I was chatting with a friend earlier today about personality types. Maybe you’re familiar with these….
Each personality type has certain characteristics. In most people, these characteristics are so strong that there’s no doubt what their personality type is. There are complete studies done on the traits of each type, but I’m just going to do a quick run through of what I see in each type…..
Powerful Choleric – very capable, no-nonsense, take-action kind of person. If you want a goal accomplished, this is the person to go to. Cholerics are typically very practical people & keen thinkers. Also, once they make up their minds about something…they stand firm…right or wrong. Rarely will you see a choleric personality sitting idle. They’re usually very active people.
Popular Sanguine – very outgoing, talkative, passionate personality. If you want to have a lively party, be sure to invite a couple of sanguine personalities. This personality can often be mistaken as insincere, but their overflow of emotions really is deeply sincere. They love people and love to have a good time. They are very easily distracted & typically quite forgetful, so don’t go to a sanguine if you want something done. However, if you’re looking to have fun…find a sanguine!
Perfect Melancholy – studious, organized & analyical type of personality. Not usually fond of large crowds, the melancholy is quite comfortable spending the day alone. Prone to dark moods, the melancholy is often withdrawn. They normally detest large crowds. They usually have a small group of friends to whom they are feircely loyal.
Peaceful Phlegmatic – easy-going & fun to be around. This personality is pretty middle-of-the-road emotionally….not easily stirred to anger or elation. Usually very witty with a dry sense of humor, the phlegmatic is a riot to hang around with. Genuinely concerned about others, but prone to stay in the background watching the action rather than becoming involved. Once involved though, they are typically very good workers. Everybody loves the phlegmatic.
Most of us are actually a combination of two (sometimes three) personality types with one of the types being much stronger than the other. I am not. I am 100% Sanguine. I am the Melancholy’s worst nightmare. 🙂 Loud, excited, jubilant, flitting around everywhere, never at a loss for words….that’s me. And you know what? I LOVE being a Sanguine! 🙂
But here’s what I find interesting about the personality types….even though we can all figure out which one we are, that doesn’t mean we have to fit the profile completely. You see, each personality type has some very problematic issues. I’m going to use myself as an example to better explain what I mean.
While I truly enjoy people and deeply care about them, I also suffer from the “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome that sanguines always have. Before the day is done, I’ve forgotten every single conversation I’ve had with people. This is a real problem when someone needs prayer. How can I pray for someone if I can’t remember who they are and that they have a problem? lol So I take steps to ensure that I follow through with praying for them. I keep a prayer list. I also keep any emailed prayer requests in a special folder in my email program. I also have numerous notes around my home reminding me to pray for people. This way, everywhere I turn, I have reminders. In my quiet time, in my computer time, in my cleaning time….I’m always reminded to pray for people in need.
Another problem sanguines have is that we don’t follow through with anything. We start strong, but then get distracted and quickly forget what we were doing. For instance, just this morning I was doing laundry. All I had to do was make two trips through the house putting the folded clothes in the appropriate room. As soon as I set down the first set of clothes, I immediately forgot what I was doing….and I still had a stack in my hands! I stood in my hallway for a full two minutes saying, “Now what was I doing?” If it’s that bad just putting away laundry, imagine how bad it can be on big projects! To help, I keep a running list each day of what needs to be done. Believe it or not, this list even includes feeding my kids (it’s bad when you get distracted and forget to feed the babies). The list keeps me focused and I actually manage to accomplish a lot….if I don’t lose the list. 🙂
So here’s my point….with all of our weaknesses, there are solutions. There are things we can do to improve. Let’s not use our personality types as excuses for our shortcomings. Instead, let’s look to Jesus for our example. He is the PERFECT combination of ALL the personality types. If we ask, the Holy Spirit will step in and help shape us to be more like Him. Then we will start to show more fruits of the spirit….love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
So which personality type are you? Is it so obvious that there’s no denying it? What about your personality’s weaknesses? What steps do you take (or can you take) to improve in those areas? How are you using your strong points in your ministry to the Lord? If you’re not utilizing them, what are some ways that you can?