Start Learning Your Personality GPS
- Friday, August 05, 2011
Unless You Read This Bit the Rest Just Won't Make Sense
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 - King Solomon
This book is all about just one thing - helping you to discover who you are and where you fit in; helping you to know beyond any shadow of doubt who God made you to be and what He made you to do.
If God is God - then He made each one of us to be precisely who He intended us to be and He set a life before us to do precisely what He intended for us to do. And unless He made a mistake, then those two - who we are and what we're called to do - should fit like a hand in a glove.
If God is indeed God, then it stands to reason doesn't it?
This book is born out of the passion of one man - Keith Henry - who in 1988 almost died in a surfing accident. He should have been dead lying there on the beach; he should have been dead when the rescue helicopter crashed … but he isn't. At the very least, he should be a paraplegic … but he isn't. Because God had a plan …
During his painful recovery over the next two decades, God led Keith to study in depth, what have long been referred to as the "motivational giftings" in Romans Chapter 12, verses 6 to 8, of the New Testament:
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8)
Now we don't use the term "motivational giftings" so much anymore. The more common term is "Personality Types". Keith studied these Personality Types in the Bible, not from a worldly "me-centred" perspective, but from a biblical, Christ-centred perspective.
And these days when Keith stands up and speaks about what he's learned, you can hear a pin drop.
Everybody stops and listens. People are truly captivated, because deep down we all hunger to know who we are and what we're meant to be doing with our lives. And deep down, most of us simply don't know those things about ourselves.
As Keith discovered though, it doesn't have to be that way.
That's what this book's all about. But when it came to writing a book, Keith had a bit of a problem.
He's an "Encourager" (you can read about his Personality Type in Chapter 7). Encouragers are the sort of people we all love being around because they make us feel good about ourselves. But generally, they don't have the sort of strong verbal, linguistic skills that you need to write a book. He always knew that God wanted him to get out and tell this story about the different Personality Types we discover in His Word, but given who God had made Keith to be - he had no real way of telling that story.
In 2007 he met another man - Berni Dymet. Berni's Personality Type is that of the "Leader" (Chapter 14) and it turns out that more often than not, these people have strong verbal, linguistic skills. Now that's something that Berni had already discovered about himself - having embarked on God's call to share the Good News of Jesus by telling stories through his radio programs heard by millions of people each week around the globe.
And the more Keith and Berni talked, the more they dreamed God's dreams over coffee at their favourite coffee shop - the more they came to the conclusion that together, they had to write this book.
But when it came to making the rubber hit the road - they encountered a very real problem. It was one that, unless it was resolved, would have prevented them from writing this book.
And that problem was this: How do two people - Keith who's developed the detailed knowledge of the Personality Types through two decades of study, and Berni who has the story-telling ability but nowhere near Keith's level of knowledge - actually sit down and write a book together? How do you actually do that?
Berni's issue was that he only knew one way to tell stories - and that was direct from him to the reader - in the first and second person, almost as a conversation. Telling the story in any other way would have been completely unnatural to him. It would have felt contrived.
And then - again over a coffee - Berni and Keith had one of those "God moments" - when the penny dropped.
Keith said to Berni "Then what you should do, is write the book in the way that comes naturally to you - let's both use the natural abilities that God's given us for His glory and not for ours. Isn't that in fact the very thing that we're going to be writing about?"
Eureka! There it was. It was obvious! It was the only answer - and it's an answer that lies at the very heart of what this book is all about. And that is this …
… that none of us can do it all on our own. The trick is discovering not just who God made us to be, but also who God made the others around us to be - and then together, living out who we are, by doing what each one of us was made to do. That way, we can achieve things together that we could never even have contemplated on our own.
It's the how to of living out a godly love for one another in community, rather than in isolation. And when we know how to live that way - not only can we achieve things together that we could never have achieved on our own, but we experience the indescribable sense of fulfilment that comes from discovering who God made us to be and what He made us to do!
Finally … finally, we know where we fit!
It sounds blindingly glimpsingly obvious when you say it like that, doesn't it?
But as we'll discover throughout this book - as obvious as it may be, most people simply haven't ever discovered who they really are, and so they're trying to do things they were never made to do, and expecting others to do the same … and then we wonder why it isn't working so well. More about that later.
So, that's been a round about way of getting to the bit that you really need to know before you start reading the book - and that's this.
