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My undergraduate degree was in Psychology, and ever since my first psych class, I have been intrigued by all things psychological. There is nothing more interesting to me than the way God has designed humans, I could talk about it for hours. But it is more than a simple side interest. I am passionate about people knowing Jesus, and I am passionate about people knowing themselves. Mostly, because I believe that knowing how God has wired you, gives you a greater view of God’s character. When you begin to combine your personality, your spiritual gifts, and your experiences and opportunities, you are able to be passionate in a way you could never be without knowing those things. When that passion is harnessed for the good of the body, and for the kingdom of God, then God receives heaps and heaps of glory and honor. And we walk away fulfilled and satisfied in him.
On the flip side of this, there are tons of people who are completely unaware of their personality types and their spiritual gifts. So they hop around from job to job, ministry to ministry, only to find that nothing quite fits. This is draining, tiring and defeating.
I believe that understanding personalities and gifts not only helps you to see yourself more clearly, but it helps you give greater grace to others. It allows us to value the contributions of those who are unlike us, and moves us toward a more unified, yet diversified effort for the kingdom. So…knowing yourself is basically the bomb.com!
So…let’s talk personality people!
There are tons of personality tests out there. The one I feel like gives you the best picture of who you are is the Myers Briggs Personality test. While you can’t take this test with out someone professionally qualified to give it, there are free online versions like the one here. It is not quite as scientific, but is accurate and user friendly (and free…so….take it!).
The Myers Briggs breaks your personality up into four specific areas, and then tells you your tendency in each area. Everyone is a little bit of all of these things, but we all have tendencies that are basically our defaults. Knowing and understanding ourselves helps us to better understand our role in God’s kingdom purposes. Obviously, there are tons of other factors to consider, but having a good grasp on your personality type is a great place to start!
There are too many types to talk about here, but I can tell you that I have forever and always come up with the exact same type, every time I take the test. I am always pretty extreme in my percentages as well, and the description is so unbelievably accurate!
When taking the test, be sure to answer honestly. This stuff is only as helpful as it is accurate. One good way to check this, is to show your results to a few people who know you really well, and ask them if the agree. I highly recommend not only knowing your own personality type, but also knowing your spouse’s, and your children’s types as well. This way, when you get really frustrated because someone is doing something differently than you are, you can run it through the filter of, “is this just a personality difference, or this a real issue?”. You will be surprised by how often your answer to that question is….”this is just a personality difference”, and you will find yourself extending a lot more grace.
It’s also good to to know the way you filter the world. This way, you know who you need around you to filter it differently for you. Because my personality is so extreme, I need friends, and coworkers who are different than I am. I need them to look at the same situation as me, with their personality’s lens, and I need them to talk to me about it. This helps bring some balance to my life, and tends to lead to much wiser decisions.
So..as soon as you are done with this post…take the test people! k?!?!
Another resource that I believe to be enormously helpful is the book Strengths Finder 2.0. There is a code in each book that gives you access to a strengths based assessment. After taking that test, you will then read about those strengths and their implications. This book has been extremely helpful to me at work, and within ministry positions…basically anywhere I am working with a team. There is tons of insightful information regarding each strength, and I highly, highly recommend you grabbing a copy!
Before I go, here are a few things to keep in mind about personalities:
- Knowing how God designed you does not give you permission to be a jerk. Seriously. We are still sinners, and so our personalities are subject to the effects of the fall. God gave you a personality, but it has weaknesses and limitations, and there is ALWAYS room for you to grow. Do not forget that, and don’t allow your personality to be an excuse for sin.
- We can change over time, but our tendencies and defaults typically remain the same, and that’s okay.
- There is no ideal personality. We are all uniquely useful for the kingdom. Walk freely in that.
- No two people who share a personality type are exactly the same. We each have unique experiences, opportunities and spiritual gifts (if you are a believer) that are intertwined with our personalities. So, you know, we are all like snowflakes.
- Quit comparing, and quit trying to change yourself. God doesn’t make mistakes. He made you the way you are on purpose. So live like it. (And, quit judging others for living like it too!)
Okay, I have so, so, so much more to say about this. I would love to go to coffee with each of you and talk through your personality and strengths. (Is that a job…’cuz if it is…someone needs to give it to me!) Since I can’t do that, I guess I will let you take your tests and read about your strengths and personality. If you have any questions, I would love, love, love to help you through them…so hit me up through email!
About spiritual gifts…this could be like another zillion paragraph post…so I will spare you! I did however write a post about this previously…so, check that out!
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