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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The sacrament of kindness




I wish I knew how to mark up a computer screen...you know, underline things and make side bar notations on articles I read online so I can find the important stuff later? Like I do in books...

I got up early this morning...way earlier than makes me happy. But there comes a time when all the tossing and turning and flipping and flopping like a beached fish only means you need to surrender...drag yourself out of the comfy coziness...and get the coffee brewing.

Because I'm in a semi-conscious state until coffee hits my nervous system, odd things tend to roll around in my brain...things I've had on my mind...things I didn't know I have on my mind.

Such as the word sanguine. It was the first word to push itself into my consciousness this morning. I slowly recalled that it was a word I had used yesterday in a message with my daughter-in-love. We were attempting to encourage one another which is usually hilarious as we are so similar in personality and temperament that it's like the blind leading the blind! But it's fun...and we usually triumph...and if nothing else, I love listening to her!

Anyway, sanguine. I mentioned that we were both of the sanguine (rhymes with penguin) type and that should explain why we are the way we are. But after I said that I thought, 'Gee, I really should look that word up, because just having a word pop into your head does not mean you know it'. So I Googled it, and as they say I was ROFL...hysterically. Us extroverted? Optimistic? If we were, I'm sure we wouldn't be having a conversation on encouragement! And that thought percolated in my head overnight, until it rudely woke me up in the wee hours of this morning.

So with nothing else to do at 5 am, I decided I needed a perusal of The Four Personality Types to set myself straight. Now this is probably where I am going to lose some of you, but hang in there...I promise I'll not go astray or heretical here!

Let me copy a few main points from the article I started with to show you where I'm going with this...

The Four Temperaments personality system attempts to describe a person's overall attitude towards problems, other people, and life in general in a very broad way.
There are four temperaments, which are combined into twelve pairs called 'blends'. Each person has one of these blends that fits how they are most of the time; it is constant throughout life, not a shifting mood. Temperaments don't change according to circumstances; rather, they determine how we react to situations.
The temperaments are a way of classifying peoples' emotional attitudes, the foundations of their personality. They apply in a very broad strokes way - that is, they are vague rather than specific and detailed - and make no attempt to identify every detail of a person's personality.

Temperaments are not passing moods, or phases in our attitudes. They are the foundation of our emotional natures, which stay constant throughout life (barring perhaps severe brain injury), from birth until death, even though every other aspect of our personality may change.

Our views, our beliefs, our tastes, our confidence levels... All these things DO change while staying bound to a fundamental temperament. The temperament affects how these things change.

Got it? I'll put the link at the bottom of the blog if you want to go deeper...or need things clarified. But for now, this should suffice.

Let me start off by saying that for all my life I've had this crazy image of what I should be...what I should do...how I should act. They say that how you are as a child is a precursor to what you will be like as an adult...and by golly, they were right!



I remember now early signs of who I was...

In elementary school my teachers told me to stop being such a Worry Wart...

About the same time, my father gave me a pin that said, Think Twice...

And I loved to hide in my room, creating works of art and reading endlessly.

And then there were the warning signs that I thought I knew who I should be...

Forcing myself to trying out for cheer leading even though I had no interest in it or talent for it, simply because it was the right thing to do if you wanted to be successful. It was horrible.

Ditto for singing in front of an audience.

I remember agonizing over the Myers Briggs Test when we were joining Wycliffe. It took me forever to finish, mainly because I knew how I wanted to answer but that's not what they were looking for!

Anyway, you get the picture.

Today it hit me...not as a light-bulb moment but more as an electrical storm...that I have always thought I should be something I'm not. And I have been miserable trying to live up to this mirage.

So let's start with the idea that there are four different Temperament Types: Melancholy, Choleric, Phlegmatic, Sanguine. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. And though it is possible to have a combination of them, we each have one main, dominant Temperament Type that we exhibit. (To read about them: http://temperaments.fighunter.com/?page=comparison)

As I read through the descriptions of the different types, searching for which one best described me, I was stopped short when I came to Melancholy. 'Hey! That's me! Totally! The good, the bad, the ugly!' I felt like the weight of judgement I had been carrying all these years against myself just slipped away. And the mental mirror I have been standing in front of all my life? It finally unfogged!

So who am I? I'm an introvert and I create and recharge best with lots of alone time...I am sensitive and will put up with a lot before I blow...Truth is important to me...I care deeply and am strongly moved by emotion...I hate change and get stressed with the unknown...I feel fear strongly...I am deeply aware of my faults and can be merciless on myself...I am analytical and perfection is important to me, therefore I can be pessimistic, seeing the imperfections of the world and people as reasons that things will never get better.  (www.temperaments.fighunter.com/?page=comparison)

Wanting someone to share in my excitement, I texted my daughter: 'I think recognizing we are a certain way keeps us from self-doubt and questioning and beating ourselves up. We hold ourselves up to an imaginary ideal instead of embracing ourselves as we are...our strengths, weaknesses, warts, and all. I can finally stop fighting myself!'

Now, lest you take this and run with it where it should NOT go, let me say that none of this excludes Christ or His work of sanctification in our lives!

Rather, He takes us as we are and uses our temperaments to His glory and the blessing of others...refining us...shaping us...conforming us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Example: I feel other's pain and suffering deeply. Believe me, I really, really wish I didn't. In the flesh I could use that as an excuse to hide from those in pain. But instead, Christ uses these things to draw me closer to His heart of compassion and gives me a desire to pray...and at times to take action as He leads.

Another example: Truth is important to me. Now, I could become proud of my knowledge and understanding...that's always an unhealthy option. But instead, Christ wants me to humbly apply Wisdom to Truth and then use this combination to minister to others.

Christ makes all things beautiful...even messy temperaments!

From this day forth and forever more let it be known: I am not a mistake! You are not a mistake! And that is the best news I've heard in a long, long time.

It's time we start being kind to ourselves, dear ones...embracing ourselves...setting ourselves free to be who we are.

Because once we embrace kindness, we are no longer held captive...to what the world says we should be...to what some misguided Christians say we should be...to what we say we should be.

Christ Jesus came to set the captives free...and we are all captives in one way or another.

How about if today we start administering The Sacrament of Kindness to one another...outwardly extending grace to walk in the courage and strength of who we are...not who we think we should be.

Each of us is infinitely precious to God and dearly beloved by Him. We are His workmanship and we can rest knowing that He is Faithful. He will be at work in us until the day we enter His Presence. Praise God!

In the meantime let us be kind...

To ourselves and to one another.

Shine on, dear ones! You are loved!




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Temperament sites:

www.temperaments.fighunter.com

www.fourtemperaments.com

For some reason I can't get them to automatically link but feel free to copy/paste into your search bar!




photo credit: wuestenigel <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/39740772155">Girl's hand holding burning candle. Winter background.</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>





















































The Sanguine is extroverted, fun-loving, playful, activity-prone, impulsive, entertaining, persuasive, easily amused, and optimistic. Sanguine people are boisterous, bubbly, chatty, openly emotional, social extroverts.