I guess the truth be told, I wasn't too happy about spending 8 hours learning about my personality, and how it plays into the whole scheme of teamwork and communication. I am already self-aware, so for me, spending this much time to hash over what I already know, is a waste of time. However, today's seminar on personality was really good, and in the end, I found the four hours to be a good use of my time.
In short, I realized that I am hardwired to be a certain way. In that hardwiring, there are aspects of my personality that are coded to my DNA. I am the way I am because God created me to be this way. I am the product of my parent's genetic coding as well, and my environment did factor in, but generally speaking, most of my personality stems from the way I was made by my Creator. I believe that God creates us to be uniquely usable in His Kingdom. He calls us to fulfill certain roles, and to be responsible for certain aspects of His work. Our personalities are key, are central to our abilities, and often are indicative of the kind of role God has created us to fill. Now, not all of our personality traits are God-honoring, and with the fall, often we bring along negative behaviors that stem from thinking patterns instilled in childhood or confirmed through life experience. However, in God's plan for each one of us, He has personality shaping top on His "must do" list. In fact, we are called to exhibit Christ-like behavior and thinking, and to do this, we must be "conformed' to His Image -- His Way or His Personality.
In the Bible, personality is synonymous with our soul or our inner being. Thus, our personhood, our unique personality is what defines us as individual souls. We are all unique, we are all serving a purpose in God's Kingdom, and our personhood reflects our unique calling and position in Christ. It is God's will for us to be like Jesus, to act and to do what He did. Unfortunately, with the fall, came sin, and with sin, came the desire to be god-like and to do and say whatever we desire to do and say -- without penalty.
Our roles as Christians therefore are to be Christ-like, and our personhood, our very personalities are to be shaped and contoured by the Power of the Holy Spirit to reflect Christ-like thinking and behaviors. We are all a work in progress, we are all on our path towards Glory. For some, this means that we are actively participating with the Holy Spirit to be changed; while for some, this means the opposite -- we are unwilling to cooperate, and are striving against Him as He works in and through us.
In today's seminar, the most enlightening moment came for me when I realized that my personality is Dominate/Formal, or more easily characterized by being Controlling. I admit that I have control issues, and that I do not like to be out of control. In fact, I will do almost anything to keep from losing control. I struggle to maintain discipline, to be focused and on task, and to keep my word (my integrity). These are all characteristics of a controlling personality.
Now, as a child, I was raised to believe that controlling people were bad, that they were aggressive and that these kinds of behaviors were unwanted socially and religiously. I was encouraged to be submissive, supportive, and to remain in a purely helper type role. My dominance came out, of course, and my need to control, became a challenge for me. I hid behind my dominance, and I wore a mask that said "I am a helper. I am a supporter. I am open, and welcoming." I pretended to be this kind of person because I believed that being controlling and dominate in society was not something I should desire.
It wasn't until I went through marital separation that my personality issues came to the forefront. I spent nearly 25 years trying to be the very opposite of what I was created to be. I tried to be the encourager, the supporter, and the submissive wife. Now, don't get me wrong, I believe completely in Biblical Headship, authority, and the integrity of the husband-wife relationship. However, and with a big caveat, I realized that the person I had tried to become was not who God created me to be. As a result of suppressing my personality, I developed all sorts of nasty behaviors, and I suffered greatly with anxiety, depression, and anger.
Once that lid was lifted, and the mask removed, I became more aware of my own personhood. I also became confident in my abilities and in my understanding of who I am and what I am to do. My confidence zoomed, and I began to take control of my life. I made changes to it, many through tears and heartache, and many long overdue. Many changes were the result of years of hiding behind a mask -- many changes should have been made years ago. In hindsight, I learned that hiding from the truth didn't diminish the truth, it simply covered it up. The truth was still true 25 years later.
Now, I am a different person, a completely different person. I don't wear a mask anymore. I live freely, and I do what I want to do. I am content, I am happy, and I am free to be me.
I learned something new today (even when I thought I knew everything there was to know about myself and my personality.) Today, I learned that my controlling and dominate personality is a gift from God, and that I was designed to fulfill a very specific role in His Kingdom. God made me this way, and He expects me to use all that I am to serve Him and to serve His Kingdom. I came undone today, I shook off all the remnants of who I once was, and I embraced the very person God has called me to be.
Yes, I am controlling, but not in areas that He has not given me to control. Yes, I am authoritative, but not in an overweening over-lording way. I am decisive, I am quick, and I am confident. I am able to handle difficult tasks, and I am able to focus when others are falling apart. I am a leader, natural and gifted. I prefer not to lead, but when called to do so, I will do my very best. I am honest, I am strong, and I like end-results. I am a winner. I am an achiever. I am driven, and I desire to be first, to be the very best I can be. I am happy in who I am, and in what I can do. I can do better, of course, and while I want to be first, I am not upset with being second (only with my own performance issues). I don't blame others, and I stand up for what is right, what is good, and what is honorable. I am willing to be wrong, but I will do everything in my power to seek what is right. I am created to be a leader, to be in charge, and to get things done. I don't laze about. I don't whine, and I don't give in. I stick with it, and I do the job until the job is done.
All of this describes me, and while I am not perfect, and I still make mistakes, and have rough edges to my personality (like being quick-witted and outspoken), I am learning key lessons in teamwork, cooperation, and how to be a member of God's Kingdom and Family. It is not always easy for me to fit in, and I often walk alone. I am Ok with that, and I am Ok with being on the outside looking in. I don't have issues with fitting in, and I don't desire it. I am happy to work hard, to play hard, and to rest, rest, rest. God is so very good to me -- He knows me so well.
So today, I asked the Lord to help me identify areas where I need to remain in control, so that I will feel better. These are the areas/tasks that I feel God has given me control over:
- Cello study -- learning to play well, practice often, and make good progress
- School -- to do the homework, papers, discussion, etc. with being a graduate student
- Work -- to plan and organize and strategize my job duties so I can be efficient, effective, and a productive worker
God has authority over me, and He is ultimately responsible for the results -- but He has graciously allowed me to be responsible for daily tasks, and in these areas, I am to be thorough and diligent to do the best work I can do. He will take the Glory, and He will provide the progress, but I am able to be a taskmaster and work towards progressing through His gifts and His gracious blessings.
What Does This Mean for Me?
I think that this means that once for all, I can let go of the past "me." I am in control, and I am loving the responsibility that God has given to me. I love my life, every single part of it, and I love what we are doing together (me and God). I see great things on the horizon, and I know that what He has in mind will take me to the farthest reaches and the highest heights. I cannot wait for tomorrow, and for want God has in mind for me.
Praise Him, Praise Him -- Give Him all Glory, Praise and Honor! He is so very Good to me!!