Resources: Personality, Behavior & Communication

Personality tests. They are all a bit different and I’ve taken a handful over the years. I went ahead and compiled a list of the ones I’ve taken here, along with a brief description and some links.

If you are just getting started, I’d recommend the first two. If you find these interesting and want to read more, #3 is a discussion in how the first two connect. I’d recommend #4 for a work or team setting, #5 if you work in a church or parachurch setting and #6 for anyone who wants to learn more about communication and relating in general.

  1. Four temperaments – click here to read a Christian perspective on 4 temps
  2. Meyers-Briggs type – probably the most well-known, 16 possibilities from a combination of your preferences for focus, taking in information, making decisions, and structure.  Take the free version
  3. Temperament-Type connection #1 – Keirsey and in chart form
  4. Disc – focuses more on behavior style, often used to help people communicate how to work and relate with others – free version
  5. Apestministry style – free version
  6. Life Languagescommunication style, this is the only one I was unable to find a free version for

Which of the above tests have you taken? Which would you recommend? Are there others you have taken or would recommend?

 

Washed in the Word

Get Washed

The insights from today’s post are taken from a chapter in John Ortberg’s book The Life You’ve Always Wanted. They were an encouragement to me and something I’m constantly needing to remember so I hope this post will clarify some vocabulary and encourages your heart as well.

The phrase “washed in the word” always seemed vague and unclear to me until I read it in context in Ortberg’s book. The phrase comes from Ephesians 5 where it says husbands are to to imitate Christ who “cleansed” His bride, the church “by the washing of water with the word.” Weird.

I mean, I get the importance of the Word, but what does it have to do with washing? Ortberg boiled it down to the quite literal and it was a lightbulb moment. He asks why do we wash something and what happens if we don’t?

So often, we think we have to clean ourselves up so we can go to confession, attend church, read a Bible. Ortberg says the reason we come to God is the exact opposite – because we need Him to cleanse us! He says our minds our full of everything other than truth – dirt and darkness.

The effects of getting washed

When we read the Word, it cleanses our thoughts and our hearts. It reminds us to “seek his kingdom first.” A concept Ortberg describes as purity of heart or “a singleness of purpose and focus that gives consistency to [one’s] choices and commitments.”

In contrast to this, Ortberg references James’ description of “a life of divided loyalties” or double-mindedness. He contrasts single-mindedness as being connected to simplicity, while double-mindedness is connected to multiplicity and duplicity. He defines multiplicity as “ambivalence – pulled and pushed… we both desire intimacy with God and flee from it,” and he defines duplicity is “falseness… a discrepancy between the reasons we give… and the real reasons.”

These are the thoughts we all battle and he suggests the way to recalibrate, to re-orient is simpler than we think. It is not about what we do or don’t do, rather it is about bringing what needs to be washed to the only One who is completely Pure. As He washes us with His Word, we are slowly being transformed. Just like a plate with crumbs returns to its original shine when rinsed, the more regularly we dirty a plate, the more often we need to wash it!

Dallas Willard in his book The Divine Conspiracy says that people rarely think the God of the Bible has any relevance to our real lives. Either it is silly or incovenient or impractical or… there are few who consider the possibility that God’s words are what brings life to us and our world, and that therefore, it impacts every aspect of our daily lives. As a song by Tenth Avenue North says, “only you can make me new.”

Minds on Truth

Feelings matter. They can influence and inform us, but if we readily rely on them to make decisions… well, let me ask you. What happens if we are governed by feelings?

Fickle. We are easily persuaded by whatever new idea or person comes along. Faithless, lacking confidence in anything we can’t immediately see. Foundation of sand, the opposite of steady and immovable.

James describes those who lives this way as double-minded, as opposed to focused, single-hearted. Faith, on the other hand, relies on what can’t always be felt. Christ is describes as our solid rock and the New Testament says we have been united with him.

Feelings matter, but we don’t count on them to determine our decisions. When our feelings feel prominent, we pause to gain perspective. We consider what we know to be true and we set our minds on truth. Then, we make decisions that we can stand behind, no matter how the wind blows.

The writer of Philippians says:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 

 

Listen, Speak, Do

The title of this post brings to my mind an image of three monkeys. You’ve seen them – one covering their eyes, one their ears, one their mouth. The thoughts often associated with these monkeys roughly translates in my mind “ignore what you don’t want to deal with in the way you choose”… a sort of ignorance is bliss mentality or perhaps pious is better… and all those are the opposite of this post’s position.

Today, I ask these questions: what activities can we pursue to receive more grace? Are there certain ways that God always works? How do I train instead of try?

