About a month ago I got an email from a friend who has known me for almost 20 years. (Wait...am I really that old...yes we met freshman year of college...probably fall of 1987. Wow!) Anyway she read back through some of my old blogs and came upon the "Are there any questions?" blog of November 2. After reading it she had this to ask...
"What ways have you changed since your time in Turkey -- meaning, in character or spiritually?"
I told her that I would post the answer in a blog instead of in an email back to her, but have had trouble coming up with an easy answer. I feel like I have changed dramatically, but I can't really explain it. Before receiving her email our family went to California for Christmas and had a chance to spend some time with one of Brian's mentors. He challenged us to take a personality profile test to see how we scored. This personality test is the one that types you as a popular sanguine, powerful choleric, peaceful phlegmatic or perfect melancholy. I took this same test my senior year of high school and was a popular sanguine. I wondered how I would rate this time. Had I changed? So here is a partial answer to Karen's question and some other random thoughts I have about myself!
I had a lot of trouble taking the test this time. I don't remember how I felt when I took it in high school. Was it easier to know who I was when I was younger? It sure seemed to be! On this test I had to read each of four words on a line. I was supposed to select the word that most accurately described who I was naturally. If I had learned a behavior from a class, book, or for a job it is not considered a natural behavior for me. The test encouraged me to ask my friends or family if I had trouble choosing a word to describe me. It said that people often have a lot of baggage tied up in who they think they are so input from others can be insightful. If I was unsure of what a word meant there were definitions to help me make a choice. After reading all of those directions I got started.
1. adventurous, adaptable, animated, analytical
whew...this isn't so bad...definitely adaptable
2. persistant, playful, persuasive, peaceful
hmmm...persuasive...wait...is that a good thing or not....definition - convinces through logic and fact rather than charm or power...okay yes persuasive
3. refreshing, respectful, reserved, resourceful
Oh my ...I need definitions for these...
refreshing - renews and stimulates or makes others feel good
respectful - treats others with deference, honor and esteem
reserved - self-restrained in expression of emotion or enthusiasm
resourceful - able to act quickly and effectively in virtually all situations
Well, I would like to be refreshing, but I think reserved is a better description
And on it went. The strengths weren't too hard, but the weaknesses were another story!
1. brassy, bossy, bashful, blank
okay...I guess of these I am bossy.
2. interrupts, impatient, insecure, indecisive
definitely indecisive, but wait, let me see a definition...
indecisive - finds it difficult to make any decision at all
Well, that's not me. I am not indecisive in the important things...just in deciding what I want to eat or what fun thing I want to do. And then it's just because there are so many good options! Okay, then what about insecure...
insecure - is apprehensive or lacks confidence
Well good grief...none of these are me. What does Brian think...interrupts - is more of a talker than a listener, starts speaking without even realizing someone else is already speaking...what? That isn't right. What does Abby say...definitely not interrupts...insecure. Okay...insecure.
3. unpredictable, unaffectionate, unpopular, uninvolved
What....this is crazy. I mean I know I have weaknesses, but I don't think any of these are me either! After consulting my "friends and family" I decided on unaffectionate - finds it difficult to verbally or physically demonstrate tenderness openly....although I don't think that is a "natural" personality trait for me.
And on it went. I tried to take the test by myself, but had too much trouble. When I finally finished I looked at my results.
Sanguine - 8
Choleric - 16
Melancholy - 4
Phlegmatic - 15
So what does this mean? I am a combination Choleric/Phlegmatic. Then I read on about normal healthy patterns, and it didn't mention this combination. So I continued reading. "There are two combinations that are not natural: Sanguine/Melancholy and Choleric/Phlegmatic." Well, that would be me. Not natural. Basically the test said that if your types don't go together you are masking your true personality and to retake the test making sure to consult the definitions. I tried this, and although I changed a few answers the results were still the same. I did see answers that I thought used to be more my personality...like in the strength examples above...I probably would have picked adventurous and playful when I was in high school, but I don't think I am those things as much anymore. Basically I am messed up!
I thought about this and what it means. I think that after reading about each personality I am more sanguine/phlegmatic, but I have learned a few things since I have been overseas. This is where I am finally answering Karen's question.(Sorry it has taken so long!) Since I have been in Turkey I have learned how to be more assertive. It is not natural for me, but I can do it. I have learned how to confront my problems instead of ignoring them hoping them they will go away. I am more unemotional, independent, and confident than I was before I arrived. I have some choleric traits naturally, but not enough for this to be my dominant personality type. After being on a small team and having to work through problems with people I have learned a lot about how to relate to others. I don't think I am messed up. I am just more well-rounded in my thoughts and personality.
So that didn't really touch how I have changed spiritually, but I do feel like it is all related. God has taught me great things about who He is through my personality trials! As I learned to step out of what was natural for me I had to depend on God to work it out. Before coming overseas I didn't know what it meant to depend on God! Now I realize that I can't do this on my own! Not at all! And there is so much more I could say, but this is already way longer than most people want to read so I'll stop with this question. If you knew me before I went to Turkey and then saw me again while we were in the states or converse with me regularly through email do you think I changed? Do you see any differences in me? I want the good, the bad, and the ugly!