What I Really Want

What I Really Want

It’s RARE I have a morning alone.  But today is one of those blessed days.   I mean, I love my kiddos and my man — don’t get me wrong — but the kids spent the night at Aunt Jessica’s (after a day of negotiating and some serious 10-year old manipulation.  That kid should be a lawyer!), and the husband had an early morning appointment with a pool.

So, I’ve had some time to study and plan and reflect (and clean) and the Lord has softly spoken to my heart and asked me to share.  I’ll make this quick because the troops will march back home any minute.

Jesus is my first love.  I don’t understand exactly how He has won me over, but He has.  By His grace.  Because heaven knows I’m self-centered and arrogant and without the grace of God I’d be a hot mess.  But His pursuit is real and the more I surrender, the more I change.  And this morning I can honestly say that more than anything in life I desperately WANT EVERYTHING God has for me.  I want to know Him.  I want to be used by Him.  I want to make a difference in the lives of people around me for His glory.  I really do.  My heart aches toward that goal everyday.  And I’m asking Him for it.  Finally.

Everyday.

I don’t always obey.  I don’t always get it.  I fail more than I even want to think about.  I’m so far from perfect and so far from being like Jesus I don’t even know how any of it is possible, but it IS what I want.

Here’s what hit me as I was watering some plants on my balcony: MOST people don’t.  My heart physically hurts this morning, burdened by the reality that most people I interact with on  a daily and weekly basis, at their core do not care about what God wants for them.  At least not enough for it to matter.

Many of them are Christians.  At least they say or think they are one.

It makes me so sad.  Sad is the best word to describe it.  Not like a “You’re so sad you make me sick” attitude.  No.  A genuine sadness born out of God’s love for others.  He so beautifully and willingly wants people’s hearts, wants to bless, wants to give, wants to have a relationship with them, wants to change them, wants to heal them, wants to give them a life of purpose and abundance, wants to LOVE them — but no.

People don’t want what God wants.  People don’t really want God.  They may want the blessings of God, but they don’t really want Him and they don’t want more than anything else the things He wants.

And I’m guilty too.

Which also makes me sad.

There are days that I MORE want success in business, affirmation from people and security in life.  Safety.  Comfort . The American Dream.  I want those things sometimes.  But, once God gets a true hold on your heart and His truth has penetrated your mind, you can’t really stay there.  You go back to Him and slowly but surely your desires change and you just want Him.

I don’t know how it all looks.  I don’t know how it all will work itself out. I just know that with every fiber of my being I want all God has for me and I want it for you too.

What do you really want?


Many Church Goers Do Not Worship God

For many months now, God has been stirring my heart, revealing Himself and asking me to truly worship Him — at church.  What a concept.

The truth is, I’ve been a worshiper for years.  Being a worshiper simply means you recognize who God is.  You meditate on His attributes; His great holiness, faithfulness and love (to name my top three) and as you do, you begin to see yourself appropriately by comparison.  Worship is extremely humbling and extremely satisfying.  When you find yourself lost in pure worship to God, all else, including thoughts of self, melts away and He is all there is.  Fulfillment comes because you were created for this very thing.

The other truth is, for years I mostly worshiped outside of my church gatherings.  (EEHEM)  Alone in my car, praise in the shower, at Christian concerts or conferences, FREEDOM to worship seemed much easier to find.  But, put me in a Sunday service at church and forget about it.  Too distracted and too well trained.

God has clearly shown me how messed up my worship was and has also opened my eyes to the reality that I’m far from alone.

There are countless articles and opinions out there on “what’s wrong with the church.”  Well, I’ll throw my hat in the ring with this statement: Churches are busy dragging people into serving a God they do not worship. 

Church leaders across the land beg for people to help.  Please volunteer.  Sign-up to serve.  Please GIVE.  “The fields are white for harvest, but the laborers are few!”  Why?  It’s exhausting and difficult to serve and give to a God you don’t worship.  You may serve others and you may serve your church, but your service won’t last because people disappoint and “burn out” kicks in.  And thus, the cycle of dragging people in and out of service in the church continues.

Every time I find examples of service and giving in scripture it comes after an encounter with God where He has been magnified and He has been worshiped.  I believe if a church is not bearing fruit that looks a lot like people wanting to serve and people freely giving, the issue is worship.  Always worship.

I realize my claim that most church goers are not worshiping God is a rather judgmental statement.  How can I know whether or not someone is worshiping God?  Well, I can’t.  However, I think I can know when someone is not.  You’re not worshiping God when you are focused on self.  You’re not worshiping God when you are distracted by what other people think of you.  You’re not worshiping God when you are angry and harboring bitterness against someone else.  You’re not worshiping God when you have that sour, mean look on your face.  Sorry, but you’re not.

It’s easy to recognize fake worship because I’ve been guilty of it myself.

Week after week thousands of Christians enter church buildings and attend WORSHIP services where worship never happens.  Sure, there is music and prayer and even preaching, but the majority of attendees half-heartedly sing — if they sing at all — give little to no thought to the words and worse, little to no thought to God.  They won’t pick up a Bible and look at the preaching text.  And they whine about the sermon.  Why are we going to church?!

When I wrote the Bible study, King Hezekiah, I was awestruck by the scene found in 2 Chronicles chapter 29 — a picture of worship.  The people had been restored to a right relationship with God, their hearts were turned toward Him and they worshiped.  There were instruments (plural), singers (thousands) and LOUD music for DAYS.  They fell on their faces in humility before God and truly worshiped Him.  There was no discussion about who was leading, what style would please the most ears, what the song list was or how many songs should be played.  Those things don’t matter when the throne of God Almighty is the focus.  It was a scene of uninhibited joy and praise before the Lord.  Their focus was on a powerful and holy God who had rescued them from their sin when He could have crushed them. They were full of gratitude for His mercy and grace.  After they worshiped, they brought in an abundance of gifts to the Lord, so much so that King Hezekiah had to have more storehouses built to hold what the people gave.  They gave sacrificially.  They wanted to.  Out of hearts of worship came hearts of service and giving.  It was the same in the New Testament churches.