In response to these questions, I propose three categories of blog topics: Listen, Speak, Do that summarize posts that I have either already written about or plan to write about it over the next year. Some of these topics, I will not comment further on at this time, but others I will soon dig deeper into. For example, when it comes to listening, or paying attention, we have covered the topic a lot so here is some background for those you may have missed it. We’ve explored listening to our lives, to others and to God as three ways to notice and to grow. To this category then, I will only comment that three ways of listening to God are through His Word, prayer as dialogue and practicing gratitude as I will speak more on these things in upcoming posts.

When it comes to speaking, I’m reminded what I so often forget; words matter. They carry weight, power even. Therefore, what we say and hear, and when we speak matters too. In the category of speaking, I highlight confession, encouragement and silence, or knowing when to not speak as future blog posts.

When it comes to action, I would like to make a distinction between discipline, as the fruit of our training, and rhythms, as routines that we practice. Distinguishing between discipline as law and training that leds to a more self-controlled life is often subtle, so we will start with this reminder that we are all learners. Some rhythms I plan to highlight then are work, rest, and celebration.

Listen, Speak, Do. Which topic are you most curious about? Let us know!

Lion-Owl-Beaver

I’ve been running into myself lately.

Do you know that feeling?

Acutely aware of both your strengths and your weaknesses, those things that bind and disconnect you from others. We tend to see the world from our perspective, and when we are wearing “our color” glasses, we often don’t recognize that others see differently. When we do get a glimpse of the differences, it can be fascinating!

Do you know through what lenses you view the world?

Have you ever met a Lion-Owl-Beaver? 

Here are some ways I “see”…

Independent and logical thinkers who are also persuasive leaders, ENTJs are business-minded and ambitious. They refuse to allow any subjective emotion to enter into their decision-making process, and as a result they can be seen as callous and cold. But these fierce individuals tend to be highly effective, successful, and incredibly powerful. They are truly the kings of the proverbial jungle.Shaper (Lion)

I see a bigger picture than some, but not as long-term as others. For example, I prefer to think in months/weeks/days, as opposed to years. Too many details weigh me down, but some find me too detailed, lol.

I’m project or goal oriented, meaning I’m visionary, focused, driven.

I see the unique potential in others and I want them to succeed.

I value time, organization, and role definition.

I need support and agreement.

I have a passion to lead.

Contemplator (Owl) INTPs are analytical and thoughtful individuals who prefer to work alone and who are often ill at ease in social situations. They are impatient with hierarchies and politics and would prefer that leaders prove their worth with merit, rather than with charisma and influence. Although they are not particularly social, they do have razor sharp wit (and claws), and are often surprised to learn that people do enjoy their company.

I think a lot, or one might say, reflect often 🙂

I value quiet, learning, and alone time, while also needing undivided attention and quality time.

I have a passion to know and a nature to be loyal.

I don’t always express or show my feelings, yet I can be sensitive.

I’m complex.

ISTJs are logical and word-working conservative types. They enjoy organization and regulation, and have a reputation for being serious individuals who take a practical approach to everything. They are dependable and thorough, sensible and earnest. Like a beaver hard at work on its dam, they are known for being incredibly dedicated workers who will do whatever is needed to get the job done. On the negative side, they have good intentions but can sometimes have a difficult time understanding the emotional needs of others.Doer (Beaver)

I like to get things done.

I want everyone to do their part.

I value planning, thinking and acting over feeling.

 

P.S. I’ve mentioned Life Languages before, and most of the above comes from that communication profile.

Three Things: Love, part 3

The gospel is not everything that we believe, do, or say. The gospel must primarily be understood as good news, and the news is not as much about what we must do as about what has been done. – Tim Keller

Faith is the trust that through Jesus I am God’s beloved daughter. Therefore, I am family with all his children. Reminding each other that God has accomplished this reconciliation frees us from the burden of working to earn something we already have. Therefore, we are given the power to change and grow.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Hope comes from faith. If God can love and change me, then there is nothing He is unable to restore. As I receive love and watch restoration unfold, I hold on to the promise that one day all things will be made new. Suddenly, my life has purpose and I can serve in mundane tasks with the awareness that I’m part of a bigger story. God has plans for us!

For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Faith leads to hope, and these two working together lead to love for others. As we experience personal freedom and hope for all, we are also free to be honest about who we are in light of who God is; we can admit we bring nothing to the table, and rejoice that we’ve been accepted anyway! The good news is our fuel and makes us ambassadors. We can listen to others and offer them the same love and acceptance we have experienced.

Now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13). Love is the greatest, but the other two are essential. I have to receive love and know it abounds in order to want to share it. Which of the three (faith, hope, love) do you find most challenging personally, or does it depend on the moment (it does for me!)? 

P.S. Much of the content of the Three Things series was inspired by Brad Watson’s book Sent Together (p. 20). Check out part 1 and part 2.

