I really hate to admit it but I have always been one of the 'glass half empty' people in this world. I typically see what's wrong much more quickly than what's great. I have known this about myself for quite awhile but it's not a happy thing to fess up to.
If I take those personality profile tests, I come out as a melancholic. A type "C". Smalley and Trent label me a Beaver. The definition of a melancholic is "one disposed to or affected with melancholy; gloomy." Gloomy? Now I don't think I'm gloomy but I guess you'd have to ask the ones who know me best.
No wait - don't ask.
There are always strengths as well as weaknesses of any personality type. For the melancholy person, strengths are listed as: Analytical, self-disciplined, industrious, organized, aesthetic, sacrificing. Not bad!
The weaknesses, however, sound incredibly horrible: Moody, self-centered, touchy, negative, unsociable, critical, revengeful.
Whatever. Leave me alone.
The thing is, I have never given a lot of credence to personality labels. Sure, it's fun to take those tests - especially with friends and relatives who you can laugh with about the results.
But I'm afraid if I bought into that whole label thing, I'd use it as an excuse. You know - that's just the way I am. I can't help it if I'm vengeful and hateful.
Nope, that doesn't fly. Instead, I really believe that God is making me into someone I could never be apart from His Spirit at work in me. Kinder. More compassionate. Generally BETTER! I can't tell you how that fills me with hope!
Because the alternative is pretty depressing. I'm left with my 'natural' tendency to be critical, self-righteous and works-oriented.
I love how Eugene Peterson rewords Galatians 2:19-21 in The Message.
What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Trying hard to be different than I am doesn't work. Instead, I can rely on Christ to make me new. His personality type is only about strengths - no weaknesses at all. I love that.
Recently I was encouraging someone (who knows me pretty well) to believe that God was going to do something wonderful in a difficult situation. They told me how much it meant to them, especially because... well because such an encouraging word was coming from ME! So you see, there is some progress being made in this old Beaver. I am being changed.
Lord, live Your life in and through me. I don't want to be half-empty. Fill me up with You.