So, what’s our problem?  Here are three points to consider:

  • 1. We don’t worship because we don’t understand who God is. The church needs to be discipled.  We need to learn the scriptures and we need to learn them alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ.  God has revealed Himself to us through His word and through His creation.
  • 2. We don’t worship because we don’t accept that we were made for worship. Hello?  Nothing else on this planet satisfies and fulfills the human soul but worship to the creator God. However, we spend the majority of our time believing we were made for something or someone else.
  • 3. And the most frustrating of all — is that often we (church attendees) don’t worship because we don’t think we are supposed to.  It’s not appropriate in our churches to be filled with the Spirit, to weep, to raise our hands, to shout, to speak praise or to sing at the top of our lungs.  (Perhaps even more so if you are female.)  We are far too dignified.  Do we see our leaders (pastors and deacons and elders and teachers) worshiping God with uninhibited praise and joy before the Lord?  Um, no.  We see them stuck in tradition or so afraid to let go and be free themselves, we don’t know what to do.  We are afraid to embrace worship.  We quench the Spirit for the sake of everyone else’s comfort and we keep worship locked down inside us where we’ve been trained to believe it belongs.  Ask around.  You’ll learn this is true.

King Hezekiah lead his people in worship.  He was an example to his people.  He wasn’t worried about what people thought about the music or the timing.  He cared for his people, but mostly He was busy passionately loving His God.  And the king’s worship was contagious.

I love my church.  I love the church.  It’s just time to let go.  It’s time to find freedom in Christ. It’s time to get serious about being a disciples who make disciples and about doing the one thing we were created for!

I’m asking God to begin with me.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.       John 4:23

 


Personalities and Love

Personalities & LOVE

Great relationships take work.  Accept the fact that relationships; whether they be marital, parental, companion or co-worker, are not always easy to maintain.  In fact, good relationships are hard to keep.  However, we should stop equating hard with bad.  Great relationships are worth fighting for.

Always, when I present the basics of personalities, people are curious about how personalities affect their relationships, usually with their spouse.  They want to know if “opposites attract” and what that may mean for their marriage.

I am pleased to report that my husband, Nathan, and I have a fantastic marriage.  While we certainly are not perfect people and we have our struggles, we agree that knowing personalities and understanding emotional needs gives us a unique perspective on our relationship.  We both have a rich appreciation for the strengths we possess as individuals, which helps us truly love and respect one another.  We are a team.  I encourage any married person or anyone considering marriage to study personalities.

Here is a brief overview of how relationships work based on personality type.

SHARED SPACE

The “easiest” and most common relationships seem to be when the couple shares some personality space.  In other words, you and the person you are in relationship with have one color or square of the personality chart in common, but are not totally alike.  Those commonalities in behavior and expectation make the relationship easier because you naturally understand certain things about one another and are likely to have the same reactions to life circumstances.  Having your secondary personality color or square differ provides just enough balance to keep the relationship interesting.

The Popular Sanguine Relationship (yellow) – FUN!  ADVENTUROUS!  SPONTANEOUS!  Need I say more?  When two sanguines get together, it seems the fountain of fun will never run dry.  However, as we all know, there are moments in life that are just not any fun.  When the fun fades, the sanguine relationship is in danger.  Sanguines must learn how to deal with the difficult times and the fact that adult responsibilities do exist and must be handled properly.  Sometimes, planning is necessary for success and decision-making.  Together, this duo must learn how to navigate and overcome adversity.  They must learn time management, what it means to commit and how to follow the rules.  They must learn how to have fun without money and when other “not-as-fun” people are involved.  If you are in a sanguine relationship that is struggling, go have fun together.  Act a little crazy and the spark will be rekindled.

The Perfect Melancholy Relationship (blue) – When the melancholy square is the shared space the relationship tends to be well organized and private.  Time spent together is well thought out and properly placed on the calendar.  As a couple, these two have plans for provision, education and vacation as well as a timely budget or strategies for the budget in place.  The home is neat and orderly and bills are always paid on time.  However, high expectations often put a heavy burden on the relationship and it may become difficult for either person to feel perfect enough.  It may be tempting to become critical of one another and difficult to forgive and forget when the other person creates a mess.  If you are in a melancholy relationship be willing to accept delays, mishaps and changes in the plan.  Work together, but be careful not to isolate yourselves from extended family and friends.  Take time away from your normal routine to enjoy one another’s company and your common love for the arts or nature, without any rules or expectations.

The Powerful Choleric Relationship (red) – Out of the way!  Two cholerics will be working to change the world, or at least their own.  This couple is on the move, going places, doing things, seeing people, getting things done…in a word; ACTIVE.  This couple will be goal-oriented and productive.  “Down time” is spent on the next project and together this team is unstoppable.  However, these two will find themselves competing for control and for one another’s time.  Working on any relationship is too easily put off for working on work.  Be careful not to become competitive with one another.  Focus on supporting and respecting each other’s ideas.  Make time to relax.  But, realize that most of your bonding will occur as you work side by side and see accomplishments come as a result of your hard teamwork.

The Peaceful Phlegmatic Relationship (green) – Two peaceful phlegmatics simply have it made.  They are generally at peace with one another and have a relaxed relationship.  They don’t tend to pressure one another to change or do…well…anything.   As a couple they are open to whatever.  However, the reality of life circumstances are often stressful and managing a home, children and careers can easily become overwhelming for this pair.  If you are in a peaceful phlegmatic relationship you must work extra hard on communication, planning and setting boundaries.  Naturally, conflict is avoided.  So, working through problems, making decisions and sticking to a plan are difficult at best.  Phlegmatic couples are a great example for the rest of us, though, on how to be accepting, content and satisfied in a relationship.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT – When no commonalities in personality exist.

If the relationship is Powerful Choleric/Perfect Melancholy with Peaceful Phlegmatic/Popular Sanguine, the pair is a nice balance.  Some common ground exists because both people are part extrovert and part introvert giving the couple flexibility and a way to connect.  Easily, the couple will recognize their differences and have great potential to really appreciate those differences.  This is the scenario where one truly compliments the other.

If the relationship is EXTROVERT vs. INTROVERT or Sanguine/Choleric with Melancholy/Phlegmatic, the work begins.  This marriage can be very successful and fulfilling, but requires tremendous understanding.  Remember, one person is turbo-charged and energized by people, while the other is sucked dry by people and wants to go home.  This relationship will take some serious negotiating from both parties.

However, when opposites do attract the couple has a unique opportunity to create a well-rounded lifestyle and relationship that other couples struggle to find.

TOO MUCH ALIKE 

Not as common, but occasionally, people of the same personality are drawn to one another, fall in love (basically with them self) and get married.  Interestingly, it seems these marriages or lifestyles often require more attention than others because of the lack of balance.  And, by nature, two choleric or two melancholy personalities in a close relationship may need the most work of all.

The marriage will tend to have an extreme tilt.  For example if two choleric people marry, there will likely be an “abnormal” amount of conflict.  In order to tilt the marriage back to a healthy or normal range, practicing good conflict resolution becomes crucial.  Usually, one person in this relationship will have to learn to relinquish control to make peace and they begin to look a bit less “choleric.”  On the other extreme, in a relationship where both people are peaceful phlegmatic, conflict is completely avoided and lack of communication may become a serious issue.  In order for there to be progress in the home, one will be forced to step into the role of planning, making decisions and being more productive than their natural tendencies.

I think in most relationships where both people share a majority of personality traits, one person, for the sake of the relationship and general lifestyle, will step outside of their natural personality and learn to take on new traits to compensate for what is naturally off balance.  As a result, some people may even transform into what seems to be a much different person than they were when you married them.  The transformation may be just what you hoped for or it may leave you feeling unsure about the person you married.  Recognizing why change was required will help you appreciate the way your spouse has adapted to living with you.  Remember, change can be a positive thing, but the original personality is still deep within and the corresponding emotional needs still apply.

SINGLE?  NO WORRIES.  For those of you who are single, you may wonder, “Do I need a significant other to feel complete and have balance in my life?  No.  Marriage is not the only relationship.  There will be plenty of other people in your life who create that balance you need.  A phlegmatic male will find motivation from his choleric mother.  A choleric female will be humbled by her boss.  Sanguine singles will eventually settle down and seek advice from a grandparent.  A melancholy man will learn to relax as his co-workers drag him to office parties.  Just living with family, co-workers and friends will make you aware of differences in personality and you will naturally experience the fullness personalities bring to all human relationships.  Thankfully, as human beings, we have the intellectual ability to learn, change and take on strengths of other personalities so that we can access our own reserves of hidden potential, single or not.

To summarize, what is important in our relationships: don’t try to change the one we chose.  We chose our spouse because there was something about them we couldn’t live without.  We loved that “it” factor.  The “it” factor, my friends, is probably their personality — who they are and how they are wired.  Amazingly, whatever the thing was that drew us to them in the first place is the thing we end up being most annoyed by later.  Accept your differences.  Appreciate what makes your spouse unique.  Work hard at giving them the gift of meeting their emotional needs. Speaking of…

In case you need a refresher, here are the basic emotional needs of each personality:

Sanguine  (yellow) : Attention from all, Affection (touching), Approval of every deed, Acceptance “as is”

Melancholy (blue) : Sensitivity to their feelings, Understanding, Space to be alone, Silence (no people)

Choleric (red) : Loyalty, Sense of Control, Appreciation for all their hard work, Accomplishment

Phlegmatic (green) : Peace and quiet, Feelings of Worth, Lack of Stress, Respect for who they are, not what they do

 

 

 
 

 

 

 


A Mind to Unify

I opened an e-mail this morning that spoke directly to my heart.  I wanted to share it with you.  I have copied the following article from my subscription to Prime Time With God through Ephesians Four Ministries.  I began receiving their daily posts after taking a free spiritual gifts assessment on their site, www.churchgrowth.org. (Also worth your time.)

The Power of Unity
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
10-18-2012

“That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” John 17:21

What is the greatest power that allows the unsaved to make a decision for Jesus Christ? It isn’t prayer, though this is important. It isn’t good deeds, though deeds indicate a fruitful relationship with God. It isn’t good behavior, though Christ commands us to be obedient as sons. The greatest power God’s children have over darkness is unity. Jesus talked a great deal about His oneness with the Father and the importance of unity in the Body of Christ. It is the most difficult command Jesus gave to the Church, because it wars against the most evil aspect of our sin nature-independence.

In the last days we are seeing God’s Spirit convict His children of the lack of unity among His Church. We are seeing God move between blacks and whites, ethnic groups, denominations, and parachurch groups. There is much work to be done. The walls of division and competition among His Body are a stench in God’s nostrils. He sees the competition and the pride of ownership and weeps for the lost who cannot come to Him because they cannot see Him in His Body. When His Body is one, the unbelieving see that Jesus was sent by God. It is like a supernatural key that unlocks Heaven for the heathen soul. The key is in the hand of Christ’s Church. When there is unity, there is power. Scripture tells us five will chase 100, but 100 will chase 10,000 (see Lev. 26:8). There is a dynamic multiplication factor in unity of numbers. We are a hundred times more effective when we are a unified group. Imagine what God could do with a unified Church.

Jesus prayed that we all might be one, as the Father and He are one. He wanted the same love God has for Jesus to be in each of us. When this love is in us, we are drawn to each other with a common mission. The walls fall down. The independent spirit is broken. Competition is destroyed. Satan’s accusations are thwarted. Our love for each other is manifest to the world around us. Lost souls begin to seek this love that is so foreign to them.

Have you contributed to an independent spirit within His Body? Are you seeking to break down walls of competition among Christians, churches, denominations, and ethnic groups? Until we walk in the spirit of unity, we will hinder those in whom God has reserved a place in Heaven. Pray for His Church to be unified.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.


