve been excusing under the “that’s just how I am” category, and admit that God created to you to be something far better than that. Ask a trusted friend to help you in your growth process. If a friend has tried to point something out that they think is hindering your life but you’ve had a stubborn streak, do the right thing and humble yourself, ask for forgiveness, and get to work. Lastly, ask a friend to shed some light on a blind spot in your life. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through them, and commit to overcoming your weakness.

With Christ as our example, the Word and the Holy Spirit as our guide, a little (or lot) of humility, and some accountability and loving perspective, we don’t have to be bound to our weaknesses.

Photo via

About Lyndsay Wilkin

Lyndsay Wilkin, an editor for On the Willows, lives in Northern California with her husband, Wyley, and their two kiddos, Harrison and Clara, and their adorable lemon beagle, Indiana (Indie). She received her BA in International Government and hopes to further her education somewhere down the line. In the meantime, she holds the office of "Mommy" and works part-time for Visiting Angels Home Care Services, helping families find caregivers for their loved ones as an alternative to placing them in nursing homes. For fun, she does a little acting on the side and enjoys writing fiction and reading LOTS of books. She loves movies, history, politics, traveling, and volleyball. As a blogger, she's all about big picture topics, especially when it comes to having a biblical worldview in today's Western culture. As a friend, Lynds is absolutely loyal and thoughtful and she would do anything for her friends. “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:3
This entry was posted in Adversity, Relationships, Self Esteem. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to That’s Just How I Am

  1. Victoria says:

    Hi Lyndsay – Loved this! Thanks for sharing it – so much wisdom is shared by people every day. If only I could hang on to it for a day, much less a week or more. Have a great day,


  2. Paula W. says:

    Great Post! I will try to keep this in mind… definitely hard to accept that kind of feedback sometimes… but it is so good for our souls. I am trying to get better and better at this and am grateful that Jesus does not give up on me when I am in progress. We are lucky He has given us loved ones who will call us on our *dog-poopoo*
    – Love You!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *