SCOT WALL: Sensitive, detail driven folks are invaluable to God
These past several weeks I have offered some thoughts on four different personality types and how, by understanding these better, we can love others better. The personality types we have looked at are the Driven/Task-Oriented (D/TO) personality, the Optimistic/People-Oriented (O/PO) personality, the Even-Tempered/Status Quo-Oriented (E/SO) personality and the Sensitive/Detail-Oriented (S/DO) personality.
For each personality type we have spent one week examining how the personality exhibits itself and another week seeing how to love each of the personality types. Last week I gave a description of the last personality type, the Sensitive/Detailed-Oriented type. So this week I will offer some thoughts on how best to love the S/DO person by examining how God loved a person in the Bible with this personify type.
The person in the Bible that seems to most exemplify the S/DO tendencies is Moses.
S/DO’s are not very verbal. They are usually much more pensive. God called Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let God’s people, the Jews, go free from the slavery in Egypt. Moses continually said he didn’t think he could do the job. God finally told Moses to take his more verbal Optimistic/People-Oriented brother, Aaron, to go with him to be his mouthpiece.
Once the Israelites were on their way to the Promised Land, they began to complain to Moses. He began to exhibit another SD/O tendency of a poor me attitude. S/DO’s hate to be criticized and take it very personally. Moses went so far as to basically say, “God, go ahead and kill me since these people don’t like me.”
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had to confront Moses for another S/DO tendency. Because S/DO’s want things done right (which is usually their way), they do not delegate well. Jethro had to tell Moses that he was going to wear himself out if he didn’t find others who could take on some of his responsibilities of leadership.
God chose this personality to be the one to whom He would give the Law and the Ten Commandments. Why is this significant? Because you want someone who is taking down what a holy God desires of His creation to be a stickler for detail. You want someone who cares about every jot and tittle.
You don’t want an O/PO person to be the one taking down these important words of God. You don’t want someone who will say, “All right, God, I’ve got the gist of what you are saying. I’ll try to remember it and let the folks know basically what you want.”
God chose Moses to be his leader at a very important time in Jewish history as well as in world history. God patiently explained what He desired of Moses and confronted him when Moses became negative when focusing on himself.
So, what are ways that we can love the S/DO person?
Know that an S/DO’s initial response will probably be “no” to whatever you first propose. This is not necessarily his final answer. He means, “I can see all the problems right away so this doesn’t look good initially. But if you can give me good reasons backed up with fact, then I am willing to change my mind.” Be sure to have your facts straight and verified.
An S/DO needs time to process and validate. Please be patient and let an S/DO process the situation (when in conflict; when considering change; when making a decision, etc.) You will be rewarded with a very thought-out conclusion.
If you are giving an S/DO a task, give him all the details that you can. Let him know exactly what you expect of him. Then give him reassurance after reassurance that he is doing what you desire.
Recognize that S/DO’s feel deep emotions. As a result of that they want to avoid the deep pain and hurt that they have felt in the past. Thus, they are very cautious. Please do not dismiss this.
An S/DO gets depressed when he doesn’t see hope of how to get out of a bad situation. Without invalidating his feelings, help him see a step by step approach to moving towards a realistic solution. “Realistic” may mean moving towards a clearer understanding of God’s approval of him and his actions.
Because of an S/DOs drive for perfection and ability to see detail, he is many times very talented in the arts. Take time to enjoy and admire his ability and what he produces rather than work so hard at making him more outgoing.
S/DO’s are invaluable to the Kingdom of God. They offer the checks needed to confirm we are heading in the right direction. If they are tempered with the grace of the Holy Spirit when dealing with others, they can very sensitively and effectively guide us toward doing what is right in the sight of God.
Scot Wall is pastor of Magnolia Bible Church and the new Texas State Capitol Minister with Capitol Commission. Send comments to ConsiderThis@magnoliabible.org.