Choosing Substance: Personality (Day 7)


(Are you just joining us? Welcome. We’re half-way through our 12 Days of Christmas advent devotionals, and you can access them all here. It’s a busy time of year, but take a few minutes to care for YOU as you make countless preparations. Coffee, anyone?)

For You shaped me, inside and out.
    You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.
      I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.
    You have approached even the smallest details with excellence…
I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. Psalm 139:13-14

I read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking last year, and oh my goodness, I learned quite a bit about myself. I wish I had read it 30 years ago.

This seventh day of Christmas, we’re not talking about tolerating culture or society near and far. We’re talking about tolerating you.

A person of substance understands she was created with purpose, so she’s comfortable in her own skin.

See, I personally dance between an introvert’s disposition and a world that celebrates something else. It leaves me tired. I’m still finding my rhythm. But I’m starting to believe I no longer have to make excuses for my personality.

Who are you? Are you craving crowds or solitude? Are you singing Joy to the World or Silent Night? Do you ever want to be someone else?

In ancient history we find a beautifully blatant account confirming God chooses different personalities to do His work. Long before the advent story came to earth, God’s people faced oppression once again, and His message to them wouldn’t be easy to hear. God pursued two men – Isaiah and Jeremiah – to bring truth. Two very different men.

God allows drama-loving Isaiah to hear His conversation with angels. He’s on His throne with a robe as long as the temple(!) while angels fly, doorposts shake, and smoke rises. The Maker gives him a multi-sensory invitation: “Who will go for us?” Isaiah is eager and volunteers, and he can’t bear the weight of his sin in the presence of God’s holiness. His mouth, God’s avenue for speaking, is touched with a hot coal from a holy altar. It was a rather dramatic scene. (Isaiah 6)

And later, after 30 years of silence, God pursues Jeremiah. In quiet solitude the Maker confirms he was known and set apart before his conception. In tenderness, He calls. Exposing his brokenness, Jeremiah responds, “I can’t speak. I’m not articulate. I have the gifts and wisdom of a mere child.” Two non-invasive visions later, God touches Jeremiah’s mouth, God’s avenue for speaking, with His hand. No hot coal. No drama. His Maker reaches out with His own fingers to commission Jeremiah with no one around. (Jeremiah 1)

Who were these men? Was Isaiah an extrovert who was always the first one to raise his hand as a boy? What childhood baggage influenced Jeremiah’s message of inadequacy?

But God chose them both. And they’d later each prophecy of a Coming Rescuer.

He chooses us, too. He knows our orientations, our predictable reactions. He knows our hearts, so therefore, he knows our brokenness. And yet Emmanuel, God with us, invites us to help redeem culture and heal this generation. Each personality, each unique calling, confirms the Eternal loves diversity.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my True Love assures me I’m known. Assures me I was intentionally fashioned. Assures me I have purpose.

…From our sins and fears release us; Let us find our rest in Thee… 

Choosing Substance

  • Who in your life has a personality you admire?
  • What gifts and talents do you crave? Or even envy?
  • Which ancient prophet do you identify with? Isaiah? Jeremiah? Both?
  • Read Psalm 139:1-12. What phrases speak loudest to you? Take an extra minute and read it again, letting the truth embrace you.

photo source | Dustin Lee