I am a big fan of understanding personality. I love personality tests, and love languages, and spiritual gifts tests – any kind of tool which will give me more insight into why I do what I do, and why other people do what they do.
I am also a really big fan of avoiding labels, and not putting myself in a box, of allowing Jesus to mold me and change me, and helping me to overcome my weaknesses.
I have spent my whole life believing that I am not a people person.
My dad is a people person. He finds best friends absolutely everywhere he goes. It used to drive my sisters and me nuts when we were younger. We were always waiting for him to finish talking to people, whether it was on the phone before supper, or on vacation at West Edmonton Mall.
I never saw myself like that. I like quiet evenings at home, and I like spending time by myself. I like people, and doing social stuff, but then I’m really happy to come home and unwind.
It was my love for the quiet unwind that led me to believe I was not a people person.
But then Markus Goertzen came along and asked us for a ride.
Markus was working on summer staff here at Red Rock Bible Camp. He is really nice and friendly, always kind and polite, great with kids, hard working, and very musical and athletic. Basically, if I had a son, I would be quite pleased if he turned out like Markus.
Anyway, one day our family was driving into the city, and Markus asked us if he could get a ride. We were taking the camp truck in, so Ben and Markus sat in front, while I crammed into the back between our girls and their car seats.
We drove off for the city, and….we sat in complete silence.
Now, Ben is usually a very friendly, outgoing type of person. He is a people person. So I kept waiting for him to engage Markus in some inspiring conversation. But I waited and waited…and there was just nothing. Driving in complete silence made me feel a little uncomfortable.
I kept reminding myself that Ben was quite tired that morning, and maybe he was waiting for his morning coffee to kick in, but in the meantime, he was missing such a fantastic opportunity to get to know Markus better! And how long would we drive along in awkward silence??
I started to get frustrated. Markus is such an interesting person, there were about a million things one could ask him about! When was Ben going to get started??
Finally, I could take it no longer. Having been a piano teacher, I had all kinds of questions I’d been wanting to ask Markus about music.
I decided to jump in.
I learned all kinds of interesting things about Markus that day. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with him, and there was a steady stream of conversation for the whole hour and a half drive.
When we dropped Markus off, I sat there in the truck, thinking. I thought about how much I enjoy learning about other people. I thought about how much fun it is to think up questions to ask, and ways to get someone to open up more. I thought about how much I love the opportunity to mentor girls here at camp, and I thought about how alive I feel whenever I have the chance to speak in front of a large group of people.
And suddenly, I had an epiphany in the camp truck.
I turned to Ben and said, “I think I might be more of a people-person than I thought I was.”
To which Ben immediately replied, “I always thought you were.”
So what I would like to say is that sometimes, we think we know ourselves, but we don’t.
Sometimes, words which have been spoken over us, by others or even ourselves, can box us in, and keep us from becoming all that God intends for us to be.
Sometimes, God wants to call us into new and uncharted territory, and that is scary and right and good.
Sometimes, finding out where we’ve been and where we’re coming from is very helpful, but it does not need to determine where we are going.