Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Shape of My Faith

I have begun another meme called What's the shape of your faith?
Each week, I will be asked to share a bit about myself, my personality, my passions, my life experiences and then analyze them as far as how those things are affected by my faith or how my faith affects those things. I am starting a tad late in the game. But only by a week. So I will try to do one today and one midweek to catch up.
For the first week, we were asked to share our testimony. I have already done that previously in my blog. You can find my testimony story here.
I apologize I do have some coding issues with my blog I am trying to figure out and so it may look a little funny.

My next assignment was to take a Keirsey Temperament like test to learn about my personality type. I was then to apply it in some or all of these ways....

How does your specific personality affect how you relate to those around you?
How does it affect how you relate to other Christians?
How does it affect your ministry?
Did you recognize anyone else’s personality when looking over the types?
How might this affect how you relate to them?
How does you personality affect your relationship to the Lord?

So, first of is a little about me, an ESFJ (Extroverted feeling with introverted sensing)

As an ESFJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system.

ESFJs are people persons - they love people. They are warmly interested in others. They want to like people, and have a special skill at bringing out the best in others. They are extremely good at reading others, and understanding their point of view. The ESFJ's strong desire to be liked and for everything to be pleasant makes them highly supportive of others. People like to be around ESFJs, because the ESFJ has a special gift of invariably making people feel good about themselves. They have a strong need to be liked, and to be in control. They often change their own manner to be more pleasing to whoever they're with at the moment.

The ESFJ takes their responsibilities very seriously, and is very dependable. They value security and stability, and have a strong focus on the details of life. They see before others do what needs to be done, and do whatever it takes to make sure that it gets done. They enjoy these types of tasks, and are extremely good at them.

ESFJs are warm and energetic. They need approval from others to feel good about themselves. They are hurt by indifference and don't understand unkindness. They are very giving people, who get a lot of their personal satisfaction from the happiness of others. They want to be appreciated for who they are, and what they give. They're very sensitive to others, and freely give practical care. ESFJs are such caring individuals, that they sometimes have a hard time seeing or accepting a difficult truth about someone they care about.

All ESFJs have a natural tendency to want to control their environment. Their dominant function demands structure and organization, and seeks closure. ESFJs are most comfortable with structured environments.

ESFJs respect and believe in the laws and rules of authority, and believe that others should do so as well. They're traditional, and prefer to do things in the established way, rather than venturing into unchartered territory. Their need for security drives their ready acceptance and adherence to the policies of the established system. This tendency may cause them to sometimes blindly accept rules without questioning or understanding them.

ESFJs at their best are warm, sympathetic, helpful, cooperative, tactful, down-to-earth, practical, thorough, consistent, organized, enthusiastic, and energetic. They enjoy tradition and security, and will seek stable lives that are rich in contact with friends and family.

ESFJs are easily wounded. And when wounded, their emotions will not be contained. They by nature "wear their hearts on their sleeves," often exuding warmth and bonhomie, but not infrequently boiling over with the vexation of their souls. Some ESFJs channel these vibrant emotions into moving dramatic performances on stage and screen.

An ESFJ at odds with self is a remarkable sight. When a decision must be made, especially one involving the risk of conflict (abhorrent to ESFJs), there ensues an in-house wrestling match between the aforementioned black-and-white Values and the Nemesis of Discord. The contender pits self against self, once firmly deciding with the Right, then switching to Prudence to forestall hostilities, countered by unswerving Values, ad exhaustium, winner take all.

That was all so long, wasn't it? Sorry about that. If you actually read it all, I am impressed. It's funny, if you asked me to describe myself, I may have said a lot of that. I know who I am and what my strengths and weaknesses are. Okay, now for the fun part.

How do I relate to others, Christians and non-Christians? How does this affect my ministry?

Well, I am a good reader of people, I can tell you that. And I am usually able to sense how someone is feeling. I love to serve others and to make others around me comfortable. I do know that that does affect how I interact with non-Christians. I am sometimes very reserved about sharing my faith or trying to bring others to Jesus, because I am concerned about offending others. Not that sharing Christ is an offense, but some may see me as attacking them and their beliefs and I know that it would not only anger them, but it may possibly offend them as well. So, I do know from experience that I will hold back. However, I think if a non-Christian came to me with a problem they were having in their life and I could sense in a way they were asking for guidance or asking to know more about my faith, I would be able to share it with them and explain it with such passion and heart.

With Christians, I sometimes find myself judging of them. I know I shouldn't be and I know I have a huge plank in my own eye. But I do have strong beliefs as to how we should live our lives and interact with others. I get bothered easily when I see a Christian treating another person in a way that I feel is not loving, gentle or kind. I, of course, find it hard to approach the person about how I am bothered though, because of that fear of them not accepting me. But if it is something that bothers me, I may go talk to someone else about it, instead of the person involved. And that usually backfires on me and makes things worse.

Because I am an open person and genuinely interested in the feelings of others, I do know or at least hope that I am a person that Christians and non-Christians could feel they could come to with problems. I love to help.

Other than being held back in evangelism, another way I could see my personality affecting my ministry, is by possibly taking on too much. This has not been an issue as of yet, mainly because I have two young kids, but I could see this as a possible problem in the future. I like to do many things at once, am a hard worker and can't seem to sit still. I could see myself getting involved in too many different activities within the church and end up getting burnt out. This would affect how I interacted with others, in that when that happens I tend to be less social because I am just too focused on all I have to do. People may see that as being stuck up or reserved. But it's just that I have to shut down something, and usually socializing is what I shut down.

How does my personality affect my relationship with the Lord?

First and foremost, I am run by emotions. And sometimes my emotions can be contradictory to what the Lord would have me do in a situation. I can also be impulsive with my emotions and I usually have to tell myself to slow down and wait on the Lord.
Also, at times, I can be brought down easily and I find it hard to want to spend time in the word if I am feeling down or blue.

I like expressing my love to the Lord in worship. I love lifting my head up, with my eyes closed and hand up, singing just to Him. I, in that moment feel like I am in communion with Him.

I enjoy spending quiet time by doing a Bible Study or workbook. I like the structure of it and usually find it difficult to just sit and read the Bible in quiet time. I have to have an assigned reading or questions to ponder. Although at times, I do try to venture out of what's comfy for me to just sporadically read the Word, because I know He may need to speak to me through it.

I can easily be affected by things around me like music, television and the company I keep. Those things can pry on my emotions and I have to be careful as to what I let in or don't let it. When I get down or in a rut, I can be very influenced by music and television. I tend to start listening to music with lyrics that fit how I am feeling, which only brings me down more. In those times, I really need to be focused on God and reading His word. But I instead get lost in the secular music and the television shows that I know I really shouldn't watch. I may let non-Christian friends affect me too, by taking their input into consideration in such a way, that I may listen to it more than I should. I know it comes from a worldly context, but I start listening to it and it begins to sometimes take over what I know God would want me to do.

You know the portion above where it talked about how it is interesting to watch me in a debate with myself, it is so very true. I can have a war going on inside myself, with one part of me wanting to go one way and usually my emotional state wanting another. It is during those times again, where I know I need to turn off the music, unless it's worship music, turn off the TV and stay attuned to God and His Word.

This was all very fun. I hoped you enjoyed learning a bit more about me. I enjoyed looking at myself. Next time I will be talking about my passions.