Personalities & Politics

Examining the personalties of President Obama and Mitt Romney

Life has been crazy.  So, I thought this month I’d simplify and talk about a topic that is at the forefront of our thoughts — the election.  While I will not venture too far down the political road in this post, I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at how personalities play into politics.  

Think about this: what type of personality do you think is most likely to run for political office?

If you guessed powerful choleric, I think you are right.  If you have ever been closely tied to any political campaign, you know how brutal it can be.  Candidates must have guts, nerves of steel, an aggressive presence, natural dictator-style leadership ability and no fear.  While other personality types may run and successfully be elected, by mere observation, I think it is safe to say the majority of politicians in Washington, D.C. are powerful choleric.

Do you want to know why it takes months, years even, to get things accomplished in government?  Gather all the cholerics in your family, workplace, or church; put them in a room together and ask them to reach an agreement on a difficult or complex problem.  It would be comical to watch and I can guarantee, regardless of the topic, not everyone will come out happy.  In a matter of moments the air in the room would be thick enough to cut with a knife, intensity would rise, debate would break out and down goes the likelihood of success.

When you have a group of people who a) all know they are right and b) all want their way it is going to be near to impossible for them to reach a common conclusion.  

On the flip side, it takes problem solvers and people who are not afraid to speak their mind and stand firm in the face of opposition to get the job done.  I just wonder how much of our political disappointment rests on nothing more than unavoidable personality conflicts. 

With a nation-changing presidential election approaching next month, I cannot help but examine the personalities of the presidential candidates.  Without knowing either man personally, my assessment is assumption based on the same things I would closely observe to identify your personality: body language, use of words, interests, talents, strengths and weaknesses.

President Obama: Popular or Playful Sanguine/Powerful Choleric

The Sanguine motto is, “Let’s do it the fun way.”  While fun may not be a popular political term, it’s not a stretch to see how our president’s sanguineness has revealed itself during his first term.  Whether it is playing basketball, golf, going on vacation or hanging out with celebs, this president, more than any in history, has made his white house term a fun-filled adventure.  He seems to truly enjoy appearances on television shows and with celebrities in pop culture.  Sanguines like attention and welcome opportunities to pose for the camera.  Also, Sanguines are charming.  Obama is a great speaker with the ability to win over his audiences through the sheer charm of his personality.  He makes friends easily while on the road and probably never meets a stranger.  He is the kind of person you know you would have a good time around.  He would certainly be the life of the party.  His outgoing and friendly nature makes him likeable and certainly works to his advantage.  His entire message revolves around the idea of everyone being on equal terms.  Sanguines want people to be happy and want people to like them.  What better way than by being their provider and helping them get what they want?  He will work for the happiness of his constituents at any cost.

Mitt Romney: Proper or Perfect Melancholy/Powerful Choleric

The Melancholy motto is, “Let’s do it the right way.”  I feel like in many ways, Mitt Romney must be a perfect/proper melancholy.  He projects a highly professional and proper image.  He seems concerned with appropriateness in his language, posture and dress.  He is much more reserved in his mannerisms and speech.  As an introvert, he has had to work hard at being able to communicate effectively in a public setting.  I would imagine one-on-one conversation with Mitt is much different than what we see on stage.  Lights, camera, action is not appealing to the melancholy.  In a presidential campaign, however, being in the spotlight comes with the territory.  In contrast to Obama, Romney could cares less about celebrity appearances and probably wishes he could get to Washington without hundreds of speaking engagements along the way.  His top priority is to do things right.  He will work for what he believes is right for his constituents at any cost.

The Choleric motto is, “Let’s do it my way.”  I think both Mitt Romney and President Obama are also Powerful Choleric.  Both have their own way of looking at and addressing issues, believing equally they are right.  Romney has exhibited strong leadership skills in various organizations and businesses and certainly possesses the “get it done” mentality of a choleric.  As President, Obama has also exhibited aggressiveness and a “my way or the highway” attitude common to the choleric.  Many people have called both of them arrogant…also a common label for cholerics.  I think both men strive to meet their emotional needs for accomplishment and control.

My personal assessment would be that Obama is more Sanguine than Choleric and Romney is split relatively equally between Melancholy and Choleric.  These differences in their personalities will be clearly displayed in the upcoming debates this month.  As you watch, see if you can pinpoint when Obama uses charm and humor to try and win the discussion and other moments when Romney defaults to his reserved nature and seems uncomfortable on the stage.  

Regardless of our position, social status or political preference our personalities affect who we are and how we approach things.  I’m not saying either candidate’s personality is wrong for the job, just different.  I would encourage each of you as fellow citizens to focus on educating yourself and voting based on the platform, issues and proposed solutions you feel are best for the future of America.


Personalities and Marriage

Great relationships take work.  Accept the fact that relationships; whether they be marital, parental, companion or co-worker, are not easy to maintain.  In fact, good relationships are hard to keep.  However, we must never equate hard with bad.  Great relationships are worth fighting for.

Always, when I present the basics of personalities, people are curious about how personalities affect their relationships, usually with their spouse.  They want to know if “opposites attract” and what that may mean for their marriage.

I am pleased to be able to share that my husband, Nathan, and I have a fantastic marriage.  While we certainly are not perfect people and we have our struggles, we agree that knowing personalities and understanding emotional needs gives us a unique perspective on our relationship.  We both have a rich appreciation for the strengths we possess as individuals, which helps us truly love and respect one another.  We are a team.  I encourage any married person or anyone considering marriage to study personalities.

Here is a brief overview of how relationships work based on personality type.

SHARED SPACE

The “easiest” and most common relationships seem to be when the couple shares some personality space.  In other words, you and the person you are in relationship with have one color or square of the personality chart in common, but are not totally alike.  Those commonalities in behavior and expectation make the relationship easier because you naturally understand certain things about one another and are likely to have the same reactions to life circumstances.  Having your secondary personality color or square differ provides just enough balance to keep the relationship interesting.