The person writing, the person that you'll be having the conversation with, is Berni. Because that's the only way we could figure out how to write the book. And yet much of the wisdom and the research and the encouragement that you'll find in the pages of this book, come to you through Keith. They come from the long journey that God set before him over these last couple of decades.
Neither of us frankly cares about who gets the credit for this idea, or that chapter or this paragraph ... it just doesn't matter.
The only thing that matters to us, is that as you turn each page in this book, you discover with a new-found sense of awe and wonder, how beautifully God has made you; that you discover (or perhaps rediscover) your meaning and purpose in life and that the Spirit of God comes and breathes a fresh sense of anticipation into your heart, in the knowledge of the amazing things He has planned for you for the rest of your days here on this earth.
That's what really matters to us. And that's our prayer for you.
Berni + Keith
Chapter 1 - Ugly Duckling with Dream
"Kill me," said the poor bird; and he bent his head down to the surface of the water, and awaited death.
But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan. To be born in a duck's nest in a farmyard is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan's egg. The Ugly Duckling - Hans Christian Andersen
A Real Life ‘Ugly Duckling'
When she walked out on the stage, the audience just sneered at her. The judges rolled their eyes.
She was forty-eight years old, by her own admission "never been married, never been kissed". She was unemployed and "still looking". Her hair frankly, was a mess. Her bushy eyebrows reminded one powerfully of a forest. She was frumpy at best and her dress looked like something my mother used to wear back in the sixties.
She'd been singing since she was twelve years old she told us, and she'd always wanted to sing in front of a large audience. After she pranced out onto the stage and did a weird little jig - she was really quite eccentric you know - one of the judges asked her what she dreamed of becoming.
"A professional singer", she answered. The judges and the audience were incredulous.
"And why hasn't it worked out for you so far?" one of the judges asked. They all poked fun at her. They were brutal. But she stood her ground.
Again, one of the judges enquired: "What are you going to sing for us tonight?"
"I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables," she answered.
And on her thumbs up, the audio technician pressed the button. The music began to play. She opened her mouth and began to sing … and we were all utterly gob-smacked!
She sang with the voice of an angel! She sang with the power and the poise and the presence of a diva who'd graced the great opera stages of the world all her life. Words fail me in describing her performance that night.
She brought the house down. Her name of course, is Susan Boyle. The show was "Britain's Got Talent" in 2009. And within just a few weeks over 100 million people had watched this video clip on YouTube on the Internet.
Now I've watched that video - it's just seven minutes and seven seconds long. I've watched it online several times now and not once have I finished with a dry eye.
The world wanted to judge this book by its cover, but before she walked out on stage she told the interviewer "I'm going to make this audience rock!"
No one believed her - no one believed her - until she opened her mouth to sing these words from the stunning musical Les Misérables. I can only write them, I can't sing them to you the way she did, but let the lyrics do their work in your heart anyway:
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life was worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted.
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted.
But the tigers came at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame.
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.
Those beautiful words touch us deep inside somewhere, because they are the story of many a life. We start off with dreams about who we'll be and what we'll do. And when we're young, they tend to be bold dreams. Noble dreams. Dreams that find their roots somewhere deep down in our DNA - dreams about living a life that somehow, we're meant to live.
And so often those dreams are crushed. Crushed by the cares of this world. Crushed by the sneers of a crowd that doesn't believe in us. There is perhaps no tragedy more crushing than when life has killed the dream I dreamed.
And so many a man and many a women woke up this morning to face yet another day, in the knowledge that they're not living the life that they're meant to be living. For some it's a sharp pain. For others, a dull ache. For most of us though … it's buried so deep, we've almost forgotten. But it's still there … the knowledge that we're not living the dreams we once had for our lives.
That's why Susan Boyle's performance had such a powerful impact on so many people. She knew something about herself before she walked out on that stage. She knew something that the rest of us didn't know. She knew it deep in her heart. She knew it beyond any shadow of a doubt.
Thirty-six years she had been singing and had never had the opportunity to perform like this. That's a long time for a dream to lie dormant. How tempting it would have been to let it die. But she knew who she was and she knew what she'd been sent to do, and nervous though she may have been as she walked out onto that stage … on that night, in that place, Susan Boyle did the thing she'd been made to do.
