Last week, we introduced the topic of personality styles and women’s ministry. You can read part 1 here. We continue this discussion today as we look at how to determine what kind of personality you possess. There are many personality assessments available and these can be very helpful to learn more about the unique way God has wired you. Today we’ll look at two questions to ask yourself to begin to get an idea of your personality style.
Predictable patterns of behavior flow out of personal preferences. People can be quite complex. Initial insights can be gained by asking two questions:
Are you more outgoing or more reserved? An outgoing person walks into a room full of strangers and her natural tendency is to mix with the crowd. A reserved person, especially in unfamiliar settings, may stand off to the side, waiting for someone to approach her.
Are you more task-oriented or people-oriented? The task-oriented person enjoys sinking her teeth in to a project and getting it done. She may enjoy people, but her main focus is getting tasks done. Alone time energizes her. On the other hand, the people-oriented person is more interested in relationships than in getting a project done, and people energize her.
Discover how much insight is gained from these two questions as they apply to you. Draw a box divided into four sections. Sketch a lion and an otter in the top two and a beaver and a golden retriever in the bottom sections (or just write their names if you prefer). The two animals on the bottom represent personalities that are reserved and slower paced. If you think of yourself like this, circle the bottom half of the diagram. However, if you don’t consider yourself reserved, cover the bottom half of the diagram. The top two animals represent more outgoing and faster-paced personalities. If these describe you better, circle the top half of the diagram. Now, cover the left half. The two animals on the right represent personalities that are more people-oriented. If that describes you, circle the right side. If not, cover the right half of the diagram revealing the two animals who represent personalities driven by tasks; they like accomplishments. If that describes you, circle the left side of the diagram. The animal included in both circles represents your dominant personality.
Outgoing + task-oriented = Lion
Outgoing + people-oriented = Otter
Reserved + task-oriented = Beaver
Reserved + people-oriented = Golden Retriever
Most people are a combination of more than one type and may exhibit characteristics of other types.
So what difference do these insights make? Personality affects how we process thoughts, communicate, express emotions, and deal with fear. It plays an important role in how we interact in our relationships. Spiritually, it motivates how we pray, worship, and effectively use our spiritual gifts. The apostle Paul prayed, “May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]” (Eph. 3:16, AMP, emphasis mine). Isn’t it exciting to think about Him indwelling our personality, finishing the good work He has begun in us?
As the outward expression of our inner person, it is essential to understand how personality traits influence the way we lead, serve, and minister.
This article is an excerpt from Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level compiled by Chris Adams.
Sheila West has been in women’s ministry for more than 25 years, serving as director of women’s ministry for more than 20 years in the local church. She’s currently on staff at Heritage Community Church, Fruitland Park, Fla., as director of spiritual growth and ministry mobilization and women’s ministry coordinator. Sheila is the founder of Real Living Ministries, a speaking, teaching, and leadership development ministry to women. The author of Beyond Chaos, Sheila is a contributor to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She and her husband, John, are the parents of two and proud grandparents of seven. Follow her on Twitter @SheilaWestSez.