The Popular Sanguine Relationship (yellow) – FUN!  ADVENTUROUS!  SPONTANEOUS!  Need I say more?  When two sanguines get together, it seems the fountain of fun will never run dry.  My brother and his bride are both the popular Sanguine.  I wish I would have counted how many people referred to the word “fun” at their wedding.  They were both glowing with happiness. Sanguine marriages are exciting and fresh.  Both parties are flexible, compromising and forgiving which makes for a happy relationship.  As parents, this pair loves to play with their children and relishes in making fun memories.  However, as we all know, there are moments in life that are just not exactly fun.  When the fun fades, the sanguine relationship is in danger.  Sanguines must learn how to deal with the difficult times and the fact that adult responsibilities do exist and must be handled properly.  Sometimes, planning is necessary for success and decision-making.  Together, this duo must learn how to navigate and overcome adversity.  They must learn time management, what it means to commit and how to follow the rules.  They must learn how to have fun without money and when other “not-as-fun” people are involved.  If you are in a sanguine relationship that is struggling, go have fun together.  Act a little crazy and the spark will be rekindled.

The Perfect Melancholy Relationship (blue) – When the melancholy square is the shared space the relationship tends to be well organized and private.  Time spent together is well thought out and properly placed on the calendar.  As a couple, these two have plans for provision, education and vacation as well as a timely budget or strategies for the budget in place.  The home is neat and orderly and bills are always paid on time.  As parents, this pair is loving and very protective of their children.  They have a difficult time allowing their children to take risks or try things that are unfamiliar.  The liabilities of this relationship are high expectations.  Unrealistic standards often put a heavy burden on the relationship and it may become difficult for either person to feel perfect enough.  It may be tempting to become critical of one another and difficult to forgive and forget when the other person creates a mess.  If you are in a melancholy relationship be willing to accept delays, mishaps and changes in the plan.  Work together, but be careful not to isolate yourselves from extended family and friends.  Take time away from your normal routine to enjoy one another’s company and your common love for the arts or nature, without any rules or expectations.

The Powerful Choleric Relationship (red) – Out of the way!  Two cholerics will be working to change the world, or at least their own.  This couple is on the move, going places, doing things, seeing people, getting things done…in a word; ACTIVE.  This couple will be goal-oriented and productive.  “Down time” is spent on the next project and together this team is unstoppable.  As parents, cholerics are firm and motivating.  They will not tolerate laziness for long and are quick to correct.  As a married couple, these two will find themselves competing for control and for one another’s time.  Working on any relationship is too easily put off for working on work.  Be careful not to become competitive with one another.  Focus on supporting and respecting each other’s ideas.  Make time to relax.  But, realize that most of your bonding will occur as you work side by side and see accomplishments come as a result of your hard teamwork.

The Peaceful Phlegmatic Relationship (green) – Two peaceful phlegmatics simply have it made.  They are generally at peace with one another and have a relaxed relationship.  They don’t tend to pressure one another to change or do…well…anything.   As a couple they are open to whatever.  As parents they are very patient with their children, but must work to maintain control over them.  Strong-willed children will just take over the home.  The reality of life circumstances are often stressful and managing a home, children and careers can easily become overwhelming for this pair.  If you are in a peaceful phlegmatic relationship you must work extra hard on communication, planning and setting boundaries.  Naturally, conflict is avoided.  So, working through problems, making decisions and sticking to a plan are difficult at best.  Phlegmatic couples are a great example for the rest of us, though, on how to be accepting, content and satisfied in a relationship.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT – When no commonalities in personality exist.

If the relationship is Powerful Choleric/Perfect Melancholy with Peaceful Phlegmatic/Popular Sanguine, the pair is a nice balance.  Some common ground exists because both people are part extrovert and part introvert giving the couple flexibility and a way to connect.  Easily, the couple will recognize their differences and have great potential to really appreciate those differences.  This is the scenario where one truly compliments the other.

If the relationship is EXTROVERT vs. INTROVERT or Sanguine/Choleric with Melancholy/Phlegmatic, the work begins.  This marriage can be very successful and fulfilling, but requires tremendous understanding.  Remember, one person is turbo-charged and energized by people, while the other is sucked dry by people and wants to go home.  This relationship will take some serious negotiating from both parties.

However, when opposites do attract the couple has a unique opportunity to create a well-rounded lifestyle and relationship that other couples struggle to find.

TOO MUCH ALIKE 

Not as common, but occasionally, people of the same personality are drawn to one another, fall in love (basically with them self) and get married.  Interestingly, it seems these marriages or lifestyles often require more attention than others because of the lack of balance.  And, by nature, two choleric or two melancholy personalities in a close relationship may need the most work of all.

The marriage will tend to have an extreme tilt.  For example if two choleric people marry, there will likely be an “abnormal” amount of conflict.  In order to tilt the marriage back to a healthy or normal range, practicing good conflict resolution becomes crucial.  Usually, one person in this relationship will have to learn to relinquish control to make peace and they begin to look a bit less “choleric.”  On the other extreme, in a relationship where both people are peaceful phlegmatic, conflict is completely avoided and lack of communication may become a serious issue.  In order for there to be progress in the home, one will be forced to step into the role of planning, making decisions and being more productive than their natural tendencies.

I think in most relationships where both people share a majority of personality traits, one person, for the sake of the relationship and general lifestyle, will step outside of their natural personality and learn to take on new traits to compensate for what is naturally off balance.  As a result, some people may even transform into what seems to be a much different person than they were when you married them.  The transformation may be just what you hoped for or it may leave you feeling unsure about the person you married.  Recognizing why change was required will help you appreciate the way your spouse has adapted to living with you.  Remember, change can be a positive thing, but the originalpersonality is still deep within and the corresponding emotional needs still apply.

SINGLE?  For those of you who are single, you may wonder, “Do I need a significant other to feel complete and have balance in my life?  No.  Marriage is not the only relationship.  There will be plenty of other people in your life who create that balance you need.  A phlegmatic male will find motivation from his choleric mother.  A choleric female will be humbled by her boss.  Sanguine singles will eventually settle down and seek advice from a grandparent.  A melancholy man will learn to relax as his co-workers drag him to office parties.  Just living with family, co-workers and friends will make you aware of differences in personality and you will naturally experience the fullness personalities bring to all human relationships.  Thankfully, as human beings, we have the intellectual ability to learn, change and take on strengths of other personalities so that we can access our own reserves of hidden potential, single or not.

