Monthly Archives: August 2011

Wired to be in Charge

Kingly landscape made up of post-it-notes

The word multitasking originated as a computer term; the simultaneous execution of more than one program or task by a single computer processor. In recent years we’ve nicknamed people as multitaskers. You will pass through very few job interviews that won’t ask you if you can multitask. Truth be known there is a select species of humans who multitask well. True multitaskers can execute more than one task at once and not lose any quality in their assignments. The rest of us? Not so much. There is a lot to be said for focus and concentration. However, those wired to manage and administrate have a very impressive ability to function within the high levels of several demands at once and meet them successfully.

Born to Lead

Individuals wired as perceivers and encouragers are as great at expressing ideas as an administrator. The administrator, however, is also highly motivated to organize that which they give vision to. The others? They would be wise to do their vision a favor and enlist an administrator. Those wired to manage get energy from the challenge of organization. They love to dig in, develop, and administrate with a creative desire to take raw materials and make something great.

Those wired to manage require very little supervision in a project. You can give them an inch of a general idea and they will create a mile of systems with purposeful design. They love to supervise people and delegation is the secret to great leadership. They understand, honor, and respect authority structures and feel very comfortable leading within them. They will not take the lead in areas they have not been given. They do their best work when they know the parameters of their authority. The only exception to that rule would be in those times where no authority has been delegated. Their love for order and time management will motivate them to step in.

Long Distance

Those wired to manage prefer long-range projects. Their vision is broad. In the big picture they see the resources needed, the people fitted for the tasks, and time frame needed to develop a project and to do it with excellence. Long-range projects are like putting the pieces of a puzzle together, they do more than create meetings and events they create landscapes. They have great enthusiasm for what they have committed to and find their joy in accomplishing goals.

Pastor Jeff, a strong server, has married himself a bride wired to be in charge. He and Stacey always seem to have one or two long-range projects on the burners of their lives. Presently they are committed to their 3rd house rental renovation and a Foursquare church plant in downtown Decatur. Jeff is the short-range guy within Stacey’s landscapes. Together, their big visions become real life realities. At first their contrasting ranges would easily become a point of frustration. When they come into a better understanding of how they are gifted differently they were better able to honor their differences. They were better able to make room for each other’s gifts in all that they would envision. Another reason for understanding the gifts: marital bliss.

Getting the Job Done

Those wired to be in charge will endure criticism and let others take the credit on projects to get the job done. Since their primary goal is to get the job done criticism is to small a detail for them to give attention to. They see success as a collective achievement while knowing you can’t please all the people all of the time. They are excellent at knowing when to make changes and how to pace them in a way that is best for the whole. Once the job is done they are ready to move on to the next project. They won’t stick around to maintain what they have developed. They move out of the way for the next gift to come in and “keep” what was developed going on without them.

If you are an organizer and frequently write notes to yourself to stay on task you may be wired to manage. If you hate to waste time and doing routine tasks you may be wired to manage. If you’ve been accused of bossing people around and live overextended most of the time, you too may be wired to manage. In the church you are wired to lead departments and projects, troubleshoot, and take the lead with workshops and adult learning. In the marketplace you will have joy as an advertising executive, air traffic controller, business owner, city planner, college professor, retail management, hotel manager, marketing executive, national and global level ministers, personal administrator, recreational director, or school administrator.

It’s been my experience that great ideas stay grounded until you bring an administrator on board. They are vital to the execution of any idea or vision worth taking flight. These are the people who organize the feet fitted to carry your dreams. Dreams run effectively, efficiently, and seamlessly with this kind of talent carrying the multiple tasks. They are the superhero behind every great event, successful organization, and powerful corporation. Their post-it-notes eventually make for great landscapes.

Well, this is the last of the gifts but not the last blog. We will sum up the wonders of God’s given gifts in Wired to Rule, coming up next.

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Wired to Give

As we were profiling this gift, Ryan, Youth Director for Renaissance, immediately identified his brother Andrew as a giver. Andrew was a classmate of my daughter’s and surrogate brother throughout their high school years. Andrew had a reputation for being quite adventurous. Twice in grade school Andrew had packed his bags for expedition. Well, he would call it that. His parents called it running away from home.