In front of a sceptical audience and mocking judges … there could be no mistake that night that there was a God in heaven and that His glory shone in the hearts of an undeserving crowd on that night. All because He'd made Susan Boyle and given her a dream to dream.
A dream to live.
A Mirror Deep into Our Souls
And so Susan Boyle in this great performance, was like a mirror deep into our souls; into the deepest, darkest recesses of who we are. Those places where these days, we're too afraid to go. When we looked at her, we saw ourselves. When the audience laughed and sneered at her, we experienced her pain as we remembered how it felt to be crushed by an unforgiving world. We remembered our hopes and our long-forgotten dreams.
And when we saw the vindication of her courage in the face of an unbelieving and cruel audience, spearheaded by the three "judges" whose job it was to create "entertainment" out of her ridicule and misery, we ached for that sort of courage. The sort that will nurture a dream through the darkest days - years if needs be - to allow it to burst forth just at the right time.
Why did over 100 million people watch this video clip online? Why is it that you just can't watch that performance without getting misty eyes and a stuffy nose?
Because it reminds each one of us, deep down, of the ache that we have to become who we were created to be. It reminds us of the pain of a world that doesn't know who we are and ridicules us for dreaming our dreams. It reminds so many of us that we're living a life that doesn't know where it's going. And it hurts. It hurts so deeply for so many people.
There is not a sane person among the 100 million plus who have seen her landmark performance, who doesn't wish Susan Boyle well. There's not one who's not inspired. There's not a one who doesn't ache to experience just what she experienced - the certain knowledge of knowing who she is and what she can do with that.
And we were the same ones sitting in the audience, who judged her as "loopdy-loop" when she strutted out on that stage ... until she held a mirror up to our souls.
My friend, so many of the 6.5 billion people alive on planet Earth today are like travellers who've lost their passports. Men, women, children on a journey to somewhere without really knowing who they are and where they're headed. No identity, no destination.
And the tragedy amongst all of this is that this life we have to live down here on this Earth - it's a one-time thing. It's not a dress rehearsal and we don't get a second chance. There's one chance to make it count. One chance to live it to the full. One chance to make a difference. One chance to make other people's lives that much more bearable through who we are and what we can contribute.
Just one chance!
For all too soon the spring of our youth turns into autumn. All too soon we find ourselves heading toward the last act of this drama that we call life.
All too soon … this life will be over.
When The End of This Act Comes …
I don't know about you, but when I'm old and grey and toothless and incontinent and I look back on the life that I've lived, I want my heart to glow in the knowledge that not only did I discover who it was that my God made me to be, but that I lived out that identity, the personality and the gifts and the talents that He gave me, the life plan that He gave me - I want to know in my heart of hearts that I lived them out to the absolute full!
I want to know that there are people in this world who are the better for having known me. And when you're on your death bed, you can't ask much more of life than that.
Let me ask you this: as you contemplate the rest of your life, the time between now and when you breathe your last breath here on planet Earth, how do you answer these basic and yet profound questions of life for yourself?
- Have I discovered who I was created to be - the blueprint of who I am?
- Am I living that out to the full in my life - by doing the things I was created to do?
- Am I singing the song of my dreams that God planted deep in my DNA even before time began?
When you ask yourself those questions how do you answer?
With a "yes" … or with a "no"?
If you're in that all too small group able to answer a resounding "yes" to each of those questions, then you'll be able to tell us of the deep and profound sense of joy and peace and contentment that you experience through all of life's ups and downs.
But if you're with the majority, those who are forced to answer "no", then you've probably been living much of your life with this nagging sense that you're missing out on something. That surely there must be something more to my life. Surely I must be destined for … well, for something! But that nagging feeling is something that we push down, deep down inside somewhere, to hide it. It hurts to think too much about it. Because it hurts to imagine that we might be missing out on the life we were destined to live.
But try as we may to ignore that nagging sense of an opportunity missed … it just won't go away.
Where to Begin?
So if we're going to resolve this once and for all, if we're going to turn the three no's into three yes's - where do we begin? What's the starting point for each one of us finally to begin living out the lives that we're meant to be living?
Well, we haven't talked too much about God to this point, but He is the starting point.
