Your Lower Self's Enneagram / Myers-Briggs
Your lower self, or what the Bible calls "the flesh," has an Enneagram number. A Myers-Briggs rating. A GEMS profile.
Did you know that?
No, of course. You only think about yourself.
Okay, I'm joking. You don't just think about yourself. In this case, though, it might do you some good.
One personality test gave me the profile of "Individualist." It's quite fitting; I've fulfilled it most of my life.
When I was in elementary school, teachers routinely told my parents, "He simply cannot be made to listen."
In high school, early adulthood, the military, university, the insurance business - at every stage, I've had to learn playing well with others.
Somewhere, there are redeeming aspects to this, but I've found a multitude of sorrows in it.
This is the profile of my higher self.
I'm told history is littered with the world-changing legacies of such people, who refused to go along with the crowd.
I like to think I'm good at going with the flow ...
... but truth be told, I resent and recoil at it.
MARRIED TO THE GREEN LANTERN
Meanwhile, I'm happily married for 14 years to a woman who is the embodiment of the Analytical personality.
GEMS profiles call these people "the Emerald," and my wife is as glittering green as they come.
A recent podcast interview revealed the difference between us.
Both are control freaks, but for different reasons.
The Individualist, or "the Ruby" as GEMS puts it, believes themselves to be right about something primarily because of self.
Whereas the Emerald believes themselves to be right because of research.
In short, this means that my faith, ideology and philosophy are valuable to me simply because I believe them ...
... but for her, they're valuable because she's researched and read about them to death.
A FREAK LIKE ME
Oddly enough, the flesh is equally adamant about why life will not work: because "it's me."
(And my wife also has no faith or confidence without the facts in a neatly organized spreadsheet with footnotes).
It is the season and the time, I believe, to launch my first mastermind group.
My past, however, lingers.
I built my personal insurance brand with emphasis on my character and personality, and paid no attention to defining my niche.
This led to some great clients. But it also brought a ton of bad prospects, some of whom became clients.
The residual "concussion" from banging my head against the wall for so long is that I can't imagine success.
It's predestined failure, in other words, simply because it's Paul Edwards' endeavor.
This too, as Ecclesiastes would say, is vanity, a chasing after the wind.
MOTHER OF PEARL
One clue in overcoming this is the development of my least dominant personal style - the Pearl.
In GEMS parlance, this is the person who loves, serves and can be found hugging trees.
These people never want to be in the spotlight; they only want to serve, help, teach and empower others.
A clue to overcoming your lower self's profile is by developing and cultivating the weaker parts of your higher self.
If I adopt this mentality, therefore, and begin pursuing someone else's agenda instead of my own ...
... I should expect better results over time.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CALLING
All this, however, shouldn't take the place of understanding God's calling on your life.
Don't think that "play to your strengths, outsource your weakness" will do this alone. You also need a "why."
In my Kingdom experience, that "why" cannot come from within yourself.
The "why" I received from God in 2017 confirms this ... and helps me to sift through investing and spending resources.
THE WRITTEN PLAN
Once you're clear on the vision and calling God has for you, it is THEN that you employ the help of man.
You take pains to understand your personality, and operate from strengths while addressing weakness.
If your profile demonstrates weakness in other-centeredness, you engage your calling to improve it.
I'm weak in Analytical and Nurturing/Supporting, so I engage my calling to improve those areas.
It's the integrated man who can be slowed down, but not stopped, in pursuit of God's calling.
If, by God's Spirit, you're growing in capacity to support and care for others, will He not marshal your strength as a driver?
Will our Father not, if He's called you to teach and inspire generations, harness your natural strengths?
I have found He will, if you're using those strengths appropriately in the context of calling.
I'm grateful you've read this far. Writing this is far more therapeutic for me than reading it is for you.
If you have a story like this you're open to share, drop a note in the comments or e-mail me.
Part of being less of an Individualist is listening to and appreciating others' stories. I could use the practice.