Between those few “adventures” in Andrew’s young life we had a missionary visit our church. She presented some really dramatic stories of survival and miracles. She brought intriguing pictures of the area and the people. I was sitting behind Andrew during her presentation when the Lord spoke quietly to my heart, “Andrew has a spirit like that of Indiana Jones, this is why he runs.” I can’t tell you how excited I was to share with him the reason he struggled so hard to stay put. He was wired for expedition. As a young adult Andrew is learning that his outrageous giving nature is preparing to him to give more than his time and his money. Andrew would give away his life if God asked him to. Andrew is not weird, he is wired to give.

Giving to Give

According to the Fortunes, “Of the seven motivational gifts this is the one least likely to be identified by the one who has it. Part of the reason may be that the giver’s “left-hand” does not know when his “right-hand” gives alms (Matthew 6:3). Another may be the giver’s “all around” personality. The giver shares several traits of the server, can be a leader or a follower, and like the perceiver and the teacher has a love for the Word of God.”

Now, givers give far more than money. They give with abandon their possessions, their time, and their money with no strings attached. Their favorite way to give is without anyone knowing it and their joy is at its fullest when what they give is a direct answer to someone’s prayer. They know that God supplies all their resources and when they are mature they are careful to give according to a leading from the Holy Spirit.

Giving to Gather People

The joy in hospitality is strong and the giver sees it as an expression of giving. They possess a great desire to see others come to Christ. They frequently intercede for the needs and salvation of souls. They are naturally evangelistic. As children they will attempt to lead other children to Jesus. If their pulse had a voice it would say, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only” with each beat.

Those wired individuals who are drawn to prayer groups are the perceiver, the mercy, and the giver. If you listen the nature of the prayers you will easily identify them: the perceiver prays for the will of God to be done in nations, churches, and individuals. The mercy wired person prays for the problems and hurts of others as well as unity in the worldwide church. The giver, of course, prays for the salvation of souls and for the laborers of the harvest to be sent out.

Money, Money, Money

These are the people who seem to financially prosper at whatever they do. If God gives the ability to create wealth then the grace is ten times more concentrated on the giver. Why? God knows they will give it away according to His leading. They are very industrious, natural and effective in business. They habitually succeed at their business endeavor because they seem to be wise beyond their years.

Their successes could also be attributed to their frugality. They save as much as the give. They shop for the best deals but will not sacrifice quality at the same time. They are in no way gullible but are quick to discern manipulation. They can discern reality from imagination. This makes it possible for them to give where it counts. When they give to ministries they will research them first. They investigate two primary interests:  does it effectively get the Gospel out and what are the overhead expenses? Since they give more than money, you find them giving their time and resources to what they give their money to.

Those wired to give help the church meet the material needs of the church. They generously volunteer for outreach opportunities, caring ministries, and financial areas. These are your die-hard, Indiana Jones kind of missionaries. In the marketplace givers will find their fit as: actors, bankers, business consultants, buyers, carpenters, economists, investment managers, landscapers, paramedics, retailers, travel agents, and waitresses. With abandon and adventure the giver keeps the fires of “going into all the world” burning and funded. They know no greater giver than God Himself. They can testify that giving a life to God is the best deal this side of Heaven.


Wired to Coach

I couldn’t decide how to “wire” this title. I like the word coach. However, not everyone has positive experiences with their athletic coaches. I thought to use the word mentor but I don’t even like that word. To mentor someone makes them sound like a project before they are a person. I like the word motivate but it is inspiration without instruction. The biblical word is exhort and better translated encourage. The original language defines encourage as: to infuse courage. Much like a great coach, individuals wired to encourage throw a two-fisted punch: courage with pointers.

Pointers

Individuals wired with encouragement aim their pointers at your heart unlike a teacher. Teachers aim for your head. As mentioned previously, all the gifts can teach. Encouragers are the most interesting and enjoyable teacher. Why do they aim for the heart? The heart is where the courage is infused. Encouragers burn with a desire to see others overcome and live successful lives. They want to help people live up to their full potential and their greatest joy is to be a useful part of a persons personal achievements.

