Forget all those personality tests. Never mind the character studies. If you want insights into your own psyche, try the dishwasher. It’s a handy-dandy machine that can reveal what you’re really made of. All you have to do is follow these simple operating instructions: 1) Leave dishwasher door open. 2) Unwittingly apply shin forcefully to side of the open door. 3) Repeat as needed. There’s your temperament analysis.
A few years ago there was a week or two when our dishwasher door wouldn’t stay closed. By the end of that time, I’m pretty sure I had taken a lot more personality tests than one personality can reasonably handle. Also more than one person’s shins can reasonably handle. My legs looked like a couple of old bananas.
Are those leopard print leggings?
No. No, they aren’t. …I wasn’t wearing leggings.
I’m not sure why I didn’t get better at maneuvering around that thing. Or even remembering that it was there. Why didn’t I just learn to hurdle? I should’ve been Olympic-event-ready after the first few days. It was, in fact, a strong leg survival instinct that inspired us to get the door fixed. And in the couple of weeks before it was fixed, there’s a good chance my family may have seen a little more of my “personality” than they wanted.
We often find out what we’re made of when we run into difficulties. Maybe even more so when we run into those difficulties really hard. How do we respond when we hit a surprise painful situation? Anger? Bitterness? Self-pity? Thinking life is unfair? Thinking God is unfair?
How we respond directly relates to the peace we will—or won’t—experience in a painful situation. It’s not so much a personality thing. It’s instead about what we let happen by our own choices. In Colossians 3:15 Paul says, “And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts” (HCSB).
There’s an important “let” in his instruction. We need to “let” His peace rule. Sometimes we let personality—or some other aspect of ourselves—control our hearts. There are times when we focus on difficulty or injustice and end up letting bitterness rule. Or negativity. Or defeat and self-absorption. Sometimes we just plain surrender to sin and let it rule. All those fleshly things certainly will control our hearts if we let them. They want that control. Our flesh has a strong survival instinct.
The Greek word translated “control” in this passage is a word that means to be a referee or director—like one who presides over an Olympic game. The indwelling presence of our Messiah and the peace that He gives will referee our every internal battle. And peace wins the day at every point we will “let.”
Is there anything else you’re letting control your heart? Let His peace control instead. That’s the way to hurdle over any difficulty and win. Not just an Olympic win. A life win. It’s at our humble surrender to His peace that we’re able to be fruitful, joy-filled, thankful—successfully passing every test. Even a personality test. Yes, even the dishwasher-door-to-the-shin personality test.