God wants us to live in the whole of who we are – but that poses an enormous challenge. Think of your two temperaments as being like two very large areas of land – and you own them both. You are familiar with one of them. You have lived there most of your life and know how to enjoy it. The other area is largely unexplored. You know things about it but have rarely been there. When you were younger you spent time there but found the challenges of living there more than you could cope with and so developed a pattern of running off to the easier terrain.
The land got neglected and overgrown and, as the days went by, there was less and less prospect of ever going back there again. You made the best out of living in part of what you owned even though at times you felt a certain nostalgia for what you knew was still part of you.
Somehow, deep inside, you knew that you should visit and occupy the whole of who you are. But why bother? You have found a way of making life work. Does it really matter if you never experience the depths of who you are? Why change things now? We are driven by the need for comfort so that is what most people stick with at that point.
The problem is that if you neglect that second, little-visited area in your life it will get overgrown, wild animals will multiply and the effects of what goes on there will threaten to overwhelm and even destroy both territories. The truth is, you cannot afford to neglect it. Don’t wait for things to deteriorate or for a crisis to hit you that forces you into a visit. Act now.
What to do? Find someone who understands that territory and ask them to travel with you on a journey of rediscovering who you really are. When you want to run back to that safe place, trust your friend. There will be many times when you long for the old, familiar land where you spent most of your life but hold yourself in to that difficult place. Over time you will learn to handle and enjoy to the full everything you discover – and to become comfortable in that exciting environment.
You will see things more clearly, feel them more deeply and be far more aware and alive than ever before. This will bring its own challenges. Whereas before you didn’t allow yourself to ‘notice’ that hurtful word or look, now you will feel it. Before, that injustice passed you by, now you know you have to do something with it. But those same sensitivities that can bring a greater awareness of pain also bring a greater experience of delight and joy and connection. And because you are now inhabiting the whole of who you are you can cultivate all that is good about it and enjoy it to the full – and safely open up its borders for others to share its delights.