8. Personality Type
Our personality is our inherent nature, our most natural (non-sinful) tendencies. Our Maker designed this inner person of ours before birth. Subsequent life experiences were merely servants in His sovereign plan to further etch out that personality. David recognized and articulated this in Psalm 139:13,14 (NKJV, underline added): For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb…Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
Personality, Sin, & Spiritual Maturity
Human personality--I am sure you have noticed, at least in others--has been corrupted and contorted by sin. Instead of a beautiful healthy balance of all the types, instead of time and place limits on our dominant type, we find sinful extremes and dysfunctions. Nevertheless, no one is doomed to their personality blind spots, deficits, and non-types. Jesus sets captives free and makes us free indeed. However, after the born-again experience, we are full participants in that freedom project (the Biblical word for this is obedience). We must own and declare war on those very personality issues that drive sinful extremes and dysfunctions. It is God's will and command that we grow into maturity, freedom, and balance (1Th 5:23,24, Heb 6:1). Through daily intimacy with the Lord and ongoing obedient participation in the transformation process, we can and will cultivate a comprehensive Christlikeness in our personality.
Personality & Vocational Destiny
The weakest traits in our personality need strengthening and growth, while the dominant traits need tempering and wisdom, ultimately resulting in balance across the board in our daily life. God gave us a personality type for our vocational calling, not for normal daily life. In daily life we are supposed to be balanced and calibrated across situations and moments. This moment might call for boldness and leadership, but the next might call for quietness or calm cooperation and some other response. Your God-given personality type is fitted to your vocational purpose, not daily life. Reflect on it. See how living daily life through your dominant personality type only will ruin your relationships and lead to many extremes and dysfunctions.
It is lifechanging to understand that our original personality type is fitted to our life calling or destiny. We each have a vocational purpose in God to fulfill upon the earth for His kingdom. David said his inner and outer being were predesigned by God to streamline with the days prewritten and preordained for him before one of them ever came to be (Ps 139:13-16 NKJV). In other words, his personality type was creatively fit to his work destiny. Though you have the capacity to express all the personality types, one or two are foundational and most natural to you, underpinning what you were destined to do with your life.
Personality & The Not Good Enough Feeling
There is no doubt some personality types are much harder on themselves than others. Part of this comes from other factors (Chapters 1-7), however, even if those factors were removed, some types would still struggle with the not good enough feeling. This is because their personality is taking the good and noble concept of personality responsibility to a grueling extreme. Personal responsibility is Biblical and critical, but taken to a negative, sinful extreme, it becomes a gloomy cloud of never feeling good enough.
My personality type tends to take personal responsibility to a grueling extreme. Now what?
Meet with the Lord daily and cooperate with Him nonstop.
The Lord is committed to conforming our personality to be like His personality (Ro 8:29). He is a master potter daily unmolding, molding, and remolding us through and through (1Th 5:23,24). We, however, have the freewill to accelerate or decelerate or entirely stop this process. Though God is the supervisor and architect of our transformation, His workings are designed to work with us and through us (Php 2:13). The vernacular word for this is cooperation or full participation; the theological word is obedience.
We are required to proactively invest. To meet with Him, seek Him, depend on Him, obey Him every day. As we do, His invisible hand consciously and subconsciously molds our personality. Willpower alone can produce only temporary and surface changes, but daily intimacy with Him and cooperation with His workings can produce genuine transformation at the deepest levels.
The writer of Hebrews compares you to a farmer and his field (Heb 6:7,8). You are the proactive farmer of your spiritual growth: breaking up your heart's fallow ground (Hos 10:11,12, Jas 4:8-10), sowing spiritual seeds (Gal 6:7-9), and depending on God to do His part of sending rain and sunlight to give the increase and growth (1Co 3:7). Our personalities mature and balance as we tend to our field proactively, walking closely with Jesus and cooperating with His transformational activity in us.
Hang around what you need to become.
This point is too simple. God created us to learn from others. We do not even have to try, it just happens. Growing up, you did not try to become like your parents or siblings, it just happened. God designed your soul and brain that way. Use this mechanism to your advantage in the maturation of your personality. Hang around personality types you want to be more like. Observe them, listen to them, bond with them, imitate the healthy and positive aspects of their personality. You'd be amazed at how each personality type has its own unique insights and benefits. When combined into one person with balance, you have a beautifully complete and remarkably wise individual. Proverbs 13:20 and Philippians 4:9 say you can become whatever you hang around, for good or for bad. Wire into those who do not struggle with, or have overcome, the not good enough feeling.
Deliberately practice the balance of your personality extreme.
Does your personality extreme push you towards the not good enough feeling? Write down the proper balance of that extreme, maybe something like, I am not personally responsible for everything and everybody. I will grow in wisdom as to what I am truly responsible for and not responsible for.
Practice that balance daily. Put off the old self with its sins and extremes, put on the new self with all its Christlikeness and balance (Eph 4:22-24). Put off...put on...put off...put on. Put off/resist the extreme, put on/practice the balance. It will take a bit of time and repetition, but with the Holy Spirit's presence you can train yourself to be godly, 1Timothy 4:7 says.
Be deliberate about practicing the balance of your personality extremes, even if it is just one small act a day. Talk to the Holy Spirit right before you do it. Tell one or two Christian friends what you are doing and have them pray with you. Keep doing it until the other personality types are baked into your new, mature, balanced personality.
Be whatever type the situation calls for.
The more your personality grows and balances, the freer you will be to move in and out of the types fluidly. We need to be whatever type the situation calls for. Sometimes, like Paul said, we need to be a merciful or empathic type, weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. At other times we need to put our foot down firmly and be a holy or lionish type, fearlessly confronting major error or kicking someone in the rear to get them going (of course I do not mean literally kicking them). At times we may need to be a relational or golden retriever type and connect in a meaningful emotional or intellectual way with loved ones. And, sure enough, there are times to eat, drink, dance, and simply enjoy life freely as a unique or sanguine or otter type.
Maturity. Balance. We must be complete people with complete personalities, free to express any attribute of God's fourfold nature at any time. 2Corinthians 13:9,11 (NKJV): …this also we pray, that you may be made complete…Become complete…