Encouragers are walking “how-to” books. They prefer systems of information that give practical steps of application. In turn that is exactly what they will deliver; prescribed steps of action to aid a person’s personal growth. They get their energy from personal coaching or counseling. They also know their success does not rest on how much they know but on those they are coaching to actually following through with the actions steps given. Encouragers are not quitters but they will discontinue further coaching until the coach-ee follows through on their advice. It is important to them that their time and effort count, they have no problem moving on to someone who will value their counsel.

Windy

Encouragers are fluent in communication. I posted a quote from Jeff Goins on Facebook the other day, “Real writers wake up every morning with something to say. Even if the words have yet to come.” I followed it with a comment about how my dad used to call me “windy” and it was not because I was flighty. Well that may be part of it. No really, I talked a lot. It would be the one pattern of behavior I would most frequently get disciplined for in school, talking.

Yes, I had lots to say but there was another side to my trouble. People liked talking to me. I’ve retained one particular memory from a grade school gym class back in 19…  ah, whatever. A classmate was talking with me privately, well as private as you can get in gym class and yes I probably did get in trouble for it. Anyway, she was disclosing to me how another girl, a best friend of hers in our class, was hurting her feelings. When she finished unloading she made a very direct point to tell me I was a really good listener and thanked me for helping her. How did I help? Not only was just listening helpful but giving her some grade school-aged advice helped her see things in a more positive light. Yes, I am wired like an encourager almost as much as a prophet.

Fluent in communication, check. Makes decisions easily, check-check. Wants to clear up problems with others quickly, triple check. Known for my positive attitude, most days. Those wired to encourage believe nothing is impossible and all things work together for the good of personal growth. Encouragers do not see obstacles, they only see opportunities and they have the best advise on how to embrace the process to getting to a happy ending. Those wired to encourage think out loud and have to have a sounding board as though they are trying on ideas for size. They need to know they are really communicating.

Builders of People

If you are wired to encourage you are a people person. You are not so much interested in working with abstract ideas and figuring out systems of business or ministry. You are much more interested in building the people who build systems of business or ministry. You also now how to network people and find them to be great resources.

You probably learn your most valuable lessons from life and like to validate them with the bible. In fact, experiences are usually what brings scripture to life for you. Personally, the scriptures I have instant recall on are the ones I learned through a life experience as opposed to reading or memorizing it. These experiences make for the most memorable stories for others to be infused with the courage they need to keep embracing the process to greatness.

Of course, there are some frustrating traits common to this gift that need to mature. If you have a tendency to interrupt all the time because you are eager to give an opinion or advice, you may be wired to coach. Yes, you were created with much to say but wait your turn; you may miss out on some good stuff. Besides, its just rude man. If you give cookie-cutter counsel, you may be wired to coach. Truly effective advice comes from Heaven which makes prayerful advise the most personally fitting advise. Prayerful advise brings about the most fruitful results. If you are outspoken and overly self-confident, you may be wired to coach but not well liked. No one likes a know-it-all. You’ve got to make room for God in your advice and in your confidence. Being self-made is the lowest form of notoriety when you live in God’s Kingdom. Being self-made can be one of your greatest temptations. Be careful that your advice doesn’t encourage a false self-reliance in others. In all you advise, point to the One Who created them.

When it comes to work and ministry they are the “mouth” of the body. Their energy and joy will come from leading, counseling, planning, and teaching all ages. In the marketplace they will be at their best as: advertisers, ambassadors, guidance counselors, ministers, personal assistants, psychologists, public relations, radio and TV. personalities, realtor, social worker, teacher, and travel agents. With a 1987 copyright on the book I am obligated to mention a couple of more relevant careers: motivational speakers and life coaches:-)


My Sins Confessed

Indignation intensified with each step forward. Anxiously, I skimmed into the nearest pew, released the kneeler with my foot, and plopped down onto my knees. I surrendered my head into my prayer-folded hands. Why? Why did I have to confess my sins to a priest anyway? Why couldn’t I just talk to God myself? It was getting harder for me to move past the arching resistance rising within my lil 12-year-old heart. Fortunately, the desire to know God personally had been rising too.

