General Identity

You are You- Part 2

Editor’s note: This is part two of discovering who God has made you. This week, we look at your personality. By reading one man’s insights into his personality, it may prompt you to discover more of yours and the man God’s wired you to become.

As I unpack a few things I’ve learned about me, I totally get it if your interest in this fades away.  After all, each of us loves to hear about ourselves.  We have less tolerance for the story of others. That’s part of our sinful bent.  But, humor me.  Bear with me.  My story might help you unpack yours.

According to one of those personality tests, EVERY person on the planet has all six components of personality.  Different combinations and intensities, but nonetheless, we each have all of them.  There are 720 different combinations.  Theoretically, put 720 people in the same room and they will each be a different personality mix.  Put 1440 in the same room and theoretically, you will find someone very much like you.  You are uniquely you and there will never be another like you; even if you have a twin.  But, what I’m trying to say is that your personality is part of what God was knitting in you while you hung out in your mother’s womb.  

Here’s my personality condominium, in order of priority and intensity.  The top ones are the least of me and the bottom the base/foundation of me.







Persister. What this all says is that deep down inside, I stick with life.  It’s why I’ve been at the same company my entire career; 38 years.  It’s why I’ve been married 30+ years and it’s why I’ve kept at life since heart surgery.  It’s why for a lot of other things too; some of which can be negative.  Why I won’t give up on an unsolvable problem and would rather beat a dead horse than give up.  It’s why I sometimes struggle with certain sins; because my mind keeps sticking with it.  But then, it’s also why my walk with Jesus has been chugging along since I was 16.  Why I’m a faithful friend.  Deep down in the DNA of my soul, God created me to be a persister.

Harmonizer.  I want to get along with others. Compassionate, warm, sensitive.  People like doing business with me.  It’s a more or less pleasant experience and they come back for more.  It’s why some of my clients I’ve had for over 20 years.  The other part of being a harmonizer is I want to be very cognizant of how others are doing. I genuinely care for others.  It’s why I mentor.  Given my “old age” and the wisdom I’ve gleaned over the decades, I seem to be an anchor for guys figuring out their tumultuous teens and 20s.  I remember those days like they were last month, and I can honestly relate to them.  I get it.  And I ache in my soul for them to mature as young men into a level of manhood I never had at their age.  Harmonizer also means that I can avoid conflict like it’s a plague.  Can’t we just get along?  

Thinker.  Look, by the very fact, I’m writing this paper is indicative of a thinker.  I like writing because it organizes my thoughts and it helps me process things in a logical orderly manner.  I don’t like a lot of chaos.  The fact that my thinker and harmonizer modes are so balanced in their intensity tells me that when I speak, I am reasonable and sound.  Not always right. Not always the most winsome, but you know that my answers will be solid and worth consideration.  I don’t want to say safe, but that is often in the mix.  No big wild ideas out of David, but you can count on me.  With such I am hyper-responsible. I recall my boss saying more than once.  “Ask David to do something and it is as good as done.”  

Imaginer.  You’d think as an architect I’d be this uber-creative dude!  I have my moments and love to use onion-skin paper and markers! Just ask my clients, But, to say that I am so creative that ideas don’t stop coming is one-off for me.  Let’s say that as an imaginer, I am more calm, reflective, and imaginative.  And, in that, I deeply desire to have oneness with God.  To know him and to have this overwhelming sense of his Spirit at work in me.  Honestly, this area is growing in me.  If you go back to Psalm 139, David asks God to search his heart; to know if there are any grievous ways in him, and to lead David into the everlasting way.  This is what an imaginer wants.  Peace.  Life to have a reflective depth that goes against the current of our culture.  As someone said, the rock in the stream, he is unmoved by life’s turmoil.  Oh, that I would have had more of that when I was in my 20s-30s.

The lesser of me is contained in two other personality components:  Promoter and Rebel.  

Look, I may have some charm and am adaptable, but don’t expect me to be your top salesman.  I am not a good persuader.  I don’t know how to turn on the charm to the point you are won over by my smile!  As an owner of a company, I must sell myself and my business so that we stay in business.  Cold calls are a holy terror for me.  Give me a repeat client and I’m good to go!  Reality is, being less of a promoter I am also harder on myself.  I see the glass half empty vs half full.  Truth is, I might actually score an 8 or 9, but I’d give myself a 6 or 7.  That element of doubt in me does not promote me as I should, or frankly as God would/does.

Rebel.  I’m so much of a rule-keeper that the slightest spontaneous idea makes me question if I am qualified or simply should do it; whatever it is.  My friend has been good for me in this, in that his “dude, you just need to chillax more” has been a good reminder that I can relax without being immoral.  I can laugh, and I can do some crazy things, like hike a rugged trail and set up camp at night with headlamps!  Less work and more kick-back.  Not lazy, not irresponsible, not stupid, but fun and willing to try something different.  Yes, I’m making some progress in this.

So, enough of my personality mix.  Here’s the point, it’s how God’s wired me and IT’S OK!  Yes, sin has bent me in some unusual ways.  Yes, I need to lean into Christ, claiming his total forgiveness and willingness to change me.  Yes, I need to resist temptations by yielding to the Holy Spirit.  But, I also need to extend grace to myself and to allow for me imperfect me to be loved by God and used by Him in others’ lives.  

I have NO idea when I will die.  Sooner or later, that day will come and in such all, I really will care about, between now and then is that my life was lived for God, by his power and in loving others.  Mentoring is not my life.  Christ is.  But mentoring is probably one of the areas of my life where I sense a more concentrated purpose and satisfaction in my life here on Earth.

Who are you?  Discover how you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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