Day 8 of telling truth: I take a lot of tests

mbtiToday my truth is:

I am a fan of personality tests. I love to learn about self and others and find it so intriguing that one set of questions can reveal so much about a person. I delight in talking with others about their unique design. It reminds me of the beauty of being created with intensional design.

In Romans 12 Paul writes,  

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Personality and unique design are a part of our make up as sons and daughters. It is good. Every part! It is not ours to covet the gifts of others nor to proudly obtain worth from our own gift set. Our strengths are evidence of grace and are gifts given to us. We did nothing to earn them, therefore, we can not take credit for their display in our lives.

It is ours to live in our design as God’s poem, speaking words of light and good, as we live. It is leaning into God, deriving our identity from being His child and living out of His life that displays life and invites others to life.

I display life when I operate out of my unique design. Though a test can not define me with 100% accuracy, I will give you all the information I’ve collected on myself over the years. (Just in case you’re curious)

Strength Finder:

Strategic

Woo

Ideation

Activator

Futuristic

Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator: ENTP

DISC: IDSC

Enneagram: 7

And from Buzzfeed’s very official, what woman of the Bible quiz: I am Deborah

These are all the tests I can think of at this moment. But as the years go by, I’m sure this list will change. But for now, have fun doing your research on me.

And, while you’re at it, why not take a moment to tell a friend a truth about you. Share a personality test result with him/her and talk about how  you’ve reflected God as you’ve lived out of your unique design. OR, take a moment and tell someone how their design has reflected God’s design to you.

I love Valentine’s Day: A confession from a 39 year old single woman

Pink-HeartI woke up today to a text from a friend wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day! I am single, 39, have dated very little, have only had a significant relationship on Valentine’s day once, not of course including the many Valentine’s of my early childhood… (you know who you are). I have a desire to be married, at times I struggle with feelings of loneliness and have waves of feeling invisible. I would love to have someone give me flowers, write me poems (okay maybe not write me poems… but maybe), dress up like adult babies and shoot me with arrows in the shape of hearts; but these are not currently a part of my story. At times I grieve their absence, but I do not grieve them today. For this day, Valentine’s Day, is not a day of receiving, it is a day of giving.

Love is a tricky topic. It is our deepest longing. And, I’d be lying if I told you I feel strong in my singleness every day. Many days I am content with life as is, some days are filled with such extreme loneliness that I can hardly see the good, some days I celebrate the fact that I’m single and then there are days I want to post on some social media outlet, “Hey you all, want to set me up?!” And then, thankfully, I choose to back myself down off that train. 

Valentine’s Day for many, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving or even the Fourth of July can harken such feelings of unmet desire it can be very difficult to get through the day without at least one emotional breakdown. Many shut down on these days all together because of their own pain, longings and struggles. The day being celebrated may be a day to remember someone who played a roll in your life, to celebrate an event, to remember the people around you, to look out… these are all good things. Holidays and celebrations are outward facing events, which often surface inward lack, struggle or desire. But when we, when I, focus only on the inward pain, I miss the point all together. 

Like so many things we make important days about us. I catch myself doing it often. I’ll be at an event where I’m to celebrate someone and their life step and all I can see is my own lack or how I’ve not met the mark or not made it quite as far as I would have liked and I pity myself. When I do so, I forget a key element of relationship found in Romans 8. Paul when writing about love and relationship, begins with a command: rejoice with those who rejoice. He then moves on to mourn with those who mourn. Both commands are externally focused commands. They are commands of empathy, choosing to enter into someone’s story, pain, joy, struggle and excitement with them, feeling it with them, not because it’s your pain too or even your happiness, but because you love that person. 

When I pity myself on Valentine’s day, Christmas, Mother’s day, or when I’m at a wedding, baby shower or perhaps at an event where someone is being celebrated publicly for something for which I want to be recognized, I am missing the point and I am not loving. Self pity is a form of victimhood and I am unwilling to be a participant. This may sound harsh and in no way am I discounting the fact that there is pain involved in deep longings that are unmet, but when I focus on self alone I am not loving. 

I love Valentine’s Day, not because I have a Valentine. I do not love Valentine’s Day because I have a lot of loving people in my life, though I do. I do not love Valentine’s Day because of what I get out of it. I love Valentine’s Day because it is a love free for all. I get to speak words of good and kindness to others and be as cheesy as I’d like. I love Valentine’s Day because I love watching other’s rejoicing. I love Valentine’s Day because I love watching men and women scurry for a last minute something or other to pick up to give a token of love, kindness or remembrance. I love Valentine’s Day because it’s premise is love, yes it’s twisted, slightly over dramatic and materialistic, but in its purist form, this day is about looking out and giving of yourself for the good of others. 

Would I one day like to have a Valentine for which I can buy ugly red socks,  make a homemade card or send a singing telegram? Most certainly, but on this day, I choose to lay aside my want, my lack, my unmet desire to rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn and love with lavish unhindered words and actions every person I think of and run into. Will you join me? Will you step back, take a look at your expectations for this day and then choose to love outwardly? There is no guaranty, but, if you choose to love well every person you come in contact with today, you might be surprised by days end just how loved you feel. 

 

 

Real Life: The cycle of sin and life change

Do you find that life is cyclical? You do something you don’t want to do, you see how it effects you negatively, you make a commitment to behavior change and you start walking in a new way, then down the road something difficult happens, or you trip up, or you simply get tired of working and you go back to your old way.

Making life change is difficult and often messy and takes a lot of time. Paul writes about his struggle to live in a new way in Romans 7. When I was a kid I didn’t quite get what he was saying, “the things I do want to do,  I do not do, but the things I do not want to do, I do.” I think I got confused by his prolific usage of the word “do”.

But, now, I see it. I see not only the wisdom in what he was saying, but I see how I live in the same struggle. There is a good I want, usually it is a life change of sorts and there is a way I do not want to live. I find myself in cycle. I don’t like cycles. I like product! I like results. But we, you and I, need to remember as we walk in life there is only one true way out of the cycle and it may not come until the end. That is not hopeless, there is much hope in it. Take a look at the Romans passage I was talking about, as it was written for The Message paraphrase.

0But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

21-23It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Take a moment in your day to think about the various cycles you find your self in. How does this speak to you? Where do you see the conflict of sin and new life?

What helps you when you find yourself in a cycle again?