Father Forgive Me

My first experience with confessing my sins was as a little catholic girl walking through the Sacrament of Confession. I remember fretfully standing single file in a line with all the other 12-year-old sinners. We were waiting our turn to walk into the closet. The closet? The closet was one of three dimly lit chambers housing one sinner on each side of the attending priest. The closet was where, behind a closed-door, you knelt down to confess your weekly sins through the grill. Oh, the grill? Well, the grill was a gradient window-like screen that separated you from the priest. The priest, which appeared to be only a shadow, would lean in toward the grill where the confession of your sins would sift from your lips to his ears. Hanging on the wall, just over your head is where the crucifix was displayed. What’s the crucifix? The crucifix is a cross with Jesus’ dead body still nailed to it. For a child it was a haunting and ever-present reminder of what our sins had done to the innocence of Jesus.

It became a tradition of mine to have the list of my sins for that week memorized. As I waited my turn I would repeat them over and over again in my head so as not to forget a one of them. I would sweat, my stomach would cramp, and fear would dry my mouth. I could faintly hear the sounds of confession coming from the sinner on other side of the confessional. The closed slider before me muffled the voices on the other side. Hearing the priest deal out the sinner’s penance sounded much like Charlie Brown’s teacher disciplining her classroom. Each pause heightened the alarm pounding in my own chest. Were they finished? Am I next? Have I remembered all my sins?

Here’s a confession for you: there would be times when I couldn’t think of any sins that week and I would just make stuff up. After all, I figured having no sins to confess would probably be an even greater sin yet. In addition to keeping track of my many adolescent sins I was also required to confess how long it had been since my last confession. Well, you can only imagine the terror that would strike my heart each time the span between my confessions would grow farther and farther apart. Eventually the shame of my neglect kept me from returning to the confessional ever again.

For I Have Sinned …

In recent days a hidden sin of friend of mine had been publicly exposed. His position and history of Christian influence in our area had been significant. Moving past the initial shock has been minimal in comparison to the anguish many of our hearts have felt over his refusal to return. He refuses to return to his family and he refuses to return to his God. I searched my heart that first week for words. I wanted just the right words to encourage him to do the right thing. However, by the end of that first week the only words that came to me were words of confession. I sent my friend a text and confessed, “I want you to know two things: one, I am sorry I did not take more seriously my prayers for you. Two, love remains … Your Sis.”

To date there has been no reply and no returning.

I’ve pondered the paralyzing despair as well as what seems to be the endless consequences to his sin. It broke my heart in a whole new way: I am sorry that we, the church, have not prized the art of confession. I have never been more grieved that we, the church, have yet to cultivate a culture where the confession of a sin is as beloved as the sinner.

Unfortunately the confessing of sin is not exactly trending in our Christian societies. Unfortunately the only altar calls I am ever invited to on Sundays are the ones that want my distresses, my wounds, and my sicknesses. No one ever asks for my sins. It makes me wonder: would the devastation level of sin be less if we had a beloved culture of confession? Would my friend have been empowered to make other choices if he had been participating in a culture of confession?

It’s Been 33 Years Since …

In the past couple of years I’ve learned, no, better yet, I’ve experienced a power that breaks the yoke of my own habitual sins – it’s the power that is released when we confess our own sins to one another. Jesus said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”  (John 20:23.) Jesus is telling His disciples that they have been given the authority to forgive sins. We, the church, are His disciples. Therefore, we too have the authority to forgive the sins of others. Though their application falls short the Catholic Church does have this principle correct.

Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with two friends to whom I’ve confessed sin. I don’t mean the “oops” category of sins. I mean the kind of deep-seated personal sin that has a hook in me and keeps me sinning the same sins. The kind of sin I’ve confessed to God over and over but can’t seem to get free from. The exploiting kind of sin you wished you had never remembered committing.

My friends are unique in that they understand and delight in the truth that they have been given the authority to forgive the sins of others. When I confessed my sins to them I got the privilege of experiencing true love. Their eyes didn’t wince at my ugly confession; I got to see with my real eyes love not becoming offended. By speaking my sins out loud I got to bring into the light that which had been hiding in the dark. With my own ears I got to hear out loud a real voice announcing that I was forgiven.

