By Kimberly Bloom, Character Strength Department Editor
Character is a big word challenging us toward significance in heart, purpose and commitment. It dares us to look deeper into our mirrored reflection. Sometimes we avoid the word, because we don’t want to work at being the best we can be. When we do that, character qualities are suppressed and don’t get to grow. However, when we pursue after these qualities, over time and with effort, we discover they are God’s gift to equip us and to be used to help others.
Professionally, I’ve worked with children for years as an Early Childhood Specialist. A popular traditional children’s hymn that I often sing with them is titled, “This Little Light of Mine”. One of the verses goes like this:
Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna’ let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna’ let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Professionally, I’ve worked with children for years. A popular traditional children’s hymn that I often sing with them is titled, “This Little Light of Mine”.
Too often we hide our character “under a bushel”. Character is honesty, compassion, gentleness, courage, selflessness, respect, consideration, responsibility, helpfulness, cooperation, thankfulness, and love. These are just a few and they are the first things people see in us.
To really get into character we can’t just look the part and play the part we have to BE the part. For character – your character to be a driving force you have to mature beyond resistance and training and become the example. The first step is to learn how to overcome obstacles that “hide your light”. The second step is to persevere – and then keep on persevering.
Take me for example, since 2001 one of the ways I’ve responded to stressful events is by allowing my weight to skyrocket out of control. I’ve never been a couch potato. I’m actually quite an active person hiking, gardening, and doing other physical task. Yet my weight continually moved up the scale instead of down. It didn’t matter what I tried; starving myself all day, taking diet pills and even ‘thinking me thin’ only caused my weight to fluctuate and go up.
I’m actually quite an active person hiking, gardening, and doing other physical task.
In 2003 my husband began a God ordained and Godly-focused ministry, Lifestyle Media Group with the flagship brand Faith & Fitness Magazine. Though I did my best to be a helper in this ministry, I felt I should only work behind the scenes. I did not want to be an embarrassment to the publication. So I didn’t go to Faith & Fitness Magazine events or travel with my husband for speaking or marketing occasions. My husband wants my participation but never complains.
Over time, I found myself resentful of our ministry and hated what had become of my body. More so, I was devastated how I had let God down through lost opportunities to minister to others. You see, I had been hiding my light under a bushel. I covered up the character traits God intended me to use. I under used hospitality, helping, caring, organizing, giving, self-control, perseverance, kindness and many more. All of these character qualities that I was designed to display were hidden under my own bushel. I created a canyon between my personal life, family, career and our ministry work. In 2015, thirteen years later, I finally faced some facts. I decided this vast canyon had to be closed and the only way that is to be done is to come to terms with my own behavior and lack of character.
So I am on an intimate journey – A spirit, soul and body journey. The first order of business for me was opening myself up to accountability beyond family members. To do that, I accepted a challenge from KK Wellness Consulting. I took pictures of how I really looked in a sports top and shorts and posted on a private facebook page for the challenge. Next, it was time to go grocery shopping to get the food that would fuel my body. I was given a guide to follow and a coach to encourage and erase my old ways of doing things. All this helped me to proceed forward physically.
With God’s help, changes to my body will occur, confidence will build to use my gifting and I will help grow the ministry God has given my husband and me.
It was also time to address my inner needs and discover what my soul was lacking. It was time to search my character and take a stand, have self-control, perseverance, and patients. I realized I had to respect my heart that carries the love for my Savior, Jesus Christ. If I was to have the body, soul, and spirit that Christ could use for His service, I had to come to terms with emotional eating, stressors and surrendering my excuses for putting off my journey. This included releasing anger, resentment, self-doubt and the busyness of life. I had to get rid of the fear that I would let my husband and others down, a fear that I’m not good enough.
This is where God steps in to shore up my spirit. Sure, He is my strength but, this is where my journey gets real. I ask for forgiveness, I seek to be restored, I seek wisdom, and I pray to have the character strength to persevere, have self-control and overcome obesity. In the moments when I wake I look out my window and give the day to Christ. I pause to reflect upon God and His love for me before workouts. I earnestly bless the good food that I have the ability to put into my body. When temptation raises it’s ugly head, I remind myself what God intends for me. It is up to me to ask and receive.
I’m several weeks into my journey of strengthening my character. With God’s help, changes to my body will occur, confidence will build to use my gifting and I will help grow the ministry God has given my husband and me. The journey isn’t easy. Every moment I consciously submit my flesh and will to Christ. When I do, I’m reminded that I’m part of God’s family. I’m His daughter, selected for service to be love and hope to others.