Do Personality Profiles Describe or Define Us?
Is who you are determined by your personality type; or is your personality type determined by who you are?
A packed question, but one we should be asking ourselves. This month at Kindred Grace we have spent a lot of time discussing personality types and preferences, and it’s been great! As a huge fan of personality profiles, I believe it’s very important to understand how the Lord has created us in order to serve Him more effectively. Knowing how we are made and being able to communicate that is a beautiful thing! There is one danger though that comes with studying personality profiles – the tendency as humans to take words that describe us, and believe the lie that they then define us.
The Danger with Personality Profiles
Focusing on our personality profiles exclusively can lead to an unbalanced perspective on who we are. Personality types are meant to describe us. Never define us.
All clothing has a name that describes it, and within each category we have a variety of styles. I own many pairs of pants, and a lot of different styles, ranging from dress pants to sweats, skinny jeans, and flares. My identity (thankfully!!) does not come from the styles and clothes I wear. No one looks at me and says “Oh she probably wouldn’t do that, she’s a pant”. Sound familiar? How often do we hear: “I’m a _________________, I can’t…” or “I must because I am an__________” ?
On a regular basis I hear people fill in those blanks with their personality type. It’s so easy to slip into the belief that what we do or how we process life is who we are. It’s great to know and understand the gifts and abilities the Lord created us with – but we aren’t defined by them. Personality describes some of our identity, but it is not all of who we are.
Extrovert, Introvert, or Daughter?
God created me with what personality profiles label as an “extroverted tendencies”. Yet my identity does not come from what He has clothed me with, but rather from my birth right as His child. My identity is Daughter, not extrovert. Extrovert describes how I sometimes function as a daughter, but it doesn’t define me as a daughter.
You are not an Introvert/Extrovert. You are a child of the King, who was created with an introverted or extroverted side to your personality.
It’s crucial to make the distinctions between what describes us and what defines us, otherwise we will believe the lie that our identity stems from what we do (how we function within our personalities) instead of what has been done for us (given the right to be sons of God, John 1).
A New Perspective on Personality
What would happen if we looked at our personalities from the perspective that they are determined by who we are–and not the other way around? There are several personality tests that I have taken more than once over the years with different results. Frustrating? No. Glorious!! We are supposed to be daily changing to be more like Christ. The weak areas should be changing and balancing, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can adapt and stretch as needed. Personality profiles are simply one way to describe who we are in that season of life, and having those terms change over time should be normal for a believer!
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Change comes from Him. Let’s not fear it. It’s when we derive our identity from the Lord, that an extroverted person can learn that there is a time to be silent, and an introverted person can learn there is a time to speak. Our Father clothes us with incredible strengths, gifts and personalities–embracing them more fully will bring Him glory as the magnificent Creator and loving Father He is.
As we wrap our “Peek into Your Personality” series, will you consider this question with me? The answer to it might change the way you view yourself.
Is who you are determined by your personality type; or is your personality type determined by who you are?*
*Question adapted from Neil Anderson’s book, Victory Over Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ. Original question: “Is who you are determined by what you do, or is what you do, determined by who you are?”