Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sanguine with a Side of Crazy

I just spent the last two and a half hours filling out my PLACE questionnaire. What is a PLACE questionnaire, you say? Let me tell you. It's one of those tests that is supposed to tell you what your personality is, what your spiritual gifts are, what your passions are and where exactly you should be involved in ministry. Those are all the things it is supposed to tell me. What it in fact told me is that my special brand of mental illness is as alive and well as I thought it was.

Is is just me, or are the tests really, really hard. I mean, the test at the eye doctor is bad enough. Bless Dr. Katsaitis' heart, she asks a simple question, "Is your vision better with one or two?" And I remain silent while she flips back and forth calmly saying, one or two. I tell her that I can't pass this test, and she laughs at me, because I AM CRAZY, and assures me in her delightful Greek accent that there is no way to fail this test, because there is no wrong answer. But dear reader, you and I both know that there is a wrong answer and when I pick it I will spend the next year with a prescription that is just off enough to make me squint at anything not one foot from my face.

She goes through this routine every year and just calmly flips back and forth until I sort of squint and guess, and we finally narrow it down to a pair of contacts I can drive in, but will still spend the next year giving myself more wrinkles from all the squinting. At my last appointment I told her that I thought I must have diabetes or a brain tumour, because I just can't freaking see without squinting. Needless to say, she took extra time with me and figured out that I have such a mild case of astigmatism that she can't correct it without over correcting it, because that would be worse than me squinting. Yay for me! My vision stinks, but at least I am not crazy and don't have a brain tumor -- that I know of.

So, dear readers, if you think I get crazy over, "one or two," imagine how crazy I get over personality tests. I hate them. I can never answer them correctly. I know there is a right answer for me, but for the life of me I can't figure it out. I so over think these things it is not even funny. When it asks me to pick the answer that is most typical for me, that makes me want to break out in hysterical cackles. Typical for me? Those words don't really go together. I read the question and remember my reaction to said question in third grade, high school, college, when I was working, when I had my first baby, and then last week when we all had the flu, and I just can't figure out what typical for me is. Honestly, these tests make me want to let somebody saw off the top of my head, root around in there to find the "right" answer and pull it out. That seems like it would be easier and less painful.

I also tend to take these tests knowing what other people think about me. I know most people think I am this big extrovert that loves people and flourishes around large groups, but there are secretly times that I do not want to be around people, and all I want to do is lay on my couch and watch TV or knit or eat candy and not have to talk to anyone (especially anyone under 18) for about three days. So, how exactly am I supposed to answer that question about "loves being the center of attention"? Well, sometimes yes, and sometimes no. And the older I get, the more I am starting not to like people. Is there a question on there about becoming my mother? Because, dear reader, I know exactly how to answer that one!

Okay, and just to add insult to injury, it's not just difficult for me because I can't figure out how to answer. It's also difficult, because I know exactly where my weaknesses are and it points them all out with a flashing, fluorescent arrow. My personal favorite was this one, "In your life, do you: a.) not follow-through and have problems with over committing, b.) are organized and are perfect, c.) are methodical and are perfect, or d.) are unorganized and lack discipline?" Oh dear readers, this one made me laugh out loud. How do you decide if your "suckage" areas are more in the A category or D category *Okay, maybe B and C weren't worded exactly that way, but you know what they meant. You are either A.) organized, detail-oriented and good or B.) unorganized, slothful and bad.

So, what did I do? Called my husband, who's working in a plant in Missouri, to say, "Hey honey, which do I suck at more, not following through and over committing, or being unorganized and undisciplined." To which he laughed and answered, "yes." *Don't worry, I wasn't offended. I really called him so I could laugh, because I knew what the answer would be, because it is true, a little ego bruising, but no less true.

Moving right along, we now get into the spiritual gifts assessment. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it is an assessment a Christian can do to figure out what spiritual gifts you've received through the Holy Spirit. I'm actually excited about this part. I've never formally done a study on this, so I'm curious to find out what my gifts are and how that translates into my life. And no fears, says the questionnaire, no one has all the gifts and everyone has some of the gifts. It also reinforces the idea that no one gift is better than the others. There is a passage in 1 Corinthians 12 that talks about gifts and relates them to body parts. I like this part, "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!' On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor." This passage tamps down my special brand of crazy just a little bit. When you are poor at follow-through, organization and discipline, it's nice to know that you are still needed.

So, these questions were based on a 5 point scale, and it warned to try to avoid answer 3 (sometimes) which we all know is the cop-out answer. I ended up with five of them at about the same score, and I'm just not sure I answered right. One of my gifts is prophecy. Who knew? Not me. I guess I'll figure out exactly what that means tomorrow. I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean that I will be seeing any burning bushes in the dessert or get thrown into a lion's den. Please don't misunderstand -- I am not mocking here. I'm just curious about it, because I surely don't feel like a prophet.

In fact, these tests make me feel so insecure and inadequate that I want to go bury my head under my pillow and not do anything, because I realize I stink at so much! But, I really, really, tried to answer honestly. Some where easy to answer honestly. Take for instance this one: "If your church needs someone to host members of a youth group traveling through the area, do you volunteer first?" This I can answer without hesitation, "No, never!" Yes, I can make people feel welcome who visit church with a handshake and smile, but I know I do not have the gift of hospitality, because that would require people spending the night, which would require me cleaning my house and cooking, and dear readers, do we really need to discuss all that again?

There were more questions that were easy to answer, such as "Do you enjoy working with numbers or data and turning into manageable whatever, shmermer, shmermer..." I didn't even read the rest of those questions and gleefully answered, "never," delighting in the fact that I know God did not give me those particular gifts.

No, the hard questions were ones about helping other people, needy people. Sometimes I feel like helping, and sometimes I don't. I think it really depends on my mood and who they are, but that seems harsh to me and not very Christian at all. And it certainly doesn't seem like the answer a little girl raised to be a Southern lady would think, but that's the honest truth. Sometimes I don't want to deal with needy people. Okay, ouch, I figured that one out.

I also figured out that I don't like to do menial tasks, and I don't like to work without getting credit. Wow, I was being painfully honest, because it sounds like what I found out about myself was this, "Look at me, yeah, me over here! I'll help out with your ministry if I can get a little credit and feel good about myself." Yep, apparently that's the bad part of me. I'll let you know what I find out tomorrow and next week about the good part -- especially if it makes me sound better than the narcissistic, selfish person I sound like right now. Well, at least I should get some points for being honest.

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