Recently, a young reader asked this question,
“People seem to talk and chat so easily, but I don’t. People think I am shy, or don’t care about what they are saying, but that’s not the reason. I simply don’t know what to do or say. What do I do?”
A few years ago I went on a short-term mission trip with a group of people from my church. I didn’t know any of the people well, and they didn’t know me. On the trip, there was a young man, John, who was in his twenties, and his dad. John’s favorite way to pass the time on our long trip was to get people to laugh. He constantly told jokes and funny stories. If you know anything about personality types, there was no doubt he was an extrovert.
One afternoon John’s dad came up to me. He told me that John was bothered because I never laughed at his jokes. He wondered if there was something wrong with me, if I was upset or angry, or maybe I just didn’t like him.
At first I was confused and a little offended. All of my life people have told me to “lighten up,” and this was just more confirmation that maybe I needed to. However, I’m not the type of person to laugh out loud hysterically. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think people are funny or that I don’t like people. After John’s dad told me this, I felt like I couldn’t be myself. I felt like they were analyzing my facial expressions, mannerisms, and words.
Soon afterwards I began learning about how God made me. I took a personality test that told me my personality type, and I took another one that revealed my temperament. I learned that I am an introvert, and I am quite introspective and reserved. Overtly showing my emotions is not something that comes naturally for me.
Learning about my personality type and temperament helped me understand why I respond to situations the way I do.
No longer did I think something was wrong with me.
Instead, I realized that God made me in a unique way to accomplish His purposes in my life, and those are going to look different from other people’s purposes.
The Bible tells us in Romans 12:4-6:
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.
In these verses, “one body” refers to the body of Christ – all the Christians who make up God’s church. This means that every Christian has distinct gifts and purposes within the church and the world. We are not all made with the same personality or temperament because if we were, then we could not accomplish the many plans God has for His world.
Understanding my distinct personality and temperament helped me accept other people’s differences as well.
Now, when someone is outgoing and loud, I don’t think she is just trying to get attention or being obnoxious. I remember that God gave her a distinct personality to accomplish His purposes through her, too.
Often, it takes many years to become secure in who God made you to be, and even then there are days when you wish you were someone different. However, next time someone comments that you are shy, or you feel insecure about how you’re perceived, think about God’s truth that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by Him (Psalm 139:14) to accomplish His special purposes for you.
The more you meditate on God’s truth, the more secure you will become in who you are.
If you’d like to learn more about discovering your God-given personality and spiritual gift, download this free resource.