Becoming Enough

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Every organization has its dominant personalities. Some people simply have a need to control, whether it's the direction of conversations, projects, or entire organizations. Often, these are people with well-above-average skills and intelligence, so they have a fair amount to contribute that is valuable. Their minds work like lasers, cutting through vast amounts of material in a single swipe. While others may be stuck cogitating in a cul de sac of minutia, bright dominants can be the ones who create new paths forward.

It can be frustrating to be around co-workers on the extreme side of dominance. They tend to control their image at all costs and continually offer up whatever they've accomplished for display. They also tend to take up a great deal of emotional space, leaving others with precious little. Having worked with plenty of extreme dominants, I'm also familiar with the feeling of loss: loss of voice, loss of confidence, loss of self. It's as if big chunks fall away - sort of like an iceberg, sheering off its edges as the heat rises.

Of course, we have choices as to how we respond to dysfunction. My choice to feel bad about myself could be countered with another choice: I could recognize the person's over-the-top behavior for what it is and refuse to go to give myself over to self-pity and self-doubt.

Over-the-top dominants can be male or female. Yet, whether by nature, nurture, or both, women tend to be the more deferring and conciliatory gender. And as good as that sounds, a pattern of repeat disappearance in life - silencing one's voice, burying one's gifts, and obliterating one's opinions in order to avoid conflict - robs ourselves and others of what God crafted in us: a miraculous and unique self. Is this not at least part of the message of Psalm 139:13-16?

You made my whole being:

You formed me in my mother's body.

I praise you because you made me

In an amazing and wonderful way.

What you have done is wonderful.

I know this very well.

You saw my bones being formed

As I took shape in my mother's body.

When I was put together there,

You saw my body as it was formed.

All the days planned for me

Were written in your book

Before I was one day old. (NCV)

It is not easy to for any of God's children to live out God's unique calling; to say yes to God's sovereign crafting. Especially if we are dealing with dominant personalities who, for whatever reason, believe God created them as the model for all others - i.e., they are the ultimate expressions of God's creativity.

September 22, 2007 at 9:52 AM

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