Sunday, April 4, 2010

Keirsey says I'm Ideal

An Authentic Self is the Most Personal Form of Worship

Each of my grade school report cards sang the same tune, “A’s” in each subject with “E’s” for exceptional effort and “tends to talk too much in class” in the comments section. For as long as I can remember I have been a talker, a share-er, and a teacher, sharing what I learned on TV the night before with my desk mates, helping a classmate with his or her times tables and even offering advice to the teacher. That last one might not have been appreciated for the intention as often as it could’ve been. As a youth leader, a summer camp director and a worship leader working intimately with the families in my congregation, I often reminded parents that the very things that we in authority try to discipline out of our kids are usually their spiritual gifts in disguise. Just as God chooses to work through us to do His will rather than just making it happen on His own, we are born with our special abilities and purpose more like a diamond in the rough and those we meet on our journey of life help the Lord with the refining process.

It did not surprise me to learn that my temperament sorter labeled me an “Idealist.” In work, play, family and in my walk with Christ I am always reaching for the promises I know are out there and striving to live a life that exemplifies those promises. What’s more, my bent toward talking, and my desire to see everyone reach their highest potential have led me straight down the path of God’s calling in my life. Okay, truth be told the path I have walked has had more than it’s share of tangents, but each pit stop along the way has served it’s purpose to who I am in the body of Christ and was exactly where I was supposed to be at exactly the time I was there.

The lesson I learned quite young, although not quite as eloquently as this, is an authentic self is the most personal form of worship. I myself, along with countless other youth, friends and co-workers along the way have wasted precious energy trying to be something we’re not in order to conform with whatever institution in which we’re seeking acceptance: school, work, social circles and even churches. While we are busy trying to do our best to be something we are not, we simply cannot be busy doing the work we’ve been called to do living a life that worships God fully with each breath. How can we be doing our special task if we are not being the special creation God intended?

I take this belief to quite an extreme; it is ethically wrong for us to deny our true selves. When you find that thing that you just can’t help doing or that quality in yourself you just cannot deny or hide, that is your God light that you must not “hide under a bushel” for doing so would be a sin.
Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. Keirsey Temperament Sorter

While this strict standard can be a negative quality if not kept in check, as it has been refined throughout my experiences, I believe it is a keystone in my relationships. Truth above all else, even when it is hard to hear, is the hinge-pin of successful communication and conflict resolution.

Currently, I work as a Sign Language Interpreter for two large companies in Central Florida. On a cursory glance, I facilitate communication between two or more people. As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), my intimate knowledge of both the hearing and Deaf cultures help me work from a level of cultural mediation  rather than a basic language translation allowing for more than just words to pass from one participant to another.  Taking the gift of my upbringing a step further however, applying it to my daily activity of worshiping, I am able to mentor and encourage my fellow interpreters, encourage the Deaf employees I serve and educate the administration I work under about the Deaf community. This synthesis of knowledge, upbringing, and blessing makes my work more than mere communication facilitation. Through my spiritual approach I help create better interpreters and foster an understanding about Deafness that bolsters the standing of Deaf employees and from a practical business perspective, creates and caters to a market that companies don’t often consider. It’s a win-win for everyone, the company not only profits financially, but also morally in “doing the right thing” in providing daily service, the interpreting profession grows, the Deaf culture gains a stronger foothold and I am fulfilled in working from my calling. 

Three years ago I embarked on my journey towards seminary. At the time I was Coordinator of Church Ministries for a local United Church of Christ. I’m still weighing the options of what letters my final degree will include, MDIV, MAPC, MACL, MAIS, the list goes on. So far in this chapter I have learned that I don’t want to pastor a church. There are many little things that make this unappealing to me, not the least of which is being on the phone, which I have a hard time with. I do feel led to teach, to counsel, to share and encourage. I love to write and am a regular blogger. I’d love to write a book within the next ten years and travel teaching and encouraging authenticity and relational communication. I think this is another good blend of my skills and gifts. As an “Idealist,” I have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all. My studies in social services have only fostered my voracious thirst for the understanding of  personalities and how they can work together. I have seen my conflict resolution techniques, based on psychology and examples in Christ’s own life, work in my own blended family and in a work environment that can be riddled with individuals who are only in it for themselves.

When we live from a place where we honor the sacred in ourselves and believe that what makes us authentic is how God works through us we usher in the coming of the Kingdom here on Earth. Once we learn how to honor that authenticity in our own lives, we cannot help but notice and foster that in the lives of those around us. Then ideas like forgiveness and acceptance do not seem so radical. As I honor that authenticity in others, my need for conflict or strife naturally subsides and I can respect their authenticity, even when it is in opposition to my own. God uses all of us for His end and all of His plans are good.

Being the change I want to see in the world, I live daily from my authentic self and I encourage those around me to do the same. The idealist that I am dreams of a place where we can find worth and value in all just as God finds worth and purpose in each of us, His children. I look to each day, and each opportunity with anticipation of what I will learn and what I can share; how I can best use the talents God has given me so that I can honestly say I used everything He gave me.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.
Marianne Williamson


Allie said...

Loved reading this blog today. You really do have something special going on in your life. I think you have lots of great things to share and you just have this way about you that people will want to sit and listen to what you have to say. I would take a class of yours, listen to you preach or just have a cup of coffee with you and take it all in.

Babetta said...

Thanks Allie!
It was actually an assignment for a class I'm in right now...I was SO fired up after writing it I decided it'd make a good post too...I go back and read my own blogs every once in a while and learn stuff all over again, I think this will be one of those that holds good nuggets for a while!

Let's have that coffee!

Allie said...

Holds good nuggets????

and you are the busy one- just say the word on coffe and I am there!!


Babetta said...

nuggets of wisdom :)