One of the things that we're going to spend some time doing together in the next chapter is looking with wonder and awe at the powerful story of how beautifully and wondrously God created each one of us (Psalm 139). I think it's going to rock us to the core and lift us to heights that we've rarely experienced. (God's Word invariably has a way of doing that.)
But for now, let's go to a single verse that provides us with an "executive summary" if you will, of the lengthier exposition in Psalm 139. It was in fact written many, many centuries later by the Apostle Paul, in the second Chapter of his letter to the Ephesians.
And this verse isn't just the executive summary of Psalm 139, but it's also the executive summary of this whole book - which is why (if you'll flick back to the first few pages) you'll notice that it's right up there at the front on its own. Here it is for you to drink in:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NASB Ephesians 2:10)
Interestingly, this verse comes hard on the heels of an explanation of the fact that when we believe in Jesus, we receive the immeasurable riches of God's grace by faith in Jesus - not through our own doing so that we might boast, but as a free gift from God.
And in the very next breath, Paul's saying to us in effect:
Don't you get it? You and I - we're His workmanship, handcrafted by Him through Jesus to do good works which He prepared way ahead of time, so that we would walk into them and live them and do them. How awesome is that?!
And this, as a direct consequence of our being saved by grace through faith in Jesus.
Now the thing that we can't miss here is this: that who God has made us to be and what He's made us to do are inexorably linked.
The Hammer and the Screwdriver
Jesus was a carpenter, a skilled artisan who knew how to choose the right tool for the job.
I on the other hand, am your quintessential un-handyman. So much so, that when I put a nail into the wall and hang a picture in our house, my wife Jacqui and I celebrate and rejoice greatly, if the picture hasn't come crashing down within twenty four hours. (That's usually a very good sign!)
So I'm well qualified to talk about what happens when we choose the wrong tool for the job.
Take for instance the simple hammer, as opposed to the screwdriver. I mean anyone - anyone - can tell that they're made to do different jobs, right?
A hammer is made to hammer nails into wood. It's a process that relies on the fact that wood has some "give" in it. Hammer a nail into the wood with a hammer, and the wood parts slightly to let the nail in (but not too much) so that the friction of the compressed wood around the nail keeps the two together. You don't screw a nail in, you hammer it in.
If what you want is a much stronger join into the wood, then you use a screw - one with a pointy tip. Now the screw has quite a sharp groove that spirals down its length and that groove grips into the wood as you screw it in. And so, for the length of the screw, the screw and the wood are joined together by the groove of the screw, and the equal and opposite groove in the wood, carved out when the screw was screwed in. You don't hammer a screw in, you screw it in.
Now - let me share with you what happens when you try to hammer a nail with a screw driver and nail a screw with a hammer. This un-handyman has, it may not surprise you to know, attempted both of these acts of lunacy.
To hammer a nail using a screwdriver, simply grab the screwdriver by the metal shaft, and use its hard plastic handle to hammer the nail into the wood.
The result? Several marks on the wood, a tiny, tiny hole where you wanted the nail to go but it didn't, and a black and blue bruised thumb on the hand that was holding the nail.
The conclusion? The screwdriver makes a lousy hammer!
Now using a hammer as a screwdriver appears to work much better … at least that's how it seems at the beginning. You take the screw and smash it with the hammer and it goes into the wood pretty quickly and pretty well. Phew, that worked!
Well, actually, no it didn't. Because you've created a hole in the wood that is big enough to take the whole screw to the outer circumference of the groove. But what about the inner part of the groove in the screw - that bit that's meant to grip into the wood for the whole length of the screw? What about that bit? Well, it has nothing to hang on to because the wood that it should be gripping tightly to, has been gouged out by the act of nailing the screw, instead of screwing it.
The result? Well, honestly, this is perhaps why the odd picture hung in the Dymet household by yours truly, has come crashing down to the floor in the middle of the night.
The conclusion? The hammer makes a lousy screwdriver!
So, even this un-handyman has learned that … hammers are for hammering nails, and screwdrivers are for screwing screws.
Fortunately … fortunately Jesus was a carpenter, and this is something that He knew full well, not only as He was producing furniture in His father's workshop in Nazareth, but also when He created us - you and me - as His workmanship, to do the good works that He prepared beforehand for us to walk into.
I mean, could you imagine Jesus creating a hammer and using it as a screwdriver?!
So that begs the question - how is it then that so many people are doing things that they were never made to do? Why is it that so many are working in jobs that they really aren't suited for; that they really don't enjoy?
