This post begins a series of blogs, each describing one of the Eight Essentials of Authenticity.
This week I’m reading Holy Ambition by author and pastor, Chip Ingram. Today, in chapter 6, I read this, “One of the most amazing things that I have discovered in the last twenty-five years as a pastor is how few people understand how God made them.”
I couldn’t agree more Chip. That’s why I’m passionate about teaching people about their personality.
What is Personality?
While God made you and me in His image, He does not want any of us to “make ourselves (myself, in the actual verse) like the Most High.” That is how Satan is described in Isaiah 14:14. As humans we were not designed to be everything to everyone, like the Most High. Instead we are a specific reflection of God’s personality, a slice of His image.
One of the most fundamental ways to understand and live out your authentic slice is through the lens of personality, that set of traits chosen by God that influence how you think, feel and interact with others and your environment.
Your personality is a big chunk of your true self. Granted, it cannot explain everything about you. You’re simply too complex for that. But it does provide important information about your behavior and God’s purpose for your life.
If you do not take the time to discover what God had in mind when He knit you together in your mother’s womb (the original authentic you), you’ll be tempted to create an artificial you, one that is pleasing to man, but not designed by God. This you is usually a smattering of personality traits from all the types, a conglomeration of all that you can be or should be, but devoid of the distinction and uniqueness of your slice.
Does Personality Change?
Personality is innate and doesn’t change over your lifetime. The way you were wired before you were born, endures today. It’s possible to drift away from your personality when tempted or pressured to be someone other than who you are, becoming a performer or a chameleon on the outside, but inside, your personality remains. It’s also possible for you to grow more into your personality as you age, if you didn’t have the freedom to be your authentic self when you were young.
Your personality will be seasoned though. That is part of what makes you different than all others who share your type. Your base layer (your God-given personality) will be influenced by the people and experiences in your formative years. The personalities of your parents and your siblings will have an impact on you, as will those of significant family members, coaches, and teachers. The places and experiences you are exposed to will flavor you-where you lived, the activities in which you participated, the teams that you joined. God works all these together to form the perfect you.
But don’t miss this: Consistency is an important element of authenticity. If you want to be your authentic self, you will want to speak and act basically the same no matter where you are or who you are with. Sure, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and considerate of others, but if you are naturally serious at work, be your serious self at home. If you are instinctively silly with your kids, be silly with your church friends. If you are normally bold in the world, be bold in your marriage.
Don’t be sugar-coated with one group and salty with another. Be you, consistently.
Old Self vs. New Self
What about Christians? Does our personality change when we begin to follow Jesus?
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
If you are a Christian, yes, you are a new creation.
But no, you are not given a new personality.
Think about the Apostle Paul. He was dominant, direct, and ambitious (a Doer) before He met Christ. Later, after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was still dominant, direct and ambitious, but those qualities were surrendered to God and used for God’s glory. That is the new life to which we are all called.
“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
When God gets a hold of your personality, He will take all the potential He infused into you long ago and make you into what you’ve always been meant to be.
As Christian psychologist David Benner said in The Gift of Being Yourself,
“We should never be tempted to think that growth in Christ-likeness reduces our uniqueness. While some Christian visions of the spiritual life imply that as we become more like Christ we look more and more like each other…Paradoxically, as we become more and more like Christ we become more uniquely our own true self.”
How to Discover Your Personality
There are several ways to learn more about your authentic personality.
- Take a DISC test.
The first thing I do with a new coaching client, is review their DISC report to learn more about their original design. This scientifically validated personality assessment, taken by more than 40 million people, was found to be 98-99% accurate and reliable in predicting DISC type in the workplace, although I’ve found it to be spot on in other environments as well.
The 15 page report gives you a general description of your type—your positive characteristics, unique contribution to others, motivations, ideal environment, and personal growth areas. It also tells you what you think others want you to be and how you respond when stressed.
I’ve used this test with men, women, teenagers, grandparents, SAHMs, career changers, executives, athletes—you name it. It’s a deeper dive into who you are.
2. Take the Your Authentic Personality Test.
This free test is a good place to start. Found in the header of the home page on www.YourAuthenticPersonality.com as Basic Personality Test, this downloadable test can shed light on your major and minor personality types.
3. Take the Mom Quiz.
In just a couple of minutes this fun 9 question quiz will tell you about your Authentic Mom Type, the personality you bring to your kids and your family, that you were meant to shine into their lives.
It’s fast, easy and remarkably insightful in determining your personality type.
4. Read What’s Your Mom Type?
This book is intended to help you see yourself the way God does, highlighting your unique strengths, leadership style, and distinctive reflection of God. It will help you understand your divine design so you can have ultimate impact in your family and in the world.
On a scale of 1-10, how well do you know and express your authentic personality?
In the next blog, we will look at the #2 Authenticity Essential, accepting and exposing your weaknesses. I hope you’ll join us.