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When I was 33 years old, I went to a week long medical conference in Hickory, North Carolina as part of my training to pass my Family Medicine Board exam.  Thankfully, I passed that year, thanks to the VERY BORING training and months of hours of study I did while nursing a baby and taking care of a toddler and two school agers.  Those were good times.

The first day of the conference, I walked into the room and it was a sea of gray and navy and black suits with slim briefcases and those fancy pens with the nibs. 80% or more were men and there was a very serious vibe hovering over the room.

I walked in like Elle Woods walking into Harvard Law, minus the dog and the expensive suit, my papers spilling over from my colorful tote which was holding my 10 tubes of lip gloss and scads of colored pencils and pens and highlighters and Sharpies.  Wearing a summer dress and wedges and a denim jacket. I did not look like any of the other physicians there. NONE of them.

I sat down by a very respectable doctor and his very respectable and tidy leather binder with a steno pad in it.  Pulling out my inspirational notebooks and my plethora of colorful writing utensils, he probably wished I’d sat somewhere else, except that by the end of the day, we were chums and I knew EVERYTHING possible to know about him—his wife’s name, how many kids he had, where he had trained, where he was practicing, what struggles he was facing in his town, and many more details.

Right away, I could tell he was shy and genuine and trustworthy and despite the fact that the two of us were NOTHING alike, I think we’d both say we were glad our paths crossed.

At first glance around that huge conference room,  I felt self-conscious of who I was, maybe ashamed. I had thoughts like: I should be more serious, I should buy a suit, I should wear more navy and black, I should stop wearing so much make-up, I need a leather binder, I should stop using colored markers, I should, I should, I should.

Later when I set up my own family practice office, I did it like no one else I’ve known.  The rooms were repainted and decorated.  I bought lamps and artwork for the exam rooms and games and puzzles for the kids and I did it because that’s what came naturally to me.

I wasn’t trying to be a rebel.  I just wanted to be a doctor like I would naturally be a doctor.

I couldn’t change how I was created, I could only make myself more of who I already was, focusing on what made me unique, what made me me.

It taught me something valuable about life.  I’m never going to the best or the smartest at what I do but I’m the only person who can do what I do in the way I do it—whether that’s cooking dinner or blogging or writing a book or folding a load of laundry.

Not to say that we shouldn’t keep growing and learning because we absolutely need to improve our skills at life—things that make us better wives and moms and creatives and leaders.   I spend a lot of time and money trying to do that.

BUT.  My  shoulds look different than they looked when I was just wanting to fit it. You know them well, they’re the shoulds that tell us we should change who we are to be more like whoever else we’re idolizing at the moment.  My shoulds now look like: I should learn better people skills, I should take a course on business for moms,  I should learn how to quilt, I should take a nutrition course, I should take a course on finances, I should read that book on parenting, and so on and so forth to infinity.

We all need better skills.

But we need you to be you.

And we need you to keep learning so that you can serve the world with the best version of who you were created to be.

And that’s what you need from me too.

When I put away my fears at that conference and let my real true self shine, I focused on the doctor sitting next to me and honored him, instead of spending the whole conference focusing on myself, trying to figure out how to fit in with a sea of black suits, I did what I do best—used my passion for people to show interest and honor to him. I would never have done that if I wanted to act like everyone else in the room.

And trust me, sometimes I still try to hide who I am. I’m still learning.

But what is different about you and me is what makes us special, not what is the same.

Use your uniqueness to  honor and serve others with more passion!

****

One of the things I study to get better at being myself and at honoring others is through personality study.  I’d love to know what personality tests you’ve taken and what your results were.

I’m a Blue with yellow and red qualities and ZERO green qualities. My faults are all Blue.

(I’m making the girls take Marc Accetta’s color personality test as we speak.)

I’m an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs but I’m probably actually an extroverted intr0vert because I need a LOT of downtime.

I’m an Enneagram type 4.

I’d love to know yours!!

35 comments on “The Power of How You Were Made”

    • Your post really encouraged me.

      I’m a strong yellow with blue as close second. Some green and red.

      When I read the color description, it was right on target. It surprised me how accurately it detailed my personality.

      Thank you for sharing. Can’t wait to share with my friends and family. 🙂

  1. Sweet Edie, I’ve followed your blog for a long time now and your January posts are always my favorite. I love your enthusiasm and your passion for fresh starts, along with your honesty about how life sometimes doesn’t work out the way we plan it. This post may be my favorite though. It’s a great reminder to be who I was created to be. I’m old enough to understand that comparison is a major tool that Satan uses to keep us from believing that who we are is enough. I’m old enough but goodness, I still fall into the trap of deciding that who I am should be decided by others that I admire, or I want to look like they look like, or my house to look like their house looks like. Today, I’m grateful for the reminder that it’s ok to be exactly who I am and to look for ways to be a better me. Thank you again and blessings to you in this new year!

  2. It’s been so long…I have done the phlegmatic/melancholic/?/? one years ago. Over the past couple of years I have learned about Highly Sensitive Persons and I think this explains more about me than anything. It let me understand why big parties, lots of people, and small talk drain me but I am fine with genuine conversation with a small group. It also explains little “quirks” about me (like HATING wind chimes, for example) which I had never understood.

  3. Great post! It’s a constant battle to remember that I am enough just the way I am. Thank you for sharing this lovely story. 🙂

  4. I’m an introverted Enneagram type 9. I took the Enneagram two years ago and it taught me more about myself than any other personality test had before! I still think about it all the time. I need to go back and look up what the 4 is. 🙂

  5. Beautifully written! Thanks (again) for sharing your heart…and speaking just what God knew I needed to hear today. It’s been too long since I did one of the personality tests, but as I embrace my life as a sahm, I realize am an extrovert with more introverted tendencies than the former teacher in me used to believe possible.