Could it be that, not having truly worked out who we are, we haven't yet discovered what we were made to do? Could it be that we're off doing one thing, when all along, the Master made us to be and to do something entirely different?
Now there are several different factors and influences that end up shaping who we are.
Obviously our Personality Type is one. The DNA part of who we are - the Personality Type that we were given when we were conceived. This is sometimes referred to as our nature.
Then there's the nurture - the things that happen to us along the way; the things we experience. Things like the culture in which we live, the generation into which we were born, our upbringing, our education. Whether we had encouraging parents and teachers, or critical ones.
But in human terms, what makes a hammer a hammer and a screwdriver a screwdriver is our Personality Type. The DNA thing. The thing that we've been given right from the beginning.
Think about it - what makes a plum tree a plum tree, an apple tree an apple tree, and an apricot tree an apricot tree? The DNA of each of the trees right?
But what determines how soon a tree bears fruit, the size of the fruit and the taste of the fruit? Well in part it's the DNA, but in part it's also where the tree's been planted, the climate, the amount of rain it gets, whether it gets enough sunshine, whether the soil has enough nutrients and the right properties for optimal drainage, whether it's too windy or too cold or too hot … or just right.
All those things will impact on the timing and the quality of the fruit of each of the trees. And so it is with us. There are things that are determined in our DNA - our nature, and things that happen to us along the way - our nurture.
Now if you're a Christian, you may at this point be asking yourself - Is this biblical, or is this just some worldly philosophy that Keith and Berni have spun together under the guise of God's Word?
And if you're asking yourself that question, I would suggest that it's a very, very good question to be asking. Because for so long, the subject of Personality Type has lived exclusively in the world's domain - a thing that psychologists and like disciplines have produced as a matter both of pure science (to describe and understand people) and as something that's been popularised in many systems of personality typing, to help people make some sense of who they are.
That's all well and good - but the question that I asked when I first started listening to Keith talking about this tool he called "my personality GPS" was this: Is what you're talking about in God's Word?
And to my joy, what I discovered, was a resounding "yes"!
Now "my personality GPS" is simply a tool that provides a clear representation of the biblical truth that each one of us is made differently. Its purpose is so that we can locate our own particular Personality Type (hence the acronym GPS - Global Positioning System). What's my personality, where do I fit in?
And it's based on two key biblical texts. Firstly on this one:
He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself." (Luke 10:27)
It seems a little odd this particular Scripture - but what Jesus is identifying here very clearly, is that there are different aspects of who we are - our heart (the seat of our emotions; the place where we feel things), our soul (all of us - the heart, the will and the mind), our strength (our will; that place where we decide things) and our mind (the place of rational thought).
Now if we stop and think about it for a minute, we all know people, emotional people, who come at things more through their emotions than through say their mind or their will. And we all know people, the detailed thinkers, who come at things more through their minds than say through their emotions, and so on.
It turns out - and this is reflected in the "my personality GPS" tool of understanding ourselves from a biblical perspective - that those four, the heart, the soul, the will and the mind, are really important in understanding who we are.
The second text comes from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Roman Church (the book of Romans in the New Testament). There are three places where the different gifts that we've been given are set out in the New Testament. This is one of them, and these gifts are most commonly referred to as the "motivational gifts" or as we would more commonly say today, the Personality Types - in other words, those that are written deep into our DNA, the things that drive us:
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. (Romans 12:4-8)
Specifically different gifts - there are seven of them listed here. We'll look at each one of them in a lot more detail throughout this book - chapter by chapter.
But notice here also, this wonderful picture of community - the metaphor of the body of Christ, that we are all members of that body, with different functions. Again, that's something we'll look at in a lot more detail throughout the course of this book.
But at this point - seeing just the small amount that we've seen of God's Word - let me ask you this question: If indeed, as God's Word tells us, God has handcrafted each one of us specifically for a purpose that He planned well ahead of time, and if, as again God's Word tells us, there are specific Personality Types given to each one of us - some as prophets, some as ministers (or servers), some as teachers, some as exhorters (or Encouragers), and so on, if those things in God's Word are true, then …
… doesn't it make sense for us to figure out our particular Personality Type as the basis of knowing what we were always meant to do?
