Isn’t it fascinating that God has created us in His own image yet we are all different in so many ways yet at the same time unique? Among the things that I marvel at, is this beauty that is expressed in our diversity. We are like pieces of a puzzle that form a beautiful tapestry- one that God Himself has created.
This diversity can be seen in how we react to different situations, our different ways of thinking and thought processing, feeling and how we behave and act in different circumstances. These are the traits that make us unique and they can basically be referred to as our personality or temperament.
This is further expressed in how some people tend to be more outgoing and sociable while others, like me, tend to be more laid back and reserved. Why some are organized and meticulous while others are not. Why some people are more aggressive while others prefer taking a back seat.
The list goes on and on but the point is that we are all different and unique in our own way. We all bring unique benefits to those around us. However, it is important to first begin by having the understanding that there is no one who is more important, superior or better than the other.
As Oswald Chambers has written in his book, My Utmost for His Highest, “Personality is that peculiar, incalculable thing that is meant when we speak of ourselves as distinct from everyone else.”
While there is much research that has been done and much more comprehensive material and literature that has been written in this area, I would like to share my thoughts on the same while looking at it from a biblical point of view that will help us understand that we are created differently for the glory of God.
To begin with, I believe that knowing who you are in terms of your personality is of immense importance. This is because it affects your relationships, interactions with other people and also your spiritual well-being.
If asked to describe ourselves, I am certain each one of us would be able to describe him/herself since we have our own perceptions of ourselves. However, we are able to get a better picture of ourselves when we consider our perceptions as well of those of others, especially the friends and family who know us.
In addition to that, there are many online tests that are available nowadays if you would really want to know yourself better. The importance of this is that you will get to understand yourself better and to learn of your strengths and weaknesses. You will then be at a better position to take advantage of your strengths and to work on your weaknesses by God’s grace and for His glory.
In general, people can be broadly categorized as either being introverted or extroverted. Introverts tend to be more laid back, withdrawn, reserved and quiet while extroverts are generally outgoing and talkative. In addition, introverts thrive more in solitude while extroverts enjoy being around people.
At times it may not be very clear whether someone is an extrovert or an introvert based on the general descriptions of the two. There is more to it than just extroversion and introversion and I would encourage you to find out more about personalities and hopefully get to know yours by evaluating yourself, talking to friends or even doing a personality test online.
Your Personality vs Your Identity
Finding out your personality type helps you to know the traits and characteristics that constitute who you are. However, you should guard yourself against the danger of making your personality your identity. Your identity is not found in your personality but in Christ (1 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:3).
Finding out your personality type simply helps you to learn of your strengths and weaknesses…sort of like what you are bringing to the table. It allows you to accept yourself and where you are at the moment and provides an opportunity for you to maximize on your strengths while working on your weaknesses.
Ultimately, if you are a believer, your identity is found in Christ (Galatians 2:20). As believers, we should not allow our personality to define us to the extent that we find our identity in it. While it may sound confusing, what I mean is that your personality describes who you are but it does not define who you are.
For example, for a person who is introverted, you would use the word “introvert” to describe them…right? However, it is not all that they are. Therefore, they cannot and should not use their personality (in this case introversion) as an excuse for disobedience against God. An example would be when it comes to the command we have been given to share the gospel with others.
No one is exempt from obeying God’s word on the basis of their personality. We are all called to walk in obedience regardless of whether we find it easy or not. If a certain personality trait keeps us from reaching God’s ultimate calling for us, it has no place in our life.
Whenever we are tempted to use our personality as an excuse not to do something that is required of us especially by God through His word, we should remember that God calls us to obey Him without question and that obedience is better than sacrifice.
Do not be tempted to think that God will understand that you are an introvert and therefore that’s why you declined to accept that leadership position in church or because you are an extrovert, that He will understand why you hurt other people because you are not careful with your words. Whatever the case, your personality should never be an excuse for you to sin or to walk in disobedience to God.
We are One
We are all created differently in order to complement one another and in so doing to glorify God who has created us as we are: we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). As I mentioned above, no one is more important than the other. We are all members of one body as Paul says:
“Just as each one of us has one body with many members, and these members do not have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. ”
Just as each part in a body plays a role, in the same way we each have a role to play in the body of Christ (the church) and each one of us is important. We all need each other and we can not live on our own or by ourselves. As the phrase goes, no man is an island.
This therefore means that we should not look down upon other people because they are different from us. We should not try to fix them as though they have a problem that needs to be fixed. On the other hand, we should learn to accommodate people with different personality types from ours by appreciating them as they are, by being patient with them and helping them in their areas of weakness.
Even as we accommodate and bear with one another, there is also a place for encouraging each other to get out of our comfort zones especially for those of us who fall under the reserved and quiet side of the spectrum. This requires an act of finding the balance between the two and should be done gently, which is something we can always trust God to help us with.
To the reserved people like me, I would like to encourage you to also challenge yourself by getting out of your comfort zone for God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Some of the ways I do this is by initiating conversations, taking up responsibilities that would require me to interact with people more and being in social gatherings.
In conclusion, it is not a sin to be an introvert or an extrovert. God has created us with different personalities for His glory. We should all work towards helping each other grow in our faith by stirring each other towards love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25).
This should be done by helping each other maximize on our strengths while working to overcome our weaknesses by God’s grace because this is all part of sanctification. Feel free to leave a comment in the section below and to share your thoughts.