Over the past few years God has given me a passion and joy in learning about personalities and the different personality frameworks. I’ve personally experienced how learning more about your own personality and the spiritual gifts God created you with can make a huge difference in our lives. 

Over 8 years ago, I attended a personality and spiritual gifts assessment class at our church. I began serving on a team, and while I liked the team, it just didn’t feel like the best fit for me, but I wasn’t really sure which team would be. 

My small group leader was on staff and knew what my results from that class were. Several months after that class she asked me if I wanted to join a new team they were forming. She knew it would fit one of my top giftings perfectly. 

She called out that gift and it changed my life. If she had not called that gift out, I would not have had my previous job or the job I have now. I served on that team until just recently. Now it’s eight years later. 

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your work; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:13-14

Maybe you were told this scripture truth growing up? Or maybe you have only ever heard what a screw up you were? Do our “souls know it very well” how God created us? I remember hearing this in church growing up, but then I always felt like the next question should be “okay, now what?” And that’s where I think personality, gifts, and purpose come in?  It has truly shifted my perspective in so many ways.

How do we learn more about how God created our personalities? How do we discover the spiritual gifts He has graced us with? How do those work together? And how do they point us toward our purpose? In learning these things I believe we come to know as one version says “full well” that we were fearfully and wonderfully made. 

I think it’s the enemy’s mission to keep our souls from knowing it very well. It’s never easy, but it’s worth it. I believe when we learn deep in our soul how God created us, with what gifts He’s given us, and how He wants us to use those for our purpose, that God dances over us with joy. 

That’s what I hope to explore more of here on the blog. With maybe a few other things I’m interested in scattered about. (I’ve never really had a niche for my blog. I’m interested in too many things, have too many hobbies. Plus I love to learn.) At least this is what I’m hoping to do. 

And I know it’s become the trendy thing. Especially the Enneagram. Which is one of the two personality frameworks I have studied about the most. You can’t scroll through Facebook without seeing another “What (fill in the blank) are you?” We all want to learn more about ourselves, but do we really want to do the work? 

I’ve never been one to follow the trends, though. I truly have found so much value and purpose in not only learning more about how God created me, but also helping others learn about their personalities and gifts. 

It’s the trendiness that gives me pause. My biggest pet peeve & frustration with the trendiness of it all?   We can read about personalities and learn about personalities, but unless we become intentional about noticing our patterns and allow the Holy Spirit to use what we’ve learned, all the knowledge won’t help us. Learning about our personality makes our excuses null and void. Our personality is not a crutch for our character.

Our personality is not a crutch for our character.

I’ve discovered I have more compassion and grace for others when I stop and set my mind with the perspective they see things from. Studying about the different ways God has created people’s personalities is teaching me the ability to step outside of the frustrations their behavior can cause me which in turn lowers my stress level (at least most days.) It helps me to understand they aren’t behaving the way they behave just to make my life more difficult. 

Keeping my thoughts in this mindset isn’t always easy, but stopping my thoughts from veering off into frustration. Instead, if I think in terms of personality I’m able to keep an eternal perspective.

And we cannot do it on our own in our own power. Only through Christ, God’s grace, and the Holy Spirit can it make a difference. We have to get out of the Holy Spirit’s way and it’s a constant work in progress. But if we allow it, we will see glimpses of how God sees us through Christ and how we will be when we are fully redeemed. 

Being in a healthy place spiritually with your personality plus discovering your spiritual giftings and combining that with your passions can lead you to your purpose. 

Your passions may change as you go through different seasons of life. Your giftings may grow stronger or some may not be used as much. But in every season I believe the purpose to which you are called for that season will always fit your gifts and personality. 

So here’s to learning more about ourselves and how God created us and using that to discover our purpose and in the process bring our ultimate purpose to light which is to glorify Him. 

Celebrate their Wins

Earlier this week I found out a friend had something really good happen for them. I can’t share what exactly it was because it’s not my story to share, but trust me, it was a seriously good thing. 

And I am so incredibly happy for this friend. I love that this good thing happened to them, but when another friend found out they were extremely negative about it. Jealousy tinged this other friend’s words. 

I get it. It’s easy to look at the good things happening in another person’s life and compare it to our own life, to let it bog us down. 

We MUST fight the temptation to let that jealous and envious spirit set up in our own spirit. That’s exactly what the enemy wants. If we are so focused on the good things happening to others, and on how those good things aren’t happening to us, then we can never fulfill the purpose God has for us. 

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. (Proverbs 14:30) 

I’m convinced the more we choose to celebrate the good things happening for others the easier it becomes to choose it over and over as that choice creates healthy pathways in our brain. 

In the end all that being negative or jealous about another’s good fortune does is rob us of our joy. We get to choose joy. We get to choose to find joy in the good things happening to others. We get to choose to live a life full of joy. 

Psalm 16:11 tells us “You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is  fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forever more.” 

Doesn’t finding fullness of joy sound better that dried up bones? 