Three things: Hope, part 2

September 11. A day we all remember as a tragedy that would change us. For many millennials, perhaps a first entering into a world we had long heard was unstable. No longer we were confident to travel by air without a qualm. No longer was someone unaffected by what had happened.

A broken world. We know things are not as they are meant to be, deep down, we know. So how do we respond, or as a friend recently asked: How do we live in the midst of shootings, racism, hurricanes, and famines? In these things, faith is not enough.

Hope is what we have to have, or all seems pointless. Hope is not a denial of real hurt. It is not weak wishes that all will be well. So we agree with the author of Romans when we say that hope will not disappoint (Romans 5). Rather, if there is hope that I can change, nothing is beyond restoration; if not now, then one day, all will be made right (1 Corinthians 15:19-24 & Colossians 3).

I must have faith to have hope. I must hope to endure in my faith in the midst of this broken world. I must believe that God’s heart breaks more than mine & yours when he sees injustice. I must believe that He longs to fix it and that He is able and in the process of doing so. I must believe that He responds as we ask and that one day, he will do beyond all we imagine (Eph. 3:20).

What do you hope for? What makes it hard for you to have faith?

P.S. Much of the content of the Three Things series was inspired by Brad Watson’s book Sent Together (p. 20). Check out part 1 and part 3.

Three things: Faith, part 1

Ironman

A friend of ours competed in Ironman last weekend. We had cheered him on as he completed the half last year, and have seen him prioritize training the past couple of years in preparation for this race. Despite his practice swimming, his wetsuit rubbed his neck for the entire 2-mile swim.

As he transitioned to the bike, volunteers slapped sunscreen on his raw neck, and he felt chills throughout his whole body. Like it or not, he knew then, this shock would be repeated later as he transitioned to the run. At different moments during both of these events, he questioned how he would finish, and was also encouraged by the presence of others.

Hebrews 12

 The writer of Hebrews used the imagery of running a race to give us a picture of how we live the life we’ve been given:

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at him. Think about him so that you won’t get discouraged and stop trying. (Hebrews 12:1-3, easy-to-read version)

On Living, Blogging & Running

I think of Zach’s race, and of these verses, as I ponder the direction this blog is heading in… here are two similarities I see between the journey of this blog, our lives and a triathlon:

  1. Fix our eyes – Focus! Fuel. Motivation – We must never stop looking to Jesus… Think about him! Because God has already accomplished the most important thing through his Son, once upon a time in history, we can rest in what has been done. This is good news! Our weakness, His strength.
  2. Run the race – Just do it. Get moving! Endure… Face the obstacles as they come and let the big picture help you take the next step.

Faith & Doubt

Fixing our eyes and running the race is called faith. The Hebrews writer defined faith as that which “makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see.” If we are going to endure and persevere we need fuel and motivation. We have to believe that God has made it possible for us to succeed or we will never enter the race.

As far as doubt along the way? I think it is inevitable and a sign that we are on the right path. I know Zach had a lot of questions about how he was doing and if he would finish well, but the point is, he didn’t stop until he was done – 14.5 hours of moving! Well done, ZB!

What motivates you? What keeps you going when the wetsuit rubs you raw?

P.S. Much of the content of the Three Things series was inspired by Brad Watson’s book Sent Together (p. 20). Check out part 2.

Try not

There is this scene in Star Wars where Luke is feeling overwhelmed and says: “Ok, I’ll try.” Yoda quickly responds: No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” What I love most about Yoda’s answer is his passion and conviction. He does not hesitate to correct Luke, when many would have responded “How wonderful that you are going to try!”

Training for what?

This scene came to mind in the context of thinking about discipleship. In his book The Life You’ve Always Wanted, John Ortberg dedicates a whole chapter to Training vs. Trying. In it, he explains “the single most helpful principle… regarding spiritual transformation” as “There is an immense difference between training to do something and trying to do something.” He says “Learning to think, feel, and act like Jesus is at least as demanding as learning to run a marathon or play the piano.” 

Spiritual Calisthenics

Ortberg continues “Following Jesus simply means learning from him how to arrange my life around activities that enable me to live in the fruit of the Spirit.” He sees spiritual disciplines as a way of training, not as a measure of successful discipline. They “are to life what calisthenics are to a game.” He says “a disciplined follower of Jesus – a disciple – is not someone who has ‘mastered the disciplines,’” but rather a person “who can do the right thing at the right time in the right way with the right spirit.”

Thoughts?

Checklists are easier, except when they aren’t, and they lead to either a fluctuating and false sense or a lack of freedom. It is encouraging to me to hear that training is work, hard work, challenging work, but also that it is a choice with a bigger goal in mind. Remembering that frees me to desire to practice, as opposed to feeling guilty when I don’t. Your thoughts?