Stubborn as a Mule!

11 Mar


Photo by jade on Morgue File.

Are you stubborn as a grass stain or as easy-going as a light breeze on a warm day? Tell us about the ways in which you’re stubborn — which issues make you dig your heels in and refuse to budge?

I would be more the latter than the former. I know plenty of people who fit the former to a tee! You can almost see them coming a mile away! I, however, am more easy-going. I typically take things in stride and roll with the punches. I am laid back and casual. When it comes to emotions, I am even–keeled. I do not tend to get too high or too low.

Of course, there are a couple of operative words in the description I just gave: typically and do not tend. In other words, these do not always hold true. There are times, though rare, when I am stubborn or I do become angry and upset. I do not really like myself at such times, because I am acting like one of them! One of those other sorts of people who are wound too tightly and take everything too seriously.

I do believe there are things in life that should be taken seriously, do not misunderstand me. But, I think, for some people, they take far too much seriously. They become obsessive and dominated by this or that. It controls their emotions and thoughts. It becomes all they can think about.

So, about what am I stubborn?

Well, usually I am stubborn about things no one in their right mind would be!

I tend to be stubborn about, what might be called, little things.

It does upset me when this happens. As I have said, I usually am not that way. I am usually easy-going and willing to adapt and experience new and different things. I do not, in general, mind change or having things shake up a bit. But, there are those times when I become dogmatic. There are those times when I become, as the old saying goes, stubborn as a mule.

I am sure there are instances where stubbornness is a quality; but, in most scenarios, at least the ones I can think of, it is more detrimental. Maybe other qualities get mixed up with stubbornness sometimes; such as, dedication, perseverance, commitment and the like.

I think stubbornness, when we boil it all down, is a thing of pride. It is a demonstration of me wanting to control something, anything really. It is me wanting to exert myself, my dominance. I know from personal experience, it is in such times of stubbornness that I lose sight of more important things. I lose sight of humility, integrity, honesty, love, gentleness, kindness, meekness and so on. I become something other than what Christ would have me be.

It is the old nature within me, rearing its ugly head, like a spoiled, misbehaving toddler whining and crying out MINE, MINE, MINE! It has no desire to share or to cooperate. It has no plans to play well with others. It is not concerned about decorum or right and wrong. All it cares about is itself. It is focused inwardly. Its vision is myopic. It is all about me, myself and I.

Stubbornness can not only tear me down, but those around me: those I love. It has a way of grinding away on a person. A slow, methodical, constant rubbing that erodes pieces of us away little by little.

I am sure part of the problem is that stubbornness often times feels so natural to us. After all, are we not told that if we do not look after ourselves and our interests who will? Does not the world teach us to be after the well-being of numero uno?

Stubbornness lends itself to this mentality. It is the defiance of pride and hubris.

It makes us tyrants: uncompromising, unyielding and uncaring.

It rants and raves and spits and foams like a rabid dog.

Perhaps, though, there is another side of stubbornness. Perhaps, for some, it is not so much about pride and selfishness, as it is insecurity and doubt. Perhaps stubbornness helps such a one feel as if they have some control in situations where they feel completely out of their depth. It is their way of claiming some ground, no matter how small or insignificant. They stand tired and fearful over a yawning chasm, like Gandalf in Moria shouting to a Balrog, Thou shall not pass!

Perhaps, for them, stubbornness is a way of trying to find their courage. A way of trying to stand up for themselves.

All I can say with certainty is that, for me, stubbornness is a defiant attitude; an attitude of my pride and selfishness. While this may not be true for everyone, I suspect it is true for many.

By God’s grace and the love and meekness of Christ, stubbornness can be overcome. It certainly will not succumb easily. It will not go down without a fight, but it can, with God’s help, be brought down.

Christ has not called us to be stubborn; but rather, to be full of grace, peace, love, joy, gentleness and meekness. Yes, we should be steadfast. Yes, we should be strong in our stances of our commitment to Christ and his gospel. But, we should be so in a way that allows the Holy Spirit to use us to reach those who are not yet believers. We are called to be the salt of the earth, not bitter and distasteful. We are called to be the light of the world, a light that attracts and draws people, not one that blinds and repels.

May I be committed, not stubborn. May I be steadfast, not obnoxious. May I speak the truth, the gospel, in love and grace, not pride and arrogance.


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15 responses to “Stubborn as a Mule!

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