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Discovering My Actual Personality BentRemember all the rage among Christians back in the mid-90s I think it was, when various popular ministries correlated individual personality traits with that of animals? You know, the Lion, the Beaver, the Retriever, and the Otter types? Well, for a while our fellowship got hold of those studies and took all the evaluation tests and reveled in the "discovery" of self-categorization nearly ad nauseum. But my point is that, due to numerous study results, I came away with the iron-clad idea that I was a bona-fide "otter" personality. I mean, for years after every survey circle was filled in and every eraser worn down, I staunchly believed the results which leaned (almost too) heavily toward the otter type, and I was thrilled with that!
However, according to Daddy, I was dead wrong.
My Pastor was also aware of my misread; in fact, it was rather obvious to her that I wasn't just dreaming or even employing wishful thinking - I was delusional! When I asked her why she never broke the truth to me, she basically indicated it was for self-preservation, since it was very apparent to everyone that I wanted to be an otter type really badly. "I wasn't touching it!" she declared. In hindsight, I admit her response still makes me chuckle, and I see the truth about my personality so clearly now, it's almost incidental.
Sharon the BeaverOne day while relaxed in my home reliving the joy I'd first felt upon being "diagnosed" an otter (a cuddly, cute-nosed, playful, fun-loving creature), I heard the Lord Jesus whisper to me -
"Beloved, you're not an otter - you're a beaver."
I blinked and tilted my head in disbelief. Surely I was just hearing things...
"A WHAT, Lord?!" I replied, shocked and insulted (how dare He?).
Calmly, He spoke again -
"Your personality bent - it's not that of an otter primarily - it's primarily a beaver."Well, I don't need to tell you I wasn't coming around very easily to that news, even though it came from God because, to me, not only are beavers butt-ugly, okay... they're dead-serious, head-down, cerebrally-bound, workaholics who whistle on their S's, never have any fun, and rarely even look up! (Huff, huff...)
[Post-tantrum sentiments: To all my fellow beaver personality types out there, I offer my sincere apologies for the mindless ravings of my past. Truce?]
After riding out the tidal wave of my response, God did the coolest thing to prove the truth of what He'd said to me ('cause I still wasn't buying it). He gave me a "What Would You Do?" scenario also involving my best friend Lynette (a confirmed otter type, btw). He said -
Beloved, I'm going to send you on a foot journey of three days. You'll have proper directions, a backpack, and enough food and water for all three days - but no change of clothing.
You're to deliver a very important package for Me, which you'll carry throughout your journey and give to a specific person by or before a set deadline on the afternoon of the third day.
I felt my mind humbly absorbing all His words and instructions. I certainly was not going to blow this. That package was going to be delivered intact and safely, or I would die trying.
The Lord continued -
You've walked all day and camped out each night and become rather 'fragrant' and sweaty. But on the dawn of the third day, you spy the landmarks indicating your journey's almost complete. You walk all morning, rest a while for lunch, and start the last leg of the errand still in good time. In a couple of hours, you check your watch, drawing near to the campsite where I specified your delivery be made.
You're relieved as you spot the recipient of My package afar off. Walking down that last, dusty, humid mile to your destination you come to a huge lake of cool, cleansing, refreshing water, and there's at least an hour to go before My delivery deadline.
Do you stop for a while and take a swim before delivering the package, beloved, knowing there's plenty of time for you to be adequately refreshed after a three-day journey in the woods?
Saints, I blurted my answer so fast, I surprised myself.
"No waaay, Lord!" I said, almost appalled at His suggestion.
"I've been walking for THREE DAYS, camping out and winding my way through the woods with what's probably the most important package I'll ever have or carry for anyone, ever... and right before I get to my destination with time to spare, I'm gonna STOP and take a bath? Are You kidding?! No! I'M GOING TO DELIVER YOUR PACKAGE!
I can bathe later."
I felt God smiling. He quietly said, "Good, daughter; well done." Before I became overwhelmingly pleased with myself, Jesus added -
"Now I want you to call Lynette and give her that same scenario to see what she says."I was more than willing... hey, I knew my twin sister was an otter just like me and would, therefore, feel exactly the same way I did. This was a cinch.
Silly MeSo I did call her and I did present her the same scenario Christ presented me, except - toward the end - I hedged my bet a little by telling her she had only half an hour to make the deadline once she saw the campsite. Now I knew I had this!
"So what would you do, honey?" I asked with cheery confidence. Her response shot out like a bullet. Yeah, a playful... silly... true otter bullet. "Oh, I'd take a bath!" she said. "Yeah, go for a swim... then I'd deliver the package."
I thought she was crazy. I couldn't believe my ears. Really.
What's worse, I started to rant and rave at her innocent, truthful, harmless response. But before I built up a full head of steam, Holy Spirit interrupted me and said, softly -
"See, daughter; that's what I mean. You're a beaver, not an otter."I froze in mid-rant. All I could do was put my hand to my mouth realizing I'd been so glaringly exposed! There was absolutely nothing wrong with Lynette's choice to play in the water prior to delivering God's package - nothing at all. Yet you'd have thought she slapped my face by my clinched-jawed response. I was busted... big time.
I stammered out an apology to the Lord - then to Lynette. Then I talked to my Pastor.
A Happy EndingOf course, the Lord has since shown me a myriad of marvelous beaver characteristics and heroes of the Bible (like Moses) who were also of that design. He's explained why He's integrated these traits into my calling and has shown me that - though it's not my primary type - to add helpful balance, there IS otter in me, secondarily.
That's cool, because I love to laugh - especially at myself!
Smiling in Jesus,
"...fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."