Looking back over this past year, I can see how God used my love of reading and books to help me hold onto joy when distractions, discouragement, and discontent attempted to steal it away. And I can see how God used my love of reading to help me embrace my personality and more become the woman He created me to be.
After being told many times while growing up that I was too quiet, there was a long stretch of years that I felt in my heart that being introverted was a bad thing; that this aspect of my personality was a defect that made me less than, not good enough, and unable to really share the Gospel.
But God has shown me how so many of my strengths - such as patience, being a good listener, desiring wisdom - have grown out of my quiet, pondering, reflective introverted-ness. He has shown me how even the godly character He has grown in me is entwined with the personality He created in me, as I have submitted myself to be shaped by Him.
And reading is a gift from God to nourish these qualities and draw me closer to Him in a way that speaks to my personality, because He knows my personality, and He is a personal God.
I know now that God wants the qualities of quietness to thrive in me; to not be something I suppress, but embrace as a way to serve Jesus and shine His light, to the glory of His Name.
And so I read.
Now, I’m not writing this to convince you that you should start reading. (Though if I did, I’m pretty sure I just fulfilled my life’s purpose… just kidding… sort of.)
But I am writing this to say, it’s okay to be quiet. It’s okay to be talkative. It’s okay to be somewhere in-between. It’s okay to have the personality you have, whatever Enneagram number, Meyers-briggs type, color, or animal a personality quiz might say you are.
In 1 Corinthians 12, we read about the body of Christ, and it’s made clear that there is a place in it for everyone. God has given each one of us has unique gifts, personalities, strengths, and passions that belong in the family of God, and that enable us to take part in building the Kingdom and sharing the gospel.
“Now you collectively are Christ’s body, and individually you are members of it, each with his own special purpose and function.” 1 Corinthians 12:27, AMP
“God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10, NLT
If you struggle with feeling like your personality makes you less than, not good enough, and like you don’t really have a place in sharing the Gospel, here are a few actions that could help you to embrace your personality in Christ:
Ask Jesus to show you how your personality could be a reflection of His character. When I started to understand how being quiet helped me to be present with others and reflect Jesus’ gentleness, peace, and listening heart, I began to see my personality in a new light.
Take some time to discover what your spiritual gifts are. We will often find that the gifts, talents, and abilities God has given us are linked to our personalities, and recognizing them helps us to see our personalities more positively, as gifts from God themselves. And learning about our spiritual gifts help us see how we might take part in the body of Christ to serve others and share the love of Jesus.
Share your hobbies, interests, and passions with others. Everyone craves connection, but so many of us feel like our personalities just make us too different to really fit in. Reading helped me embrace my personality because through it, I was able to connect with others in a way that allowed me to just be myself, and it allowed others to be themselves as well.
As we learn to embrace our personality in Christ, we become freed from insecurities and are able to live more fully as the women God created us to be, shining Jesus’ light and bringing Him glory.
P.S. keep an eye out for next week's post, because I plan to share my 5 favorite reads of 2018, and the 5 reads I'm most looking forward to in 2019!