Relationships or Accomplishments​

The birds are trying to out-do each other outside my open window as I swirl around the last of my coffee, dredging up the sentiment at the bottom of the mug. (Hey, I like a few coffee grounds in my coffee…) Various shades of green cascade from the trees – from the brilliant hues of the maple up close to the backdrop of a dozen trees that form the entrance of the woods further away.

It’s Monday morning, one of my favorite times of the week.

Accomplishing things makes me happy. Being able to see where I’ve made a difference is enough to get me out of bed each morning. I’m goal-oriented, competitive, and most times would rather clean the house then do something ‘fun.’

Each morning when I wake up I let myself stretch and yawn, then set my stop-watch and see how quickly I can complete my getting-ready routine. Throughout the day I find myself constantly trying to find balance as I look at the list of things that I really want to get done, compared to the things that are maybe more important to do. (For instance, relationships are much easier to ignore than a messy kitchen sink. But in reality, which has a greater eternal value?)

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One thing that I often remind myself is that I do have enough time. I do have enough energy. I do have enough.

Maybe not on my own, maybe not in the ways that I dreamed of, maybe not to do what want. But I have enough to do what God is calling me to do, and when there’s a discrepancy and I find myself getting stressed, that’s not because God has given me too much to do. It’s either because I’m not doing the right thing, or doing it the right way, or doing it with the right motive.

Having a sparkling clean house around me might be exactly what’s supposed to happen. But maybe it’s not – maybe God wants me to let go of that ideal for now and focus on other things.

I used to think – and say – things about never having enough time. And then I realized that’s a lie that society praises, not the truth from God’s Word. Subconsciously, I think I’d rather appear busy and productive than resting and at peace. It feels so…important to have a list of things checked off a piece of paper and yet still have people who need your help. Maybe not every personality feels this way, but I want to be needed. To be doing. To swoop in and save the day.

Being busy can be addictive.

And yet we’re commanded to Be still and know that God is. We’re commanded to care for the widows and the orphans. We’re commanded to love our neighbor. We’re commanded to pray. So many of these things require me to let go of my pre-conceived (and society-fed) notions of what I’m supposed to be doing with my time and ask God to lead me in the way He wants me to go.

Recently this has included doing things like leaving the counter messy to sit down and read a book to my little nieces. Or setting the milk bucket down and cuddling the kittens my nephew wants to show me. Letting go of accomplishing and taking ahold of relationships isn’t easy for me, but it’s rewarding.

At the end of the day, I’m thankful to know that God has given me enough time to accomplish what He wants me to do.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … (Mt. 6:25-34)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Mt. 7:7-8)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

4 Pros and Cons to Personality Tests

I’m a pretty big fan of personality tests and types. Same thing with the Five Love Languages. (Which, I mean, if you’ve been around Noveltea for any length of time you’ve probably figured that out.) Today, I’m going to talk about four reasons I think they can be an incredibly useful tool in your life, as well as four things to keep an eye out for when you start studying them.

Today I’m going to give a pro and a con together, explaining how you can use, or misuse, the beauty of understanding personalities.

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  1. Pro: Building a framework to understand people better
    Con: Putting people into boxes 
    When you’re learning about personalities it can be incredibly fun and helpful to try and figure out the personalities of the people you’re around every day. That co-worker you never quite understood? Well, now that you understand the differences between you and Personality X, you can clearly see that all the times you were annoyed at her were simply small misunderstandings.
    Yet, at the same time, if you’re not careful, you can begin boxing people in and seeing them as a personality instead of a multi-faceted human. This is something nobody appreciates.
  2.  Pro: Discovering your strengths and weaknesses
    Con: Using your personality as an excuse 
    When you learn more about who you are and what inspires you, frustrates you, and makes you tick, it can help you be more productive, happy, and balanced. Yet, at the same time, it’s important to guard against thoughts of Oh, this issue in life is just part of who I am. I can’t help it.
    For instance, with Enneagram type threes, one of their common failings is to frame themselves as being more successful than they actually are. This is something I often find myself wanting to do, and acknowledging that it’s a personality trait, but a bad one, is helpful for me to remember not to do it.
  3. Pro: Having a better grasp of humanity
    Con: Misusing your knowledge
    There is nothing like learning about personalities to suddenly make the world around you look a little clearer. (And, if you’re reading this post with a skeptical roll of the eyes, then you might have one of those personalities that don’t like personality tests – because yes, that’s a real thing too.) It’s a fantastic feeling when you suddenly realize you can figure out how to relate to the people around you… Just, you also have to make sure you don’t cross the line from using your knowledge as a tool for everyone’s benefit to manipulating people. Because manipulation is not okay.
  4. Pro: The beauty of an instant conversation starter
    Con: Annoying people around you
    Enneagram numbers, personality types, Myers-Briggs tests, the Five Love Languages… They’re all great ways to get to know people, make small talk (that isn’t quite so small), and learn more about the people you encounter in everyday life. Yet, if you’re not careful than some people might look at you askance instead of realizing that you just opened their eyes to one of life’s greatest tools. So, be careful until you find another personality fanatic. 😉

Are you into personality tests? If so, what are your favorite ones? And, what’s your personality? If not, then you should totally look into them. 🙂

Enneagram Three Musings

If you were to ask me what’s one of my favorite things in the world, I’d probably say routine.

If you were to ask me what’s one thing I dislike the most, I’d probably say not knowing what is going on.

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And, as it turns out, I have a lot less routine than normal right now and a lot more unknowns. Who would have guessed? On the plus side, I’ve been studying my personality recently and I’ve discovered some things about myself that I’ve been keeping in mind to help me be more productive and less stressful.

Tips I’m Currently Putting Into Practice:

*Keeping a Clean & Uncluttered Environment 
Y’all, as a kid messy room didn’t quite do an adequate job of describing the huge piles of stuff I always had sitting around. It wasn’t until I was in my upper teens that I conquered this habit. For the last five years, my room has been consistently clean and I can’t imagine it otherwise. But, when I deal with unpredictable things, I’ve realized that the fewer things I have around me that don’t serve an actual purpose, the happier I am. That means I’ve regulated my cute stuffed skunks to an out-of-sight home, cleared off my odds-and-ends shelf, and moved my bunny outside.

*The Fewer Choices the Better
When I already have my brain full of things I need to do, the last thing I want to do is make a dozen small, every-day decisions. Because of this, I’ve tried to limit the clothes I have in the closet, keep healthy choices in the fridge, and narrow down my goals to what I really need to work on.

*Keeping as Much of a Schedule as Possible 
As someone who thrives on routine, I’ve had to experiment with this a lot recently. One thing I’ve discovered that is pretty cool is that if I can do the same things each day, even if not for the same amount of time, then I can trick my mind into feeling like it’s in routine. For instance, when time allows I might read a nonfiction book for 40 minutes in the morning. This is great, but if I don’t have time for that, even reading one page will make me feel far more on task than if I simply skip that part of my morning.

*Learning to Say No to Me
As it turns out, saying no to others isn’t my big problem – it’s saying no to myself. See, picking and choosing what I spend my time and energy on is seriously important. Sometimes that means letting go of something that feels important, but in reality, doesn’t really make much of a difference. Learning to figure out what those things are? Well, that’s where I find myself having to seek other people’s perspective and wisdom.

Stay tuned because I hope to talk more about personalities this week – why I think it can be important to learn about them, and finding balance with you are, vs. what personality tests say. 😉