Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Moses and The Worrier Pattern

In the Book of Exodus, God asks Moses to meet with Pharaoh and demand that the Hebrew slaves be set free.

And Moses’ reply? He exclaims, “But I’m not the person for a job like that!” (Ex 3:11).

God makes several more requests, and Moses responds:
O Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me. 
I have a speech impediment. 
Lord, please! Send someone else
But look, my own people won’t even listen to me anymore; how can I expect Pharaoh to? I’m no orator!

Many people think of Moses as one of the strongest personalities in the Bible. But when God initially approaches him, Moses responds in the Worrier pattern: “I can’t do it and that’s that.” Ultimately, though, Moses’ meekness becomes the fulcrum for an eventual wholeness and friendship with God.

Like other people stuck on the Weakness compass point, Moses is plagued with self-doubt about his identity. An abandoned Hebrew child who grows up in Pharaoh’s palace, he never truly fits in. He wonders if he is Egyptian royalty or a Hebrew slave. He ends up ill-at-ease around everybody, as is typical of the Worrier. One day a crisis develops when he observes an Egyptian guard beating an Israelite mud worker. Moses’ repressed feelings erupt and he murders the guard, burying the body in the sand. When Pharaoh hears about it, he seeks to kill Moses.

Moses avoids his social troubles as Worriers do—he withdraws to Midian, a desert wilderness where he lives for forty years. He names a son Gershom, meaning “foreigner,” for Moses says, “I am a stranger in a foreign land” (Ex 2:22 TLB). 

The Self Compass and the Worrier Pattern

The Worrier pattern cuts you off from the Strength compass point. You shrink from the risks required for an actualizing personality in Christ. Disconnected from the Assertion compass point, you avoid standing up for yourself. Not exercising the Love compass point, you become incapable of giving and receiving trust and affection. You end up feeling all alone.

Leveraged out on the Weakness compass point, the Worrier withdraws from social situations, yet longs to participate in life. You lose the virtue of healthy weakness—its humility and empathy—and instead become helpless and held back by procrastination. “I’ll do it someday.” But that someday never comes.

God knew Moses’ potential for personality wholeness. After appearing to him in the burning bush, the Lord led him on a journey to make real his potential. Moses did not come around easily, but he cooperated enough to face his Worrier pattern.

Moses kept talking to God. Though he dragged his feet and complained a fair amount, Moses followed God’s directives. The result? Moses underwent a gradual but effective personality transformation.

Exodus describes how Moses confronted Pharaoh (Assertion compass point), encouraged people to trust in God (Love compass point), led the Israelites through the Red Sea (Strength compass point), and on Mount Sinai humbly received the Ten Commandments (Weakness compass point).

Slowly, Moses developed into a humbly competent leader, with great compassion for the people he led.

For more on how to do outgrow the Avoidant Worrier personality pattern like Moses did, read:

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