  6. INTJ here. 🙂 Personality tests and the information is fascinating. I view them a bit like reading up and understanding our Spiritual gifts. It helps us understand why we are the way we and embrace it. It helps me say no and be okay with it. 🙂

  7. I’m an ENFP too 🙂 And an extroverted introvert is exactly right. I love doing “things” and can cope well, but need down time and CRASH after a big event.

  8. ENFP, of Course!!!!!! With a need for quite a bit of necessary downtime. I have a noisy life, lots of kids, lots of activity. It’s only natural for me to want to retreat and hide!!! Loved this piece more than words can say! Love you Miss Edie…the only Decoratoring Doctor I Know!!!

  9. Will have to research this more to fully understand, but that was sort of fun– thanks for the suggestion. 🙂 Really enjoyed your story, post today!~ 🙂

    “Enneagram Test Results

    You are most likely a type 4.

    Taking wings into account, you seem to be a 4w5.”

  10. So we’re both ENFP’s….. who knew we had that in common? I’ve always said that I don’t really know what I am but I sure know what I’m not.
    Didn’t you recently celebrate another birthday?

  11. I am a ISTJ on the Meyers-Briggs…which is as far as Freely Creative as I think anyone can be…Most people in my range have been men…and with what most people would consider boring jobs. I used to always compare myself with the creative and non-rigid people and be so sad..I am just not like that.. God didn’t make me that way and He made me, me. For a reason! So, I can’t decorate your house like a magazine, cover, but girl, I can organize your whole house for you!! LOL!! I want to take the other ones you mentioned.

  12. I loved this post! Such a great reminder! I’m going to do the color personality test with my girls soon! I am an INTJ…and Ennagram 4!

    Loved this: “Use your uniqueness to honor and serve others with more passion!”

    My husband and I did Mark Gunger’s Flag personality test. It was super helpful for our marriage! I also did StrengthsFinders this year…it’s been interesting to learn about new strengths that I didn’t even know I had.

    Thanks for this encouraging post.

  13. I’m INFP. I just took the color test and I’m yellow, followed by blue and green and some red. Very interesting. I haven’t taken the Enneagram but I think I will try it.
    I really enjoyed this post, Edie. I have had a hard time with trying to fit in more than trying to just be myself. It’s an area of my life that I am focusing on this year. My desire is to know & believe who God says I am and to live my life from a place of that acceptance and love.

  14. Thank you for encouraging me to just be me. Thank you for telling me to serve my neighbor, those under my nose, that’s ministry. My church background has at times pushed for try harder do more be like this. SO refreshing to hear just be who God created me to be, He did good when he made me, real good. I feel most alive when I am working as a psych counselor (LPC) at our local hospital. It’s literally listening to the ‘least of these’ and offering cups of water in His name. I made soup this week too for the man/boys in my home and homemade bread. But to shine as me, so good. ISFJ here….

  15. Have you taken the StrengthsFinder assessment? It reminds me a lot of your message here. The philosophy is that there is a set of 34 “strengths” that everyone has to some extent (discipline, analytical, belief, etc.) but when you take the assessment, it ranks your 34 strengths in order and only shows you what the top 5 are. Supposedly no one has their top 5 strengths in the same order, so everyone’s top strengths are unique to their own personality. The philosophy is that we should focus on what our top strengths are, not our weaknesses. It’s fascinating! You can get the book and a code to take the assessment here: http://www.amazon.com/StrengthsFinder-2-0-Tom-Rath/dp/159562015X

  16. So I took the test you mentioned and got the #4 as well, I think. I got the Loyalist. “self-aware, sensitive, reserved. emotionally honest, creative, personal…but MOODY and self-conscious.” OH MY YES. LOL!!

    I’m also an INFJ. And melancholy. Most days I feel cursed by the personality God gave me, but I am *trying* to look at the positives more than the negatives…which I tend to do in ALL AREAS of life.

    I loved this post, Edie. I loved your periscope today too. Whatever you feel God is calling you and leading you to do…please keep writing. 🙂 THAT has to be one of your best gifts to the world!!

  17. Hi Edie, I started following you after an article you wrote about vocation in either the Witness or Thrivent Mag. (Can’t remember!). You speak words to my soul. I got silly excited to see this post, BC I am a StrengthsFinder Coach, and work with people to discover what they were made to do! It is my calling and the Lord has shown me over and over again this is what he wants me to be doing. Thank you for your constant encouragement to regarding vocation/calling.

  18. Loved this post. Is there a personality test for little kids? My girls are 6 and 8. My 6 year old told me yesterday she liked cleaning baseboards better than school! So I’m trying to come up with ways to make homeschool more fun for her, maybe understanding her personality would help?
    Thanks,
    Laura

  19. Hi Edie, I’m new to your blog and am in love! I discovered you today when watching your interview on Jeanne Oliver’s website. Something struck a cord in my heart as you shared your heart and I had to come come to this place.
    Thank you for these words of encouragement. You have know idea how much I needed them today.

  20. I just found your blog after watching your interview over at Hope*Writers. I also am an ENFP but a Type 6 on the Ennegram. I’m not at all familiar with the color test so I’ll just Google it, that’s what I do! So glad I found you!! Blessings!

  21. I really REALLY love this idea and this community you are building. I am due with my third baby any day now and I’m toying with joining– but then, I think realistically it may be better to wait until the next one… Decisions,Decisions… Hmm… Fantastic idea Edie!!

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