"Have you met my personality?” I overheard a young man say while in a line to ride a gondola at an amusement park. I laughed to myself. What an unusual statement. He was joking around with his group of friends and being sarcastic about something. The comment stuck in my brain like a pin in a cork board, which is ironic since I can’t seem to remember half the things I’m supposed to remember, but I somehow can remember that.
Our personalities are molded by so many things. Most importantly by our up-bringing, but through the years, by people and situations that influence us. I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman recently who shared with me his seemingly tragic childhood. I say “seemingly” because despite the abuse he suffered at the hands of his parents, he found God and lives his life for the Lord. The middle-aged, light-complected man told me a few cruel things that were done to him along with yelling and screaming that would go on in his home. He became very good at diffusing nightmare situations by being calm and as peaceful as possible. As a young boy, he would go out to his backyard to escape his environment. He would “talk to God like he was my best friend – like he was sitting right beside me.” Even in his youth, he felt God and knew God and walked with God.
As he matured and grew, he realized he had a special gift with computers. He became very well versed in fixing computer programs. Ultimately, he discovered himself working with the government in very tense situations where lives were at risk. As tensions rose, leaders of those in jeopardy became heated and would yell at the man as he tried to fix their computer issues. Because of his childhood, he had perfected being calm in the midst of chaos and was able to block out the vicious comments while he worked. When the situation would resolve, the leaders would apologize and thank the gentleman profusely for helping them. “I’ve made a living getting yelled at,” he commented. Where someone else might have crumbled under the pressure, because of his personality, he had found a special niche.
The most incredible part of this man’s story is his desire to live for his Father despite his rocky start. He is kind, humble, and brave which is quite miraculous taking into consideration the whole story. He has allowed his personality to be cultivated by the Spirit rather than become bitter and cold.
The next time you “meet someone’s personality”, I hope this gentleman’s story will come to mind. May you find a new compassion for people knowing there is story behind their eyes that makes up who they are to the very depth of their soul.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” Jeremiah 1:5