Click here to find out more about your God-given shape. Thanks for grace to share these personality posts here while I’m at Catalyst. I’m also using this time to slay the dragons and clean up the dirt that still lurks in quiet corners of my book. Scheduled launch date for Dragons and Dirt is Thursday 27th November 2014.
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Your personality is possibly the most significant determining factor in your relationships with those around you. You may connect with people because of shared interests or experiences. But it’s largely your personality that determines how well you get on with others.
Within the context of community, Erik Rees suggests that you understand whether you are outgoing or reserved, self-expressive or self-controlled, cooperative or competitive. Each of these traits can set you up for relational disaster if misunderstood or mismanaged. If you know where you are placed on these sliding scales of personality, you can temper your relational course far more realistically and successfully. You will also better understand the actions and attitudes of those around you.
And here’s the humbling thing: some people definitely think you’re weird. That’s true for me; it’s true for everyone. If you think someone else is arrogant or eccentric or selfish – the chances are good that they think you’re pathetic or boring or a martyr. And if someone irritates you? You can be pretty positive that you irritate them. It’s really helpful to keep close that bit of reality – and keep checking it. It keeps us gracious, and tolerant, and forgiving. Often, it keeps us quiet.
But be encouraged: you are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness. And no one but you is responsible for yours. If you feel hemmed in – discouraged from serving – because your personality type doesn’t quite fit the context you’re leaning into, then for sure, check your heart. Check your motives. Check for sin. If your tests come back clear, then go ahead and serve. Lovingly and considerately. Because, as Rees says, ‘God didn’t create other people to please you – and he didn’t create you to please them. He made us to please him. He created all of us to relate differently, feel differently, react differently, and respond to life differently.’
A friend of mine likes to say, ‘Blessed are the flexible, for they shall survive.’ Let’s pray for each other, hold each other accountable, serve each other strongly and sensitively, and keep a soft heart.
Point to ponder
Relationships – in the church and elsewhere – are all about translating our intentions into someone else’s reality.
‘Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.’ Ephesians 4:2-4
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How does being outgoing or reserved, self-expressive or self-controlled, cooperative or competitive, influence how you relate to colleagues, family members, friends, or others in our church community?
Feel free to email me on dalene (dot) reyburn (at) gmail (dot) com with questions or comments, or for more info on the launch of Dragons and Dirt: The truth about changing the world – and the courage it requires on Thursday 27th November.
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