We all have specific areas in which we struggle with frustration. One of mine happens to be when I’m running late, especially being late to church. I don’t know what it is, but I quickly become a grouch on Sunday mornings if I fear we are running late. A couple of Sundays ago I was determined to be in my seat before the service started. Taking all necessary steps to ensure success, I set my alarm earlier than normal so that I would be showered, dressed, and have breakfast on plates by the time the children woke up. Everything was going according to plan until five minutes before our departure my daughter scraped her leg on the stairs — which led to ten minutes of hysterical crying. And while I was tending to her, my oldest son couldn’t find his socks, and my youngest had a blow out diaper. Driving to church, I was one grumpy mama. I kept feeling the Holy Spirit tell me to lighten up, but I pushed Him aside and continued to shame my children. Telling them, multiple times, we were going to be late, and it was all their fault.
It was not my shining moment as a mother.
As my frustration grew, I thought about King Saul. He was an expert at inflicting shame, and here I sat doing the same thing. In fact, shaming my family is sometimes my go-to method. I don’t want to convict them; I want them to feel bad about whatever it is that has me upset. Sylvia Gunter in her book Prayer Portions contrasts the personality traits of King David and King Saul. Her list haunted me throughout the entire church service. Acts 13:22 refers to David as a man after God’s own heart, while 1 Samuel 19:9 describes Saul as evil. When hearing those two descriptions, I would hope that I fall in line with David, but when looking at multiple areas of their personalities, it’s evident I am naturally more like Saul. To grasp this reality, I paraphrased her list and marked (*) the traits that I see in myself.
Saul vs. David Personality Types
Saul was prideful and had a controlling personality.
- He took matters into his own hands & blamed others for his actions (1 Samuel 13).*
- He feared man more than God (1 Samuel 15:24).*
- While he showed remorse, he was never repentant (1 Samuel 15:25-30, 24:16-21, 26:1).
- Controlled others by fear, intimidation, emotional manipulation, and shame (1 Samuel 16:2, 18:21).*
- Insecure, cowardly, fearful, jealous, and suspicious (1 Samuel 18:8-9, 18:29).*
- Those who were closest to him experienced his deadly outburst of rage (1 Samuel 18:11, 19:10, 20:30-33).*
- Uproar and confusion were always around him (1 Samuel 22:17-20).
- He had selective hearing and chose to hear what he wanted to hear (1 Samuel 15:20).
- Perfectionist, demanding, judgmental, and paranoid (1 Samuel 22:7-8, 14-15).*
David was humble and had a submitted personality.
- David gave matter to the Lord & confessed his sin and took responsibility for his own actions (2 Samuel 7:18 & Psalm 51).
- He feared and worshiped God more than the opinions of man (2 Samuel 6:14).
- Not perfect, but truly repentant (2 Samuel 12:16).*
- David trusted and listened to the council of others (1 Samuel 18).*
- He freely loved people — even those who did not make himself look good (2 Samuel 1:13).
- He was courageous and secure because he knew who God is (1 Samuel 17, 2 Samuel 22).
- Surrounds himself with worship (2 Samuel 25).*
- David fully heard truth and accepted it even when it is difficult (2 Samuel 12:7).*
- He didn’t expect people to be perfect and extended grace even to his enemies (1 Samuel 25:35, 26).
Clearly, I have more Saul than David traits.
Knowing this truth and grasping the reality of my sin, I can choose to be more like David. It begins with repentance. Just because I’ve been a wife and mother who is prideful and controlling does not mean I have to remain so!
Go now and leave your life of Sin. ~ Jesus to the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:11).
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:13-14
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
I’m so thankful for Christ’s refining and redeeming work. He ushers in beautiful grace in the moments where I totally blow it. When I’m speeding down the interstate towards destruction, He picks up my car to change my course and destination. It’s not always what I want at the time, but it is most certainly what I need. No matter what controlling, prideful, or manipulating choices we make, the God of the universe stands ready to change us. Isn’t that beautiful?! I am praying that each of us will be humble wives who submit ourselves to the Lord so that we, like David, will be women after His own heart.
Is your personality more like that of Saul’s or David’s? What area is God working on changing in you currently?
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