The Myth of Balance

Balance is a myth. These baskets of laundry sat on this bench in our bedroom waiting to be folded for a few days. The dishwasher needed to be emptied and a pile of dirty dishes sat in the sink for a couple of day and our floors need to be vacuumed. I chose to rest and nap one afternoon this past weekend instead of taking care of these chores.

The times when I have things all caught up at home AND caught up at work doesn’t always happen. Does my personality want things to be in place and everything at home taken care of and also have all my tasks on track at work and find time to do the things I love like my Young Living business and reading and crafting that feed my soul? Sure.

But I’ve also learned that there is grace. Grace for when I’m behind at work. (I’m so thankful for the great leaders I have at work.) Grace for when the baskets of clothes sit there for a few days before being folded. Grace for feeding my soul with the things I’m passionate about and love doing instead of chores. I have learned to give myself grace & let go of perfection when unexpected seasons of life require a bit of un-balance. 

What are you learning to find grace for when you can’t quite stay caught up?

Light from Distant Stars Book Review

“He stares down at the body again, and sadness keeps him leaning to one side. It’s the physical weight of emotion and that weight is not centered inside of him but skewed, imbalanced.”
This second paragraph of Light from Distant Stars hooked me. I think most of us would agree that we all have experiences from our past that the emotions of them can render us skewed and imbalanced. A story isn’t near as impactful unless the author draws us into the character’s story and make us feel such empathy for him. And Shawn Smucker does just that in his latest novel.
Light from Distant Stars is the story of Cohen Marah, a middle-aged man haunted by his broken childhood. When a tragic accident happens to his father, he wonders if he is responsible and the circumstances plunge him into memories from his childhood, forcing him to face wounds from his past.
My favorite novels have a little bit of mystery, a bit of the supernatural, and the spiritual. Smucker weaves Cohen’s past and present into a dark and sad, but beautiful story. As Cohen works through the memories of a painful childhood, he finds grace and redemption at the end.
Light from Distant Stars kept me turning the page to see what happened next and surprised me with a turn that I did not see coming. I am so glad I discovered Shawn Smucker’s The Day the Angels Fell last year and this year Light from Distant Stars did not disappoint.
I received an advanced reader copy of the book from the publisher and this is my honest review.

In the Midst of Grief

Disclaimer: If you are struggling and find yourself sinking into depression and unable to function normally or even if you want to keep yourself from becoming too depressed, please seek professional help. 
Grief. It’s a part of life. Usually hitting you when you least expect it. And of course in our culture it feels like we are supposed to buck up, move on, get over it.
But that’s not healthy.
It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be sad. Some days you will find tears flow more easily. Other days you will find putting one foot in front of the other is a bit easier than the day before. Then like a roller coaster you may feel like you’re going up hill again. And that’s okay too.
What I’ve learned is we can’t let it paralyze us. We can’t let it steal our joy. We have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We have to keep winding the clock so to speak.
My great grandfather had a cuckoo clock. He loved clocks and he especially loved that clock. Every night before he went to bed, he pulled the cords winding it up again ready for another day. The clock may have begun slowing down toward the end of the day, but he would adjust the hands & wind them once again to keep time for another twenty-four hours.
In our grief we have to “wind our clock.” It may look like folding a load a laundry when we just want to go to bed. Or maybe it’s forcing ourself to go outside for a walk when sitting and watching television would be easier. Winding the clock is doing whatever it is that we need to do to keep moving forward. Even if we move through it slowly as we navigate our grief.
Grief isn’t a straight line from point A to point B. It’s a hilly, circling, up and down winding road. And that’s okay.
So what can we do to keep “winding the clock” through our grief?
Read scripture. At first it may or may not feel calming to your spirit, but don’t stop reading it.
Pray. Pray truths about peace from scripture outloud over yourself.
Wind the clock. Just do one routine thing and then do another. Make your bed, clean the kitchen, do the laundry. Do a normal routine chore or task that you do almost daily. Keep putting one foot in front of another step by step.
Talk about the loved one. Share funny or memorable stories you have about them. Personally, I have found that choosing to remember the good and funny things helps push back the darkness that can threaten to overwhelm us as we walk through grief.
Move. Physically move. Go for a walk. Go to the gym. It may take a lot of will-power to make yourself move in some way, but doing some sort of physical movement like walking or, as crazy as it may sound, even marching in place, can help keep your brain from moving into a negative mindset.
And I know this last one may be difficult, but purpose in your mind to choose joy. When the sadness threatens to dig deeper into your spirit, choose joy instead. Write down things about the loved one you are grateful for. Speak them out loud even if you are just talking to yourself. (I promise you aren’t going crazy if you talk to yourself.) Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. That doesn’t mean you can’t be sad. There will be moments of sadness. But you can choose joy in the midst of the grief.
As I said at the beginning of this post, if you find yourself struggling to cope, have major appetite changes, or find it difficult to even get out of bed, please seek professional help.