I experienced more than the idea of forgiveness. I experienced the power of forgiveness. I know that I know this power has something to do with what was done in Heaven through prayer now being done on Earth in practice. All three of us have encountered this power from our confessions to one another. Now my friends and I sympathetically joke on occasion we need a “priest”. Everyone needs a friend who is their “priest”.

My Last Confession

I’ve learned a lot about confessing my sins since I was a 12-year-old sinner. I’ve learned that God loves to hear my voice speaking directly to Him. I’ve learned I live in this really cool place now called justification. It’s a place where I live fully exposed before a holy God and He looks at me with eyes of fire that never wince at the confession of my sins. I’ve learned that the blood of Jesus has made it possible for God to always see me just-as-if I never sinned. I no longer need to be ashamed to come and confess my sin to Him.

I’ve learned that I used to love to sin because I was a sinner. Now I hate to sin because it’s no longer who I am. I’ve learned one of God’s favorite expressions of love is to forgive me of those sins I hate. In fact He can’t wait for me to confess. He is the kind of Father who paces the front porch waiting for His wayward daughter to return to His undeserving love and forgiveness. His forgiveness is so scandalous that each time He gets a chance to express it the enemy becomes a spectacle all over again. It’s like watching the resurrection shame him all over again!

Consider this: have you ever experienced the exhilaration that comes from buying the perfect gift? You know, that gift that was exactly what they wanted as though you had read the secret desire of their heart? Can you remember the anticipation of giving it nearly killing you? That’s how we should give forgiveness don’t you think? We should give forgiveness like the anticipation was killing us. If it is true that God has prepared our good works ahead of time then shouldn’t we live out our days looking for the confessional opportunities to announce forgiveness? Jesus is not impressed with our sins, so let’s not be impressed either. Rather, let’s freak people out and prove, through announcing forgiveness, that true love is never easily offended

Father forgive us for we have sinned, it has been much too long since our last confession …


Wired with Feelers

While taking a brief break from the beauty counter I unwound on a bench seat stationed just in front of my store. It was late afternoon. I briefly glanced up from my latest “read” to see a familiar face heading in my direction. Kristin, a highly educated young woman, lover of Jesus, men-tee, and friend was hurriedly shopping for a new dress in my direction. Kristin had missed the last God-Given Gifts profiling the week before and I got a couple of minutes to catch her up. It took only seconds for her face to light up with a new self-discovery as though I was reading her DNA.

I shared with Kristin a revealing conversation I had with Will. Will serves with his wife Lindsey to direct Renaissance Children. Will had shared with me his struggle in making decisions, especially within group situations. My first thought was that  his indecision may be based in a fear of making a mistake. He disagreed. Truth be told, that would be my own fear which reflects right back onto my right/wrong prophetic wiring. Will said he is afraid that whatever he chooses he knows someone is going to lose. He hates the thought of anyone losing. As I shared this conversation with Kristin she was liberated, right there in the south end of the mall. “That’s so true!” she exclaimed. Kristin is one who lives to see everyone win. Kristin and Will are wired for mercy.

How about you? Are you famous for your indecision? Do people make appointments with you 15 minutes earlier than the real meeting time because you are habitually a late arrive-r? Do you quickly assume everyone is good and trustworthy leaving your friends to assume you are way too gullible? Fear not. You’re not weird. You may be wired with the greatest capacity to show love. You may be wired as a mercy.

Feel’n It

It is the most beautiful gift of them all. It is also the most vulnerable and emotionally destructive. Individuals wired for mercy are the most open and trusting of all the gifted. As though they have “feelers” on the top of their heads, they possess an incredible sensitivity for the emotional status of others and are automatically drawn to help them. They have an attraction for the hurting. As children they are the ones who bring home the stray animals and lonely kids from the neighborhood. They are the ones who will entertain you in order to distract you from your pain.

