I have to always remember who I am…
Sometimes I forget that God not only made me who I am, but HOW I am. So you don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that I have no need to change and improve… I still have to work on my journey to God. I am always struggling with sins, pride, lust, jealousy, etc. But sometimes I let other people tell me how I should feel, act, or think.
For example, I recently retook the Myers Briggs temperament assessment. This is a great self-assessment (you can take it for free here) that has given me the same results for the last 14 years… very reliable. My results are here. I am an ENTJ – commonly called a “Chief”, “Field Marshall”, or “General”. Here is a brief description:
decisive, fearless, planner, thrill seeker, engaged, social, self centered, comfortable around others, image conscious, likes to be center of attention, adventurous, outgoing, manipulative, emotionally stable, leader, ambitious, hard working, dominant, prepared, hates to be bored, confident, opinionated, analytical, prepares for worst case scenarios, organized, orderly, clean, driven, resourceful, finishes most things they start, achieving, risk taker, desires fame/acclaim, image focused, narcissistic, arrogant, perfectionist, driven, academic, scientific, critical, avoids giving in to others, does not like to compromise, skeptical
So naturally, by Divine Design, I am not the warmest/fuzziest guy around (exception noted here). Do I care for people? Yes! But the way I care looks different than someone with a much higher level of empathy… and that’s OK! In fact, it is God designed! I care for people through planning, watch-care, shepherding (a shepherd’s first calling was as the guardian-warrior!), and overseeing, in addition to emotional connection, and holding their hand in tough times.
Said in another way, this is why The Church – the gathering of Christ followers – is so important… because when the stuff hits the fan, we need the police officer to care for us by chasing down the bad guy and keeping the neighborhood safe AS WELL AS the social worker to give us a hug after the fact. And most police officers don’t make good social workers (and vice versa). They are different callings – but both critical to caring for people. And the worst possible scenario? A police officer who has been convinced he needs to be a social worker, or a social worker who has been bullied into trying to be a police officer… they will be frustrated and deliver poor care!
What does this mean? I will always work on showing empathy, and consciously tempering my leader side with care for people… but over the years I have let other people – people who think that because of my title “Pastor” I must fit their mental model of a pastor – attempt to tell me how I should be/act/feel. And during certain seasons of my life it really chewed me up inside, causing me to question my calling… almost causing me to leave ministry because I was told I wasn’t “cut out” to be a pastor (I wasn’t touchy-feely enough).
And that really burns my butt! Because we have let the whole concept of “pastor” be too narrowly defined as ONLY the more empatheic temperments. But some of us who serve God in ministry were designed by Him differently! We are planners and strategists… big picture thinkers who DO care for people as God enabled us, in the way of King David, Elijah, Paul, and Jesus in the temple.
So be who God made you to be… and don’t feel bad about it.