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Everyone has different personality

During my brief stint in college, I was asked to describe myself in 30 seconds.  I believe what I wrote looked something like this:

I am a strongly opinionated people-pleaser.  I know what I believe but I always find that I’m trying to mold myself into the person others want me to be.  At the very least, I want everyone to like me, so I avoid conflict and confrontation.

Years later, I can honestly {and sadly} say this description still fits.  Why?  Because I am marked by the inherent desire to be liked.  And the paralyzing fear of being disliked.  I’m growing but this remains the footprint of my character.  It has taken intention, determination and effort to make strides toward a life free of those bonds.  But that has given me cause to carefully examine this tendency to cling to our innate personality roots.

When we seek friendship, we gravitate toward people with similar values, likes and dislikes.  When it’s marriage we’re after, we find ourselves drawn to a person who balances us…not too different but different enough.  When we have children, we attempt to shape them into who we think they should be based on our belief systems.

But what about when we seek God?  How do we reconcile our unique personalities with His unchanging one?  I think in most cases, we try to manipulate Him into the “person” we want Him to be.  One that meshes well with our own values, ethics and personalities.  That’s the only way we can justify our little quirks and tendencies without having to undergo serious behavioral reconstruction.

I have a few friends who just bring out the best in me.  They are staunch in their faith and live it purposefully.  They inspire me to keep drawing nearer to Him and to keep my eyes fastened on the prize.  Their very lives are a testimony that has slowly worked to change my heart.  And as the heart transforms a new personality is birthed.  So if we become what (or who) we intentionally behold and our ultimate goal is to grow in Christ, we must train ourselves to behold Him.

But it would certainly help to carefully examine what’s beneath the mysterious layers of the One after whom we seek!  So let’s take a quick look at 5 qualities that attest to His character:

  • He is open and honest.  He doesn’t mince words to win friends.  Yet the power of His sincere love draws people to Him in spite of that honesty.
  • He is “knowable”.  He ensured we had a detailed chronicle of His “past” to examine as we navigate the troubled waters of life on earth.  He shares Himself with us and offers glimpses of His heart in every page of the Bible.
  • He is approachable.  The Creator of the Universe welcomes us to approach Him at any and every moment.  He’s never too busy or tired or uninterested…we are always top priority!
  • He is intolerant yet longsuffering.  In an age and society that demands “tolerance”, we find a God who remains firm and unwavering regarding sin.  He patiently bids each heart to turn back to Him no matter how far they’ve wandered but we don’t need to expect any words of affirmation from Him while we choose to baste in the poisonous marinade the world offers.
  • He is forgiving.  We hurt Him.  We shun Him.  We turn our backs on Him and that demand His help to get us out of the messes we get ourselves into.  Yet when we come before Him with a convicted and contrite heart, He washes us clean.  And He asks us to do the same with others.

Consider for a moment the kind of friend, mother, child or wife you’d be if those 5 personality traits all described you.  How different would your relationships be if you stopped simply being “you” and started allowing God to make you like Him?  Mine would be barely recognizable.

We are all sin-stained pilgrims wandering down the paths of our own choosing.  Some are traveling steadily toward the Light while others are ambling off into darkness.  But the light grows brighter when we see ourselves for who we are and chose Him instead.  When we recognize that “this is who I am” does not equate with “this is who He intended me to be” our lives take on new purpose.

For me, this means that my inner people-pleaser needs to seek to please God even when it means offending someone or losing a bit of “face”.  It means speaking the truth, in love, when it would be so much easier to skirt it.  It means humbling myself in the face of hurt in order to offer the same kind of forgiveness He extends to me.  And it means allowing people in.  I have a fairly outgoing personality on the surface but I still find myself holding people at arms distance.

Just as each of us has a one-of-a-kind mark on the palm of our hand, God created us with a personality uniquely our own.  But being born many generations into a sin-sick world we also each find that we’re tragically flawed.  It’s our responsibility to find our true character in Christ rather than trying to find Him in our character!