I’ve been studying up on personality types and how we relate to one another. It’s pretty interesting. Certainly, there are a lot of books on the subject, including several that specifically target Christians. Over the years, I have taken many different personality profiles. At first, I took them to learn how I, Scott, could perform better in the workplace. As time went on, I discovered that Scott performed better as a team, so I studied that. To my shame, I have a confession. The only true reason I studied that was for my own personal gain. Yes, I wanted the team to success, but primarily because it prospered me.
That’s the world of business, or so I was told. Not everyone thinks that way. For example, Mark Deterding owns an educational company called Triune Leadership Services (https://triuneleadershipservices.com/) that teaches principles of servant leadership as demonstrated by Jesus. I took the course, but, again, I’m not sure I was taking it for the right reasons. Maybe the time wasn’t right. Who knows. All I know is that I’m starting to look at personalities types differently than I ever have. I’m starting to look at it from the angle of knowledge for the sake of appreciating people that are different than me and for adapting the way I interact with them rather than trying to get them to interact better with me.
This is no easy task, mind you. My self-serving nature is constantly looking for attention. Even so, something is changing, and I am starting to enjoy all this for better reasons. Certainly, the topic is interesting in that it is quite complicated and involved. Let me just list of few of the different “languages” people speak.
– Birth Order (Oldest, Middle, or Youngest Child)
– Gender (Male, Female, and so on.)
– Generational (Boomer, Millennials, etc.)
– The 5 Love Languages (Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch) by Gary Chapman
– The 7 Behavioral Life Languages (Mover, Doer, Influencer, Responder, Shaper, Producer, Contemplator) by Fred and Anna Kendall
I think you get the idea. People are complicated. It is these types of differences that can cause conflict. Yet, we are commanded to figure this stuff out, right?
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Clearly, I have fallen short on this command. I thought this was directed at OTHER people to do everything THEY can to live peaceably with ME. Obviously, that attitude, it now seems, only contributes to the overall problem. “If possible” isn’t possible if I’m not even in the game. How can I be in the game if I don’t even understand the rules of interaction? How can I be in the game if I don’t even want to know the rules? Seriously, folks! This isn’t looking good for the home team! Now take it the next step, “so far as it depends on you.” That puts the monkey on my back. “So far” means I must give it my best effort, does it not? Whew. Can’t say as I’ve done much of that when I haven’t even bothered to understand the game.
I would like to say that I’m pretty reasonable. For the most part, I think people would agree. However, I know some who would disagree that I’m even a little bit reasonable. Some would say I’m unreasonable some of the time. Some would say that I am unreasonable more than I care to admit. Please don’t respond in agreement. I’m starting to get the message. Suffice it to say that I’m starting to make changes for the better.
The exciting part of all this is that this “challenge” could be quite interesting. If I look at it as an adventure of a lifetime rather than the death walk to the electric chair, I might have a good time. In fact, it just might significantly change my life! Could it not? In just the last couple days, I heard someone say something to this effect, “Just imagine what your life would be like if….” If I what? If I learned how to talk to people? Yeah. What would that look like? Maybe my life would be much more peaceful. Maybe I would love people in ways I never imagined. Maybe I would feel love from them that I never even knew they were giving me. Maybe they would love me in new ways or for the first time?
You see what I mean?
Psalm 90:10, 12 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away….So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
My time on this earth is limited. In fact, it’s winding down fast. Yes, in many ways I’ve squandered my time, but it doesn’t have to be like that going forward. Right? Time to make some changes.
Father, I thank you for continually showing me ways to improve my life, by training me to be like Jesus. I desire to learn these lessons the easy way. Please be quick to get me back on track when I wander. I do look forward to doing everything I can to live in peace with all. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers