I am a sucker for a good personality inventory. I love the Meyers-Briggs Assessment and regularly try to guess the personalities of people I meet. I usually get pretty close. The stronger the personality, the easier to spot whether someone is an Introvert/Extrovert or Perceiver/Judger etc. I recently went through a book for the third time with my kids called Nurture by Nature. This book uses the Meyers-Briggs Assessment to pinpoint your child’s personality. Then chapter by chapter it unloads hints and advice on how to parent each specific child.
All three of our kids are a pretty good blend of Dave and me. The fascinating observation regarding my kids’ personalities is that they each have a dual nature about them. The hardcore leadership of my firstborn backfires at times. She has a great sense of right and wrong and expects everyone to fall in line. She gets angry when she sees injustices and irritated when others sit on life’s sidelines without sharing her passion to seek beneficial change. She questions authority. She questions traditions. She seeks improvement in everything. She is hard on herself and others, an amazing future leader tempted to isolate herself.
The compassion of my middle child comes with a heightened sensitivity and loads of guilt. He has all the mercy for everyone in the world except himself. My middle kiddo is the most loving of the family. We all recognize this. He has more compassion in his pinky toe than the lot of us. With this compassion comes great emotional turmoil because life simply does not deliver peace, love, and joy to all the hurting. He can hardly discuss our adopted child through Compassion International without distress. He gets depressed when the rest of us forget to include her in prayer, a future humanitarian discouraged by humanity.
When I look at my own personality I see a similar dual nature. I am an INFP (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving). I am idealistic. I place a high priority of sticking with my personal values, in my case, my faith. My personality is unwavering loyal to my faith, my family, and my friends. However, when those whom I love the most are threatened, trust goes out the window. It is extremely hard to gain my trust initially, and once that trust is lost, forgive me, Lord, but that trust is gone. I am the best friend you will ever have or forever an acquaintance.
No matter how hard I fight my tendencies to re-learn trust. It is extremely difficult. I work on it daily through prayer. I nurture the side of me that needs space, quiet, and solitude to regain a sense of reality and to train my brain to seek peace and forgiveness with others.
I believe God made each of us with a purpose and plan in mind. I do not believe God’s intention was for us to change our personalities. I believe His intention is for us to use the best of our personalities to challenge others, to love the unlovable, to cry with the hurting, to give without question. Whatever gift God gave us, we should use it to the fullest.
The biggest challenge for all of us is to avoid turning our personality into self-righteousness and to recognize our tendencies to step outside of God’s will. I can recognize when this is happening to me. When I can’t forgive or trust, I need to look up to God’s expectation for me to forgive when others have hurt me. He does. I should.
I would never tell my daughter that she should not challenge injustice in the world. I would never tell her that she should not be angry at inconsistencies in others. She should be angry at injustice and inconsistency. We all should. I am proud of her, and I admire her for her tenacity. We desperately need people like my daughter in our churches. We need people like her to hold us accountable and to encourage us to be right with God and others. Someone has to take a stand and challenge the rest of us, and it will be my kid if you don’t.
I would never make my son one iota less caring and loving toward others. He will make the best husband someday and the best friend. I hope he uses his gift to love those who the rest of us forget. I clearly see what is coming for his life. I fully expect to send him to a third world country on a mission field far away. I am proud of him, and I will wave goodbye to him with the knowledge that he goes with God.
I challenge myself and my kids to see God’s plan for our lives daily. I want them to be thankful for their gifts, thankful for their individuality, and always seeking God’s will and purpose for their lives. He made each of us with an purpose. Not one on earth is an accident. Seek God’s will. Be thankful for who he made you to be.
I am sure that God, who began a good work in you, will continue His work until it is finished on the day Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6