A mercy gift feels more than sympathy or empathy for others. They feel mercy. Sympathy says: “I am sorry you hurt.” Empathy says: “I am sorry you hurt and I hurt with you.” Mercy says: “I am sorry you hurt, I hurt with you, and I’m going to stay right here until the hurt is gone.” This then clues us in on why they are always running late. They see people’s feelings as of primary importance and find it very difficult to separate themselves from people who may be hurting, stressed, or wired like they are. The feelings of the person in front of them quickly become their priority and all other expectations and responsibilities fade away along with the time.

People wired with mercy are happy shiny people with a very high motivation for everyone to get along. They are driven to see everyone living in right relationship with everyone else. They are the builders of bridges between people, the peacemakers. They long for unity where ever they work and serve. They love the composition of diversity and the potential of love demonstrated where everyone embraces and celebrates the uniqueness in one another. The love of unity within diversity makes them great at showing honor and preference to those who are less fortunate than most. It makes great hosts as well.

The Heart Rules

The mercy person works hard to not hurt someone’s feelings with their words. They are very careful about the words they choose. Frequently they struggle in communicating what they want to say and even stop mid sentence to find the words that won’t hurt. They apologize a lot too. They really hate confrontation and will accept fault in order to keep the peace. After all that careful choosing they can still fear that something they’ve said could have been misunderstood and hurtful after all. Additionally, if they themselves are ever unhappy or hurt they will be less likely to tell you.

They have great joy in doing thoughtful things for others. They remember birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. They are ruled by their hearts rather than their heads. When they love they love to the end. They are the most loyal friend, co-worker, and spouse. They are a crusader for good causes and good people. They are gifted for intercession and will pray over a list of the hurts and disunity of others. Tears are familiar friends to the mercy person. They feel so deeply that their prayers are frequently accompanied by many tears.

My Experience

Since growing in the familiarity of this gift there are some things I’ve personally observed in relation to mercy gifted people. I’ve witnessed this gift, in its immaturity and infancy, is prone to depression and addictions more than the others. The tears that come from their deep feelings can be discounted as unreasonable and assumed that there must be something innately wrong with them. When we discipline them to not cry it is like telling them not to care. Depressing their emotions can eventually result in various addictions used to numb their pain they are not being allowed to express. We have to give room for their deep feelings and not be quick to give them a pill to control their perceived depression. I would caution us that it may not be depression, it may be compassion.

If we don’t honor this gift with understanding we will risk depressing the greatest of expressions of God’s love. We honor this gift when accept their deep feelings and rather than shame them or belittle them. In turn we should help them to communicate their feelings and infuse them with courage to do what is best for what is grieving them.

It has also been my experience that their level of vulnerability is hell’s target for destruction. On occasion I encounter children high in mercy. When I recognize it I pray for their hearts to be guarded by God all the days of their lives and bless their innocence. The God-given vulnerability and innocence meant to demonstrate His capacity to show love to the world is also too easily and too frequently raped through abuse: sexual and physical and emotional. It’s as though hell has a nose for innocence and a ferocious appetite to pervert and destroy it. Hell has an agenda to incapacitate the expression of God on the Earth. These abuses are binding and crippling to any soul but especially for those having the most trusting of souls, the mercy wired soul. They are the most childlike of the gifted. Therefore, the rest of us gifted people, have the responsibility to use our gifts to steward their vulnerability and innocence.

It’s our responsibility to teach them the other sides of love. All the gifts love and love with their own unique expressions. Those who are mature in the gift of mercy know what is right and will often struggle doing what is right because there is the possibility it may hurt others. A common reasoning for them is, “But, I don’t want to hurt their feelings.” That’s where the rest of the “wires” come in to empower the mercy to follow through with the hard stuff. Sometimes true love hurts. We get the privilege to show them how to bring love to others in holiness.

What the World Needs Now

The world needs love, no doubt. Mercy makes up nearly 30% of the gifted. It is probably best for comfort to go ahead of the other expressions of love. When comfort comes the soul is settled to better receive the wisdom and help that needs to follow. Let them love you, it is a joy to their heart. They find great reward as artists, childcare providers, home economist, nursing, modeling, pet grooming, pharmacist, teaching, receptionist, and of course social workers.


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