When I was young, I thought myself to be an extravert. I had learned to be outgoing because, being a Marine kid, we moved around a lot. I was always able to settle in fairly quickly and make friends. I was a people pleaser and wanted everyone to like me. I can remember always having a pack of friends. It was after college that I began to look for fewer, and deeper, friendships. The first time I took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II, a personality test, I was working as a Clinical Instructor in the dental hygiene program at LSU dental school in New Orleans. As I have mentioned before, in order to succeed in dental hygiene school, and at work as an instructor, I was very driven, motivated and task oriented. I had learned to be this way out of necessity. My results from the Keirsey showed me to be highly rational, a Mastermind (loved the name at the time!). The personality type is introverted, introspective, tough-minded, and scheduled – exactly me at the time! It suited my situation very well. It was a surprise to be called an “introvert” for the first time in my life, but it was actually a relief. Understanding this aspect of myself explained the stress I felt when meeting new people and going to large parties and such. This stress was increased because I felt the need to meet other people’s expectations of me as an extravert. In reading about the test, I found that its creator, David Keirsey, discusses personality traits as preferences, meaning: what you will do when given a choice. You can always rise to the occasion and do what is is required for a given moment, but your personality determines your preference, your most comfortable option.
As a young mother, all my scheduling and rational thought was my enemy. It was NOT well-suited to caring for an unpredictable infant. My skill-set was not well-matched to my new job! The entry into motherhood was a jolt for me. I knew right away that God was at work in it. I knew that He desired more from me than I was comfortable giving; He wanted me to grow. I saw two things in this experience:
- God wanted me to develop in areas where I lacked, to become, more fully, the person He desired me to be. He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).
- God wanted me to develop the skills necessary to do the new job I had. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Phil 2:3-7).
I took the test again last night. This time, about ten years after I took it the first time, I scored as a Counselor: introverted, introspective, friendly, and scheduled. The personality traits are exactly the same, except where it comes to dealing with people. Now, rather than seeking solutions that would fit my overall plan, I am more apt to seek solutions that will meet the needs of those people I am serving. Of course we aren’t defined by our scores on tests, but by our thought-life and choices; but these results do dovetail with what God has been doing in my life. It has been a painful process, but God has certainly grown me into more of what He wants me to be. Just as He did for me when I entered the dental hygiene profession, He has helped me to grow so that I could be better suited to my current job as a homemaker, homeschooler, wife and mother – isn’t He wonderful?
We had a wonderful sermon on the first chapter of Acts in church this week, and the same verses were part of our bible reading in homeschool today. These “coincidences” are the ways God speaks to me because, in addition, the verses are perfectly suited to this post as well! When Jesus returned to His disciples, before Pentecost, He told them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In our own lives, the Holy Spirit helps us to bring the changes needed in our hearts so that we may accomplish the things God has set before us. What has God been doing in your life to change you to be more like Him, or to be able to do things He has called you to do? Would you like to take the test and see if you agree with the assessment of your personality? Click here to take it and then let me know what you think of your results! I think a little self-assessment is good as we begin our new study (on Wednesday) this week… Embracing Your Strengths: Who Am I in God’s Eyes (and What am I Supposed to Do about It?).
JustaGirl…just like you!