Friday, October 26, 2012

Hiding Behind Your Personality Type

This is difficult.

There are so many areas that I need to grow in that I don't even know where to start.

As I shared in my last post, maturity doesn't come naturally, and our flesh fights against it. And fight it does, with everything it has, and it won't let you win as easily as you thought.

It seems that my personality type is also "fighting" against me. As an ENFP, they tell me that I regard routine tasks as unimportant and mundane, and that I have a problem following through commitments, which doesn't really make the most productive worker.

It would be so much easier for me to hide behind my personality type and say "You see! This is how I am and I have no fault in it"

Many of us do this. I have done it many times. "This is the way God created me" we even dare to say as an excuse to not change.

As I was applying to my job at Pacifica, there was a long questionnaire that I needed to fill out that would reveal a lot of my personality, to see how good a fit I am to the job.

A couple of days after filling out the application, I called the manager of the store to see how things are going.

"Jose" she said "I received your application and you got a really low score...in fact your score is the lowest of anyone who has ever applied here...your score is of 60%".

I remained silent, not knowing what to say. I felt as if reality was hitting me mercilessly in the face, and I felt that familiar sense in me, shame of who I am. It didn't help that I could hear the cashier and future coworker (presumably next to the manager as she was talking to me) giggling as she said this. That familiar sense of almost belonging, but not really, because I wasn't good enough...

The manager then proceeded to name the weaknesses that the test revealed "it says here that you have problems following through your commitments, that you are only organized when you have to, that you let your emotions affect your work..."

And then she proceeded to my strengths "You like team work, you are happy when others succeed..."

Yeah, a really nice and lazy guy, I thought. Way to go Jose.

All the wounds seemed to resurface at this point. All the people that told me "When are you finally going to grow up?!". I felt the sting of every word. I remained silent again.

It would be so much easier to hide behind these feelings and wounds.It would be so much easier to hide and simply accept my weaknesses as God given, and grow sour and depressed from all the wounding.

God created us beautifully. It is true that our personality types come with weaknesses, but it is also true that it is part of God's plan to share His divine nature with us, so we can grow into the image of His son.

He will only share of Himself as we allow Him to, gently pushing us to open even more areas of ourselves, until He consumes all. This beautiful union doesn't destroy us, creating cookie cutter versions of Him.

It completes us. We remain completely ourselves as we are completely His.

This is the mystery of the wedding of our Beloved with His Church.

Photo Credit: hang_in_there.













Friday, October 19, 2012

Introducing Blog Changes

Things have changed. I just completed my Apprenticeship in San Francisco and for my novitiate I'm going to be in Oakland. The ministry has changed as well.

I'm going to be working with the immigrant youth in East Oakland, trying to connect them with the local parish.

The focus of this blog will change as well. It's focus will be in the struggles that we can go through in our maturing in Christ.

For the longest time I simply assumed that maturity came naturally. My hair grows naturally into some unidentifiable mess, and no matter how much I protest against its disposition to chaos, every morning it greets me with an even longer defiance.

Not so with character maturity.

The year in San Francisco helped me realize that there has to be some dramatic changes in my character if I am to continue serving God the way He calls me to.

I realize that I have to give glory to God in everything that I do. Am I giving glory to God in the way I conduct everyday business? With the words I say? With the way I cut corners in many things that I do?

To help me do this I decided to move into my own space in East Oakland. My room will be like my little kingdom, and how I deal with it should portray part of my character growth.

I also got a job. Two jobs actually.

One is in Oakland, the other in Pacifica. One is in a rough neighborhood, the other in a tranquil area right next to the beach. I couldn't find a more dramatic contrast.

Both jobs are as a cashier in a gas station.

One day the streets were filled with police cars and a Swat team truck right across  the gas station in Oakland. Not too long ago I saw a Lamborghini parked at the one in Pacifica.

The demands from management are also different. Pacifica is very strict with the way one deals with everyday task, writing down every single maintenance task that one does in the station. The one in Oakland is more loose. Sometimes we count cigarettes, most of the time we don't.

I believe that God has given me these jobs as training grounds.

When I was fired from my last job as a janitor, my confidence as worker went down considerably. As I took these jobs I felt a sense of insecurity. I hope I don't screw this up again.

I feel God leading me gently, telling me you have what it takes.

My everyday prayer as I go to work now is God, help me not to cut corners, not today, not never.

Are you going to cut corners in Oakland, even though management is not over your shoulders constantly?

God has purpose for everything. When I felt God whispering these words to me, I decided not to cut corners, even in Oakland. It wasn't easy. Doing all the tasks meant getting off one hour later than I should. But it felt good.

Maturity is a battle, and it comes to you in everyday tasks, even the most simple ones. It is intentional, and our flesh fights against it. I'm going to screw this one up it tells me. The voice of truth keeps telling me you have what it takes.

Photo Credit: Nicholas_T.