- Strengthsfinder 2.0 (2014): Restorative - Responsibility - Harmony - Belief - Connectedness
- Your Unique Design (2013): Harmonizer - Persister - Achiever - Dreamer - Energizer - Catalyzer
- StandOut (2012): Advisor - Connector
- Strengthsfinder (2005): Responsibility - Activator - Belief - Harmony - Relator
- Myers-Briggs (2001): ESTJ (Extrovert - Sensing - Thinking - Judging)
- Tim LaHaye Temperament Analysis (2001): Choleric - Melancholy
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
Apparently I enjoy leading people, being a resource, and networking. I tend to be responsible and can get things done. I'm not a huge fan of using my imagination or dreaming up new things, but tend to thrive when I'm in more of an implementation role than a creative one. I like harmony and can be a people-pleaser, which can get me in trouble sometimes if I'm not careful. But in general I tend to use my past experiences and my network of connections to hopefully further the kingdom. And I'm having a blast doing it!
These tests are very useful in that they help us understand who we are, how God created (or wired) us, and shed light on how we relate to others. They help us know how to deal with different people, and help other people know how to deal with us. They can even tell us careers where we will thrive and ones we should avoid.
I took the StandOut assessment about two years ago after hearing Marcus Buckingham speak at Catalyst. It's become my favorite assessment because it somehow is able to tell who other people see you to be as a leader. I answered all the questions and then waited an eternity (30 seconds) to receive my results. They nailed it! As I read the analysis, I identified with just about everything it said. Since taking it, I've been able to refer back many times, and have found it quite helpful in keeping me focused on where I lead best.
There is no assessment or analysis that can completely evaluate the whole person. They will all fall short in one way or another. God knit us together so uniquely and in His image. (Psalm 139) Because we are fallen people, there's no way we can use human systems to completely define how God made us. I recently had a fun conversations with two friends, Sarah and Jen. Sarah is exactly like me according to the Myers-Briggs. Jen is exactly like me according to Your Unique Design. The problem: Sarah and Jen are nothing alike at all! The logic of "If A=B and B=C then A=C" doesn't work here. It just goes to show that no one test is able to define the entire person. God does that. He defines who we are.
Sometimes these assessments don't leave room for the Holy Spirit to do a redeeming work in our lives. Results of a test are static and represent who we are at a moment in time, but our lives are dynamic and in a constant state of change. As a child of God and one that's filled with the Holy Spirit, I should be constantly growing and changing into someone more conformed to His image. As I change and grow, the assessment that I took five years ago may no longer reflect who I am today.
We can become pigeonholed by an assessment. We may think we are unable to perform certain tasks because an assessment told us we couldn't do them well. People in leadership over us may not give us certain opportunities because the assessment told them that we weren't any good in that area. We end up missing out on potential growth simply because the assessment said we couldn't do it well.
The other day I was in an office where each employee had their assessment displayed on their office door. It makes a great conversation starter and I like being able to get a quick picture of who each person is, but it also can predispose me to a certain judgment of that person and who that assessment tells me they're going to be.
WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE TEACH?
Scripture clearly teaches that God has given us certain gifts (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) and that we are to exercise those gifts for the common good (v7). We also learn about the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5), character traits and actions that can pretty much only be performed through the power of God's Spirit working in and through us.
And yet there's this one thing that I can't help but keep coming back to: "God's power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12) When Paul was given the thorn in the flesh, he told us that it was "to keep me from becoming conceited..."(v7) No matter how much he begged God to take this weakness away, God allowed it to stay in order that God might get the glory, not Paul.
I believe that strengths assessments in particular can lend themselves to giving us the glory through things that we're good at, as opposed to God receiving the glory through things that don't make sense in our wisdom. Granted, God gave us those particular strengths; and yet, through the flesh, it can become easy for each of us to take credit, as opposed to offering thanks for the good work He does through us. Contrast that with times where God uses us through our weaknesses. It is in those moments where God can't help but get the glory, because it's something that was obviously impossible for us to accomplish through our own flesh.
My life tends to be a testimony of God working through weakness; and there have been plenty of opportunities for that. The greatest of these has been the loss of our daughter almost four years ago. Through the darkest and hardest days, God's grace and mercy clearly shined through to our family, and hopefully to all those around us. I've been reminded by many of how much God used Elyse's life and death to draw them closer to Him. This is something that never could have happened through a strength or leadership gift. This was 100% a work of the Holy Spirit.
And then there are the times I've fallen short through my flesh. Even through my sin and past mistakes, however, God shows Himself faithful because of His deep grace, redemption and conquering of the sin and struggles. By sharing those struggles with others, I see Him give encouragement and draw them closer to Him. He is faithful to use everything for is glory!
I would challenge anyone reading these words to consider today all the tests you've taken, all the ways God's wired you, the strengths and weaknesses that supposedly define you, and lay those at the cross. Take the tests, learn from them, follow their advice... but don't let them define you! You are defined by Christ. You are made in God's image. Allow Him to mould you, to change you, to use you. Allow Him, not only through your strengths, but especially through your weaknesses, to use you. It's in those moments where you will see God doing "abundantly more than we could ever ask or think." (Ephesians 3:20) And the result will be...
"... to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations,
forever and ever. Amen."