I’ve been writing about change this week. But before I go on, a conversation I had tonight with a young woman prompts me to write this as well.
When we’re talking about change, especially as Christians, I want to make it clear that we are NOT talking about changing one’s personality.
That’s not the change I am referring to. We are all born with unique personalities.
The definition of personality is: the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.
Our personality is what makes us respond to the world the way we do. We do change over the years. As we age, we often become more “tempered”. But our basic personality never changes. Nor should it.
Oh, we may refine our personalities a bit to adapt to the world. For example, I’m quite outgoing but as a hospital chaplain, I had to “tone it down a notch” to make me appear as empathetic as I really was.
Then there are others who, because they are quite reticent, need to be more expressive so they don’t seem “cold”.
Of course, there are personality “disorders” as well. The definition of a personality disorder is: “a deeply ingrained and maladaptive pattern of behavior of a specified kind, typically manifest by the time one reaches adolescence and causing long-term difficulties in personal relationships or in functioning in society.”
So let me share a little of that conversation.
The young woman was having difficulty making a choice. One involved going out and having fun with friends. The other staying home and having friends over. She was really in a quandary.
I know this young person very well. She isn’t comfortable in large settings. Yet she feels she must challenge herself a little. I agreed that challenging ourselves is good at times. It is. I try to challenge myself a little as well. For example, I like to be the driver for anything my friends and I do. I like to know where I’m going, how long I’m going to be gone, and the freedom of knowing that if I’m the one driving, I’m the one (you know what’s coming, don’t you?) the one in control.
For example, I like to drive when my friends and I hit the stores or garage sales. I like to know where I’m going, how long I’m going to be gone, and the freedom of knowing that if I’m the one driving, I’m the one (you know what’s coming, don’t you?) the one in control. That’s who I am. There are reasons I need that kind of control but my reasons will not be shared.
So I encouraged this young woman to learn to be comfortable with who she is. Should she challenge herself and go out?
Certainly, there are going to be times she should. It’s always good to challenge ourselves but we also need to learn to be comfortable in our skin. This is the one area of our life where we need to learn acceptance rather than constantly challenge. In fact, I would go so far as to say, we can’t change in any area of our life unless we learn to accept ourselves first. This is exactly
When we accept our personality, we accept God’s design. When we accept our personality, we accept the future God has for us.
When I started blogging, I often thought, “Who do you think you are?” “Why would anyone listen?”
But the truth is, this is my personality. I am an encourager by nature. It is “how” God made me. It is “who” God made me. I don’t have to worry then about the “why would anyone listen?” If God is behind it and I am true to myself, people will listen. Why? Because God always honors our efforts when we are being faithful to his call in our life. And I would suggest that we can’t be all God created us to be unless we know who we are and are comfortable with who we are.
Our personality is the one area of our life where we should learn to accept ourselves and not feel the need to change.
However, our personality though does not excuse bad behavior. We can alter it to a degree but we can never change it. God created a unique personality in me and in you and we shouldn’t try to change it. Does the clay tell the potter he made a mistake? God emphatically says, NO!
- Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
- You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?(Isaiah 29:16)
God bless and I hope you have a good day.