While I was in college, I continually felt a nagging “I’m not like most Christians I know”. All of my college christian friends were playful, outgoing or gentle and quiet. When I met new friends, it was almost a universal truth confessed after they got to know me a little…”you know, when I first met you, you really intimidated me.” And what made things worse…they could never tell me why. I mean, I wanted to know if I was glaring at people, being mean, or whatever. But no, much of the time they just said I was intimidating. Humph. How is that helpful? I kept trying to push myself into being something I wasn’t…less intimidating without knowing how I was. I had a helpful friend try to tell me to find out who in the Bible I identified most closely with, preferably a female. I came up short. I found a man, but not a woman…which left me puzzling and confused as to why God made me the way I was if I was an intimidating female! Oh, I could find lots of examples of females I resonated with in movies or business…but they aren’t models of christian submission and grace. For almost 2 years, this rub of not fitting in or understanding myself was a constant tension.
Then I started being discipled by an older student who “just happened” to be majoring in Psychology. After discussing this issue, she came one day prepared with the DISC personality test. I took it and finally at least had a name and idea of who God had made me. I’m a D. Otherwise, Dominant, Driver, Doer, etc. And yeah, there aren’t many women like it. I didn’t know then, but now do, that statistically, D’s make up 10% of the general population. Just 10%! I’m sure a much smaller percentage are female. Still, having an idea of my strengths and weaknesses gave me something to prayerfully work on. I could actually see why and how I would be intimidating to others. Especially since a whopping 40% of the population is “S”, stable, loyal, calm…and I particularly terrify those people.
Fast forward a few more years….I’m still hearing I’m intimidating, still praying over the many weaknesses the D has and trying to utilize the strengths for His glory…when I stumbled on a Bible study that talked about a woman who appeared similar to me. WHAT?! I spent a long time studying Abigail. For the first time ever, I had found a female biblical character whom I felt I could model myself after. This was an amazing revelation. No one likes to feel odd or alone in who they are and we greatly desire to find someone whose footsteps we can walk behind (1 Cor 11:1). Here was an example of how to use the gifts God had given in my personality within the confines of biblical femininity. Since then I have found examples mentioned of women who very well could be D’s in the Bible, but none so detailed as Abigail. And I am so grateful that God chose to include her story. I hear “I’m intimidating” less and less but I take no credit for it. Without Christ slowly changing me from the inside out, I would be a decidedly terrifying task oriented woman with no friends. Thankfully, He is never content to leave us where we are; but always refining us closer to the image of His Son.
Have you ever taken one of these tests? Another one is the animal test; lion, otter, golden retriever, beaver and they co-inside with D, I, S, C. I’m not saying that your personality is unchangeable…on the contrary, I have seen Him moderate the personality within me and smooth some of the roughness off. Sometimes, though, it is a great help to know why you do things or react to things. And it’s a great way to help you know what your strengths are, where perhaps you can best serve the Lord in the Body, and how to prayerfully seek help in the weaknesses.