Several years ago, an employer required that I take the Strengths Finder test — a requirement for all their employees. It was a fascinating discovery. I tested highest on a quality they called “Restorative” and I was quite surprised by this find for I had not recognized it in myself before. This was the description:

You love to solve problems. Whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, you can be energized by it. You enjoy the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution. You may prefer practical problems or conceptual ones or personal ones. You may seek out specific kinds of problems that you have met many times before and that you are confident you can fix. Or you may feel the greatest push when faced with complex and unfamiliar problems. Your exact preferences are determined by your other themes and experiences. But what is certain is that you enjoy bringing things back to life. It is a wonderful feeling to identify the undermining factor(s), eradicate them, and restore something to its true glory…

While I don’t relate to everything in this description, I am most definitely a problem-solver by nature. I see everything that is wrong around me and I want to fix it. And lately, I have started to feel a bit like Gregory House (minus the drug addiction and utter crudeness and dislike of people). If you’ve never seen the show (I don’t really recommend it), House is a diagnostic doctor who characteristically becomes obsessed beyond reason with solving the riddle-that-is-his-patient’s-illness. For me, I have become obsessed at times with “curing” my daughter’s sleeping troubles.

There it is — my confession. I have had multiple people tell me to let it go, just go with the flow, and she’ll eventually grow out of it. But something in me has clung to “solving this riddle”, and shamefully, I have not been able to walk away.

At the risk of sounding like an excuse, which is not at all what this is, I think it is in part because of my Restorative Strength which has become unbridled. The author of Strengths Finder would be the first to admit that strengths can also be weaknesses — its just the other side of the coin. In fact, his entire premise is to place yourself in a job context where your strengths can function as strengths rather than weaknesses. But that only seems to work when it comes to employment. I don’t really have much of a choice when it comes to parenthood — its not like I can ask for a different position in the company…right? We’ll get back to that.

One of the many negative side effects to my unbridled Restorative is that I find myself generally discontent because I always see the problems, and can never get around to fixing them all — as soon as I fix one, another appears or reappears. And while maybe I am okay being miserable all the time (I’m not really), I was recently convicted through a conversation with a friend, that I would never want this kind of discontented living for my daughter, and if that’s the case, then I need to be the person I want my daughter to be. Not to mention, nobody really likes to be around miserable, discontented people.

That is my challenge. It involves putting a bridle on the Restorative in me and it involves resolving my discontentedness. It means putting a stop to my complaining and learning to find the good in my situations, as difficult as they may be. Its a reorientation of my problem-focused way of living.

I was asking my husband the other day: what do you believe about how we change our attitudes? His answer was profound. He explained that we can’t just turn our attitudes on and off. We have to submit ourselves to God in prayer and refocus our attention on Christ. He’s right! When you look at Jesus, our problems and frustrations in life seem so much smaller. When you look at Jesus, our sufferings cannot compare. When you really look at Jesus, it suddenly doesn’t matter that we aren’t getting our way, because that is not the point — Jesus’ love and grace for us reminds us we don’t deserve it anyway!

Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.” {Italics and bold formatting mine}.

This is my challenge: to find the good in my circumstances and be grateful for what I have been given. Over the next 30 days, with the hope of building new habits of thinking, I am committing to seeking a change in countenance; to focus on what is praiseworthy, excellent, true, good, right, lovely and to daily express that gratitude in place of my previous complaints. This is my #30daychallenge. Perhaps it is something you would like to join me in?