Anyway, back to the main point for this month…

To summarize, what is important in our relationships: don’t try to change the one you chose.  We chose our spouse because there was something about them we couldn’t live without.  We loved that “it” factor.  The “it” factor, my friends, is probably their personality — who they are and how they are wired.  Amazingly, whatever the thing was that drew us to them in the first place is the thing we end up being most annoyed by later.  Accept your differences.  Appreciate what makes your spouse unique.  Work hard at giving them the gift of meeting their emotional needs and your relationships will bring you great joy.

In case you need a refresher, here are the basic emotional needs of each personality:

Sanguine  (yellow) : Attention from all, Affection (touching),Approval of every deed, Acceptance “as is”

Melancholy (blue) : Sensitivity to their feelings,UnderstandingSpace to be alone, Silence (no people)

Choleric (red) : Loyalty, Sense of ControlAppreciation for all their hard work, Accomplishment

Phlegmatic (green) : Peace and quiet, Feelings of Worth,Lack of StressRespect for who they are, not what they do


Lady Gaga & Oprah

So, I just watched a recent interview Oprah did with Lady Gaga on her new series Oprah’s Next Chapter.  I feel an urgent need to respond in some way and this blog was my first thought.  In the interview, Oprah, in typical fashion, is trying to get to the “real” Gaga and understand who she is and what she wants in life.  The truth is, Lady Gaga is as she appears; creative, strange, bizarre, famous, wealthy, and disturbed.  I am not a Lady Gaga fan for the simple fact that she is too vulgar for me.  However, I can respect her hard work and genuine talent and I do enjoy listening to a song or two.  However, my personal opinion of Lady Gaga is not important to this post.

What is important is what she, and Oprah, had to say about her new foundation, Born that Way.  The episode shows various clips from Gaga and Oprah’s launch of the foundation at Harvard University.  Obviously, the combination of these three platforms –- Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga and Harvard University –- drew a huge crowd and media attention.  I have no doubt the message of the foundation will spread like wildfire.  When people with so much fame speak, people listen and minds are influenced.  The message of the foundation is one of anti-bullying, acceptance, and encouraging youth to embrace who they are with the understanding that they were “born that way” and they should love themselves, not caring about what anyone else thinks for the purpose of their happiness.

Sounds good, right?  I mean who in their right mind is pro-bullying or all for people hating themselves?  No one.

While listening to the interview, you certainly get the impression that Lady Gaga fully believes and embraces her message.  I could never label her as a hypocrite, she practices what she preaches.  There is nothing Gaga is not  willing to do or try or say if and when she feels like it.  It is clear that this message defines her; she is whoever she wants to be, with no limits and nothing holding her back.   Gaga and her mother attribute her worldwide fame and success to this creative freedom and share touching stories of cruel experiences Gaga had as a teen who was bullied.

However, everything we believe and live out has consequences.  It is a simple fact.  Gaga has lived fully in her belief and her extreme creativity has made her a superstar around the world.  But, there is always more than meets the eye.  When someone incredibly famous starts spreading a message that thousands are going to hear, I listen and consider the impact.  And I believe there is a fundamental flaw and a contradiction in her message that will lead many down a path of destruction.

Here is where I get confused, Gaga is quick to admit she is not perfect, in fact she says no one is perfect.  I agree.  But, think about what she is saying.

If we accept and believe that we are not perfect, then how do we spread the message that we are born perfectly fine and we should embrace who we are?  Which is it, Lady Gaga?  If you are not perfect, then can you please explain which part of you is wrong?  Is it the profanity, the half-nakedness, the sexually charged choreography, the alcohol binges, the days you refuse to make contact with family and worry them sick, or something else that makes you imperfect?  According to Gaga all of these things I just mentioned are the results of her creative process.  There is nothing “wrong” with any of it.  In fact, her own mother said the only thing she doesn’t like is when Stephanie curses in public.  But, she goes on to surrender to the fact that cursing is just a part of who Lady Gaga is, so it’s okay.  So, even her mother agrees, there is nothing actually wrong with anything.  Why then does Gaga think she is not perfect?  How does she define what is okay and what is not?  Call me crazy, but this makes no logical sense.

My fear is that if we teach youngsters that there is nothing wrong with them, then is anything they desire or any behavior actually wrong?  How do you even make a case for positive change or personal development?  How do we determine rules at school and enforce them?  How do we parent?  Should there even be rules or should we just let everyone do as they please, if and when and how they feel like it because it makes them happy?  Imagine.  This is the world Lady Gaga is trying to create.

You see, when we lose the ability to define right and wrong, we become very confused, messed up individuals.

The truth is no one is born perfect and, yes, we know it.   We are all born with natural tendencies to do wrong.  Think back to when your first-born child was six months old and decided to slap you in the face.  Babies are inclined to assert themselves when you refuse to give them what they want.  They are “born that way”.  My four-year old son is highly competitive and is inclined to run you over if he thinks you are going to win his race.  He would rather see you bleed than win.  He was “born that way”.   Many a man has been born with a temper or felt inclined to dominate every situation in his life, it makes him happy to control women and children in whatever way he sees fit.  Many a woman has been born with a desire to feel attractive and has obsessively destroyed her body trying to achieve her desired look.  She was “born that way”.

Being “born that way” does not make you right.  Unless, of course, there is no “right.”

Listen, I am all for being nice and respectful toward those who are different from us.   Different is not the same thing as wrong and I teach that concept in almost every presentation I give; different is not wrong.  But, I am careful to say, “but, wrong is wrong and there is right and wrong.”  Gaga’s attitude of total acceptance seems good on the surface, but I am warning you, if our culture continues to embrace this idea, then right and wrong are out the window.  Everything becomes relative, there are no lines to be drawn.  We need to ask ourselves, where will it end?  If Lady Gaga feels inclined to perform naked, who’s to stop her?  If young people want to behave in certain ways because it makes them happy, do you have the right to stop them and tell them what they are doing is wrong?  According to this theory, no.  There are no absolutes, except of course the statement, “there are no absolutes.”  That statement, I guess, is the exception.

