Years ago, there was a consistent refrain in my performance reviews. It didn’t matter who the boss was who did the review; there was always one comment that managed to fall into “development needs” (even then we were too politically correct to call them “weaknesses”).
“You need to be more aggressive.”
We like A-type personalities. We see them as natural leaders. It’s been my experience that the main leadership ability of A-type personalities is being able to talk louder than everyone else (that’s a joke, but not entirely). But the fact is that organizations, and especially corporations, like A-types. A-types suggest confidence and skill. They manage to snag a lot of attention.
I’ve seen a few A-types do things like loiter at funerals and memorial services for work colleagues, waiting for the senior executives to show up. That’s a bit more aggressive than I can stomach.
But the fact was – is – I’m quiet. I don’t do things that draw attention to myself in a crowded room. I don’t look for every opportunity to tell senior executives what I’ve done for them lately.
And I don’t loiter at funerals.
I’m quiet not so much as a deliberate effort to be meek and one day inherit the earth. I’m quiet because that’s my personality. Quiet until I get to know people, that is.
But I think about meekness, and I think about it a lot. It doesn’t mean being timid or afraid or unsure. It means something very different.
“The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority,” says A.W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God. “Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life.”
I do not think of myself as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson in my moral life. My moral failings (and that’s “moral” in the “macro” sense) are not something I would characterize as lion-like. But I do know what God’s estimate of me is. I am sinner, and I am loved more than I can possibly imagine.
I may not be an A-type personality, and I may not be CEO one day, but I know my calling is to strive for meekness – meekness as defined by God.
Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been discussing Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. This week and next week we’re reading chapter 9, “Meekness and Rest.” To see more posts, please visit Sarah’s site – Living Between the Lines.