Seems to me that when Jesus was in that carpenter's shop and He wanted to hammer a nail, He would have reached for His hammer. And when He wanted to saw a piece of wood in two, He would have reached for His saw. And when He wanted to create a joint in a piece of wood, He would have reached for His chisel. And having used the right tools for the right functions, He would have brought each work to perfect completion.
It just makes sense, doesn't it?
If He wants someone to teach, my hunch is, He's going to reach for a Teacher. And if He wants to encourage, He's going to reach for an Encourager. And if He wants to pull some things together, He'll probably reach for a Leader.
But what if the Teacher doesn't realise that that's who she is and so instead, she's off doing something she was never meant to do? And what if the Encourager thinks that he's a Leader and so he's off doing something that he was never meant to do? And what if the Leader doesn't realise he's a Leader at all, and so he's off somewhere working so incredibly hard at doing something he was never made to do?
Scary thought really …
Back to the Ugly Duckling
Hans Christian Andersen's powerful story, The Ugly Duckling is a literary classic. Not so much because of the way it was written. My hunch is that the piece loses some of its poetry and lilt at having been translated into English.
No - the power of The Ugly Duckling, the thing that's made it a classic, is in the way it resonates so deeply in our souls. A swan's egg by some strange set of events finds itself in a duck's nest in a farmyard. And so a swan is born into a family of ducks. No one really cares why, or even realises that it's happened.
Everyone just assumes he's meant to be a duck. And all of his little life, people reject him because for a duckling, he is one UGLY bird! Everyone misunderstands him. Everyone rejects him. And it hurts!
He's all alone. But amidst the bleakness and hopelessness of his world, there is one thing, just one, that makes his little spirit soar - have a listen:
One evening, just as the sun set amid radiant clouds, there came a large flock of beautiful birds out of the bushes. The duckling had never seen any like them before. They were swans, and they curved their graceful necks, while their soft plumage shone with dazzling whiteness. They uttered a singular cry, as they spread their glorious wings and flew away from those cold regions to warmer countries across the sea. As they mounted higher and higher in the air, the ugly little duckling felt quite a strange sensation as he watched them. He whirled himself in the water like a wheel, stretched out his neck towards them, and uttered a cry so strange that it frightened himself. Could he ever forget those beautiful, happy birds? And when at last they were out of his sight, he dived under the water, and rose again almost beside himself with excitement. He knew not the names of these birds, nor where they had flown, but he felt towards them as he had never felt for any other bird in the world. He was not envious of these beautiful creatures, but wished to be as lovely as they. Poor ugly creature, how gladly he would have lived even with the ducks had they only given him encouragement.
At that moment, he didn't yet know who he was. He just knew who he wanted to be, but because he didn't know who he was - who God had made him to be - he simply didn't have a license to go and be who he'd been made to be.
And even when he finally encounters those birds again, he thinks he's going to die. Surely … surely that can be the only outcome:
"I will fly to those royal birds," he exclaimed, "and they will kill me, because I am so ugly, and dare to approach them; but it does not matter: better to be killed by them than pecked by the ducks, beaten by the hens, pushed about by the maiden who feeds the poultry, or starved with hunger in the winter."
Then he flew to the water, and swam towards the beautiful swans. The moment they espied the stranger, they rushed to meet him with outstretched wings.
"Kill me," said the poor bird; and he bent his head down to the surface of the water, and awaited death.
Then, something happened that changed everything in an instant:
But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan. To be born in a duck's nest in a farmyard is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan's egg.
And it's not until we see our image clearly - an image that reflects God Himself - that we discover how inconsequential the distorted images that the world's misunderstanding reflects back at us, in fact are.
That's the thing that Susan Boyle knew in her heart, when she walked out onto that stage.
And it's precisely the thing that God wants us to know, when we walk out onto the stage we call "life", for …
we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NASB Ephesians 2:10)
That's why this book was written. That's what it's all about.
It's about discovering that we are indeed God's workmanship - you and I. It's about discovering who we are and what our purpose is, so that we can go and walk into the good works that God prepared beforehand for us to walk in, with a certainty and a quiet confidence in the knowledge that we're a perfect fit; that we're the right one for the job … no matter how daunting that job may at first appear.
Excerpted from My Personality GPS (Ark House Press). © 2009 Keith Henry + Berni Dymet. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Original publication date: November 2, 2009
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