My solution is this:  Surrender to the idea that there is a rule giver.  There is an almighty and perfect God who created the boundaries for our good and for His glory.  He IS right.  Here is my anti-bullying message, “Don’t be a jerk.  Treat other people the way you want to be treated.  Everyone is precious and valuable because they were made in the image of God and they deserve to be treated as such.  Bullying is wrong and if you do it, there will be consequences.”  See how easy that was?  When we submit to the authority of our creator, everything else falls into place.

When we try to design and develop our own rules, things get really screwed up.

Why?

Because as Lady Gaga put it, none of us are perfect.

 


Etiquette Matters to Me

I recently received certification as an expert in American Business Etiquette from the American Business Etiquette Trainers Association.  While I have practiced some etiquette techniques for years, I learned several new things through the hours of training in twenty different etiquette modules.  I am now more convinced that etiquette is the key element in growing your business.  The success of any business, large or small, hinges on relationships.   Etiquette opens the door by  helping you build rapport and immediate trust with others in business dealings.

However, to be perfectly honest, I am discovering that not all proper etiquette comes natural to me.  It is a skill I must consciously practice with the hope it will become habit.  What I love about the idea of etiquette and what continues to motivate me  is that it truly is about putting others first.  Studying the art of etiquette has given me appropriate tools for a professional environment to SHOW that I care.  It is true you know?  People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.

If you have a desire to help people and to make a positive difference through your business, hobbies or other passions, then I believe you cannot ignore your good manners skill set.  Good manners are tied to building good relationships and good relationships are tied to truly helping others grow and change.

“Let noting be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Philippians 2:3


Bullying, Authority and Messed Up Kids

In a few days I will be speaking to 400 students at the junior high I attended in 6th-8th grade.  In preparation I asked the teacher/student council advisor to answer a few questions.  Her answers confirmed what I already knew; these kids lack respect for themselves and others and bullying has become a problem in my hometown as it has across the country.  While bullying has ALWAYS existed, since the time Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel, it seems to be intensified by our obsession with technology.

Today I was doing research and found a pretty helpful and well written website on this very topic. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/   It covers all types of bullying and has stats from years of research.  The bottom line for me, however, is that the problem starts at home.  As a parent of two myself, I would dare to say it is the most difficult, yet most rewarding job in the world.  Our effectiveness as parents translates to every area of our child’s life…including how they treat their peers…face to face and through technology.

The biggest trend in bullying is through texting or online messaging (facebook).  Kids (and adults) post ugly stuff, gossip, nasty pictures, all kinds of confrontational garbage just to make digs at someone they don’t like or want to cut down.   Of course the worst thing is the impact all the meanness has on the victim…low self-esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts, and worse.  But, I can’t help but want to scream…”if your child is being impacted negatively by online activity and texting gossip or sexting, TAKE IT AWAY!”  Your  11 year old child will not die without a cell phone or access to facebook!”  Children are not mentally or emotionally mature enough to handle what happens outside of your control.  Protect them.

However, over half of all students are bullies themselves!  If your child is the one posting the nasty pictures they take in a locker room, making digs at other kids and being mean, “TAKE THE PHONE AND THE COMPUTER AWAY.”  Easy fix.

I’ll end by sharing a true story, changing the names and circumstances to protect the innocent…or in this case…not so innocent.  A few weeks ago I was helping at a youth event and a teenager, I believe 8th or 9th grade, was jumping up and down on a pool table.  I, being at least 15 years older than this youngster, walked in, saw what she was doing and asked her to get down.  She  stopped, looked at me and then casually said, “no, we do this all the time.”  She then turned around and resumed her “play.”  I was stunned.  Had I EVER ignored, much less blatantly disobeyed an adult, I would have been in so much trouble!  The truth is, it never crossed my mind I even had the option.  Disregard for authority is a real problem.  Never leads to a road of blissful happiness.  I would guess a road of great struggle, difficulty and maybe even prison….really.

Take heart.  Kindness can reign.  People can be nice.  Children can learn to listen and respect authority.  IF we don’t give up and believe the lie that all is hopeless,  all is not lost.  God is in control.  He knows and loves each of us.  We just have to first learn to be obedient to Him and His authority and the rest will fall into place.  I pray my children will see and learn how to be obedient and respectful to authority not just because I “make” them, but because they see the example in me.

Here is the link to the bullying website, again.  Check it out.

http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/


4 Steps to Resolutionize Your Life

If you are new here, welcome!

This month, my FREE Personality Newsletter was about how our personalities affect resolutions.  This article offers great support for this topic

As I seek to grow this blog, one thing I’d like to start doing more is sharing good information I find.  This article was written by a fellow Personality Trainer and Life Coach, Kathryn Robbins.  Enjoy!

The Holidays have come and gone, and for some, so have our New Year resolutions. It doesn’t take long to fall off the wagon. Why is that? What are resolutions anyway?

According to a dictionary definition, resolution is:
1. the act or an instance of resolving
2. something resolved or determined; decision
3. a formal expression of opinion by a meeting, esp. one agreed by a vote
4. the act or process of separating something into its constituent parts or elements

Many times our “resolutions” are nothing more than good intentions, but if we look at the definition again, it gives us step for making real and lasting resolutions.

1.  The act or an instance of resolving. Before you can resolve anything, there needs to be a problem. This requires taking a good look at where you are, how you got there and where you want to go. Looking back over past years is not a bad thing even if it is a bit painful. Adjustments are harder to make and have a greater failure rate if you have no idea where you are or where you want to go. The Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland said it best, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” The truth of the matter is each year builds on the other, so it’s logical to look back and take inventory.

Get out paper and a pencil and let’s make a few lists. Look back over the past year. In a word or two, describe how 2011 was for you?

2011 was ___________________.

Make two lists for these next questions, one for your business or career and one for the personal side of your life. Be honest as you formulate your answers. False humility or over inflated ego will not serve you well in this area, save that for the Oscars.

