Have you ever felt bad about the personality you have?

Are you more of a soft-spoken and quiet person who is often mistaken for being weak and withdrawn?

Is it easy for you to make people laugh, but you have a hard time being taken seriously?

We’re told from the time we are little that we are special and unique because there is no one else like us.  Then as we get older, we can feel bad about ourselves if there are things in our personality that aren’t like everyone else, and we are  often misunderstood.

I have struggled in this area.  For instance, I have always been a very bold person.  It’s kind of a double-edged sword.  Boldness has gotten me into some trouble, but it has also led me to some pretty amazing experiences.

The boldness of my 20’s was tempered with more hubris.  And I’d like to think the boldess of my 30’s with more humility.

I remember taking a personality test about three years ago and feeling bad about the results.  Adjectives like BOLD, AGGRESSIVE, and INSISTENT were accompanied with all the positives and negatives that go along with them.  Of course, I chose only to focus on the negatives about what that test said about my personality.  Why couldn’t I be more soft-spoken and docile like so-and-so from church? You know how many times I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth, Lord!

But no sooner did those thoughts come, that I heard God speak to my heart: “Everything about how I made you was designed to fulfill the purpose for which I have called you.”

Immediately I thought of Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works that God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Today, while talking to my husband about an experience I had in prison ministry, I had an “ah-ha” moment about all of this.

The way I look at it, just based on physical appearance, I have about a zero intimidation factor to the hardened criminal.

But on a REGULAR basis, I have to take and maintain control of 25-30 female inmates, most of whom ARE physically intimidating.  They want to talk and touch and mess around during class.  So if you want to be an effective leader in prison ministry, you have to make it known early and often that that stuff is not going to be tolerated.  These aren’t the pretty people who sit in the church seats and quietly listen to the sermon.  They are loud and brash and terribly wounded.

Yesterday an inmate, who had been previously banned from Bible study because of her erratic behavior, snuck into the room.  As I was about to begin teaching, I saw her, and that momentary fear gripped my heart.   I thought, “oh no, I don’t want to deal with this in front of everyone!”

But thank God, He made me BOLD. I told her in a very polite but matter-of-a-fact way, that she wasn’t allowed in and would have to leave. I walked over to the door and opened it for her.  She walked past me in very close proximity and insulted me on the way out… loud enough for everyone to hear.  Then I had to go back to the podium in front of 30 women and teach with passion and enthusiasm.

After class, several women came up to me to thank me for not allowing disruptions in class, because according to them, so many other Bible studies they attend throughout the week are ruined because the teacher is too afraid to call out bad behavior, so no one can concentrate on what is being talked about.

Apparently I’m known in that jail for being a tough cookie.  Ha – who knew?!?!

Oh yeah, God did.

And so now I see more than ever just how well this totally ‘out of left field’ calling suits my personality.   God did know what He was doing when He gave me this personality.

And He knew what He was doing when He gave you yours.