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?

 

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.

Summer Group Ideas

It can be tricky to stay connected during the summer. On the one hand, there is more daylight and usually more flexibility in schedules. On the other, everyone is doing more and heading out of town at different times.

Here is an article my mom recently came across on ways to connect as a group during the summer months. It is primarily geared toward women, but could be adapted for any groups. One idea our community recently explored was a park night. We brought picnic food and lawn games and hung out with whoever was available and whoever they wanted to bring.

Apprentices

We’ve been dialoguing about the idea of making a difference. We’ve commented on the role of singleness, marriage and community. I think of these posts as interpreting the “who” and “how.”

Today’s post asks the “what” and why” – what is it we want to change and what is our motivation for doing so? Each person will likely interpret this question differently, and that is part of why working together will ultimately create a greater impact. Such diversity working together, however, creates its own challenges as we learn to relate and work together.

To whom or what are you being discipled?

The apostle John was often referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved” and his basis for community seems to be a quote by Jesus saying,

34 b“just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

In light of this verse, it would seem the motivation for community, in marriage or otherwise, is love and that this verb is a distinguishing mark of a disciple of Jesus.

What do you think of when you hear the word disciple? Discipline? There does seem to be a connection (more on this in a later post), but some context and synonyms might help as well.

Jewish Disciples

During the time Jesus was on earth, Jewish people who wanted to learn from a specific Rabbi would choose to become that Rabbi’s disciple. The idea was understood that the learner would be a type of apprentice, studying and practicing, following in the ways their master taught.

Rabbis had different interpretations of the Jewish Scriptures, referred to as the Torah, or the first five books of today’s common Bible. Further, when Rabbis would share a new way of interpreting something, they would say “It has been said, but I say…” This phrase was revolutionary because the Rabbi was claiming to have a new perspective on what was traditionally accepted. In fact, Rabbis making such statements only came along every few hundred years.

Jesus’ Disciples

Jesus used this phrase repeatedly during his public ministry. He interpreted everything from whom to love to paying taxes in light of a new way of thinking. At the time, it was completely cross-cultural.

Disciples of Jesus then were understood to be those who spent the most time with him, seeking to know how he interpreted the Scriptures, and practicing living in the ways that He did. Primarily, they were learners. Jesus taught many, but he made a distinction between the crowds and his disciples.

Love is the goal

John the Baptist also had disciples, as have many others throughout history. In fact, I think we are all constantly learning, from infancy through adulthood. Sometimes we do so spontaneously, and without much thought, but at other times, we are cognizant, and occasionally even purposeful, in our pursuit of knowledge.

We are all learners. In fact, Adam & Eve’s fall was really their desire to know more than they were ever intended to know. Jesus’ said if we love one another, we will be recognized as being a student of his. This characteristic, as well as its implications, will ultimately influence the “what” and “why” of making a difference. We will as John says elsewhere “love, because he first loved us,” at least sometimes!

As you seek to positively impact the world around you, I wonder…

  • Who are you? What unique gifts do you have to contribute?
  • Who is around you? In what ways will you work together to make a difference?
  • What is your primary goal? What is your motivation for this goal?
  • Who can you learn from? Who are they leading you to become?

-Please note my understanding of the word disciple in Jewish/Jesus context was taken from the book Rest, by Keri Wyatt Kent.

The Beatitudes

This summer our church is studying the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). The beginning of the series started with the Beatitudes. I have to admit they never impacted me that much in the past; the words didn’t seem to make much sense, but this time around it seems refreshing. Here’s what I’ve learned so far!

My Commentary on Chapter 5:1-12

Chapter 5 begins with a crowd, Jesus sitting down (note his posture) and his disciples coming to him. The context is just after Jesus has spent time in the wilderness and named 4 of his disciples.

He teaches them, using the word “blessed” more than any other, but describing the characteristics of those who have received favor. We often think of blessing in the context of sneezing or southern hospitality, but the word here implies undeserved receipt of benefits, like someone who has inherited money without having done anything to earn it.

The Opposite Game

Jesus then lists characteristics, beginning with “poor in spirit.” We played the opposite game to help us wrap our minds around the meanings of these phrases, so I encourage you to pause and think of the opposite of these phrases – poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger & thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart peacemakers, persecuted.

Tricky, eh? Brainstorming with others was helpful because we moved from “poor in spirit” to “rich in spirit” to “entitled,” the latter being a word we are more familiar with in today’s context. The idea offers an alternative to “blessed” and we were reminded that the crux of the message hangs on to holding on to both of these truths simultaneously.

Both And

We are the “blessed poor in spirit,” those who deserve nothing, but who have been given everything. The rest of the phrases seem to be related to this overarching idea. So if we are first able to remember our own brokenness, we are secondarily able to “mourn” for the brokenness we see around us.

These are the “beatitudes,” or the “blessed are you whos.” We often hear them as an impossible to-do list. They are impossible, but they are not commands. Rather, they are characteristics of a posture. In reference to verse one, it would seem a posture of a disciple of Jesus. The opportunity here is “check your posture.” What do you see? Where do you need to grow?

You can’t change it! You can’t fix it! You can receive it.

Rejoice!

The only “to do” we are given comes in verse 12: “Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad” and I think in context we could say we do this as we remember what we deserve (nothing) and what we’ve been given (everything). We celebrate because God’s economy is the opposite of what we regularly see and experience, and then we are free to relate to others in radically new ways. As a new friend commented according to the text, we’ve been given “the kingdom of heaven.”

Intentional Community

Singleness and Marriage are not the only relational ways to make a difference. In fact, I would say both of these are tools that will affect how we relate to others, but that our primary way of relating is learned in community. The people you spend the majority of your time with will impact how you live your life.

So who is around you? Do you like what you see? We all have strengths and weaknesses, so this is not an invitation to judge, but rather a call to grow as we interact with the people who are already around us. Just like the sum of our daily food choices will impact our overall nutrition, the sum of our daily interactions with people will impact our overall relational capacity. How do others experience you?

My pastor once gave us a visual of community as a net. He said that each of us is connected to several people around us, and each of them are connected to several others. Together, we are able to create a NETwork in which more and more people are invited in. I love that image because it reminds me that the moments that feel ordinary matter simply because they are part of a larger picture.

To me, intentional community is choosing to actively engage in the little pieces of rope closest to you. Sometimes active engagement means investing in someone else, “being there” for them. Other times it means allowing them to care for you, receiving the gift of friendship. Together, we will make the world a better place!

Marriage & Impact

We celebrated the marriage of our friends Joe & Jessi this past weekend! It was a beautiful blast, and extra fun that it transpired on Hoopfest weekend, as it reminded as of our wedding on Hoopfest weekend three years ago today! As I reflect on marriage, I want to also connect to last Tuesday’s post entitled Here’s to Making a Difference.

I was single for way longer than I have been married, and although it took way more time than I would have liked, I came to believe that singleness was a gift. Marriage is also a gift, but the gifts are different! As I learned who I was and what I was able to offer the world as an individual, I impacted the sphere around me, albeit an evolving one! As a couple, Jeremy and I are able to impact the world around us in different ways than we did independently.

Timing matters. Until yesterday, Joe & Jessi were awesome individuals. Today, that awesomeness is being molded and magnified. They, and we, will continue to make a difference in each of our four separate spheres, but now, we, and they, will also have the opportunity to make an impact together, as unique couples.

How are you and your spouse different from other couples you know?

Make us laugh! 🙂