What are you MOST proud of accomplishing in 2011? Make a list of at least 5 things. Go ahead; pat yourself on the back. Chances are you worked hard for it.

What skills did you gain this year? Make a list of at least 5 things. The moment we stop learning, we stop growing, so – good job. Be proud of your accomplishments.

Where do you feel you blew it? Here’s where we will find our problem to resolve. Thomas Edison tested over 3000 filaments before he came up with his version of a practical light bulb, so let’s not think of blowing it as failure. We can look at it the same way Edison did, each time he tried and missed, he knew he was one step closer to finding the one that would work.

Our resolutions don’t have to be the same old ones everybody makes; lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more, yaddi-yaddi-yadda. Resolutions can also revolve around personal growth or relationships. Here’s where it is a good idea to know your personality type’s strengths and struggles. Let me give a typical problem for each personality type and show how personality strengths can aid learned skills in resolving personality problems or struggles.Click here to see chart.

Playful Sanguine: Problem – time management. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a Playful say, “I really need to get my act together,” I’d be a rich woman. One of the strengths of a Playful is their ability to be creative – add today’s technology and a Playful can get a handle on their schedule. Most cell phones have an ability to set an alarm; they can even be set to repeat at the same time each day. A little ringy-dingy goes a long way.

Powerful Choleric: Problem – too brash. Powerfuls value honesty, but blatant honesty is like a laser blast to the eyeball – too harsh. A natural strength of a Powerful is their ability to fix almost anything, coupled with the learned skill of tolerance; you could have a wise sage on your hands, one who has the ability to see the solution and the maturity to say it in a way that is helpful.

Proper Melancholic: Problem – self-centeredness. Propers desire perfection or something close to it and people mess up their plans, so they like to go it alone, making sure their work is right and not becoming overly concern if others fail by their own inabilities. Their natural strength is the ability to analyze – think it through – do the research, unite that with the learned skill of assisting others and the world would be a much better place.

Peaceful Phlegmatic: Problem – procrastination. “I was just going to do that.” I’m thinking not. Peacefuls are known for their patience and long suffering, and if that is partnered with the skill of good work ethics, we would see a character worth its weight in gold.

Each resolution needs a problem. Review your blew it list, pick one struggle and work through the next steps.

2.  Something resolved or determined; decision. Now that we have taken a look back, let’s use that information to make a plan for moving forward. If we are lacking in resolve or determination about what we should do, or get talked into doing something that’s good for us, chances are we haven’t truly made the decision. It’s still just good intentions and the chance of success is greatly diminished.

Make an educated decision; know what you’re getting into. Be sure to listen to your heart as well, because our emotional needs will always win any power struggle waged in the subconscious mind. Feed the need and the rest will follow. Click here to see chart.

3.  A formal expression of opinion by a meeting, esp. one agreed by a vote.We all have a friend who at some time or another planned to do something stupid, and more than likely we tried to talk them out of it. When we bounce our thoughts and ideas off other people, we benefit from their experience and knowledge as well as our own. If most of the people in your life are telling you “don’t do it” or “go for it,” chances are they see things you don’t see. We either don’t see clearly, because we are too close to the situation, or we want what we want and there’s no talking us out of it. There really is safety in numbers.

For me, I have found group life coaching to be a great tool for making goals and decisions. The women in my group care about each other, but aren’t all up in each other’s business. This gives freedom to share, try, fail or succeed without embarrassment.

4. The act or process of separating something into its constituent parts or elements. Now we are getting to the nuts and bolts of a resolution – the plan. With each resolution, ask yourself, “What does the process look like to me?” If you can see it, you can do it. If your plan is fuzzy, the outcome may stay out of focus for a long time.

Any successful plan needs clear, measurable goals. For instants, let’s say I want to be less brash, (I hear the cheers) what does that look like to me. First, I need to identify what brash looks like to others, seeing my brashness is more offensive to them than it is to me. Be brave; ask them what kinds of things are offensive. Be prepared to hear things you won’t like. Remember that’s how change works, but if nothing changes – nothing changes.

Then I will have to monitor my behavior to see where I get myself in trouble. Do I say brash things when I’m upset or is it my sense of humor that hits people wrong? Tune in and pay attention to how people react. Once this is identified, I need to “own” my behavior, admit that I do it, without blaming others for my actions and reactions. This can be very painful and humbling, but worth the journey. Now comes the hard part, catching myself before engaging in the troublesome behavior.

Were you able to see the “parts” or steps to my resolution?

Step 1- What needs to be resolved? My brashness.
Step 2 – Do I care? My decision – yes, I care. I want to change in order to have better relationships.
Step 3 – Find consensus and support. I ask for people’s opinions – painful, but liberating.
Step 4 – Break it down into parts, so it’s not so overwhelming. For example: Q-What’s the first physical action I’m going to take, to move me from the problem to the solution? A-Only blurt out half the advice I want to say. In time I will work my way up to only giving advice when asked.

The first 30 days of a resolution are the most critical. It’s estimated that by January 2, more than half of the resolutions made on or before Jan 1, are broken. By January 3rd, another 10% will be abandoned and sad to say, by April 1st, 90 % of resolutions morph into half-hearted good intentions or regrets. It is vital to the success of any resolution to have clear measurable action steps in place during those first 30 days. In the immortal words ofThomas Jefferson, “Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.”The founding fathers of any nation had a huge resolution in front of them, follow in their “action steps” and change your world.

In a word, how do I see 2012? Resolutionary!

To your success!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kathryn Robbins, Certified Personality Trainer, Life Coach, Speaker and President of  Personality Principles LLC, who has helped hundreds of people find the missing pieces to their relationship issues, by understanding personality strengths, struggles and emotional needs. Kathryn is available for speaking and training events as well as private coaching sessions. Visit the website for more information www.personalityprinciples.com.
Take the FREE personality profile.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jaclyn Rowe is a Personality Expert and National Speaker.  Information on speaking topics and booking may be found at www.jaclynrowe.com.