Looking back on my middle school years, I always felt a bit different. Sometimes I would retreat from social groups. Other times, I’d readily engage in them. I wasn’t an introvert or an extrovert, so I aimlessly floated in a fog of self- questioning. Who was I then? Was I abnormal?
Fortunately, I discovered the term “ambivert” in my late teens and thus found a word that described me. Ambivert is the word to describe that middle ground between an introvert and an extrovert. I learned there was a continuum for personality types and not everyone fell neatly into the opposite ends of the spectrum. I can relate to many personality types due to being in that middle, and consequently, have keen insight for discerning individual clients’ needs.
A huge part of healing takes place through self- acceptance and what better tool and toolmaker to help you on that journey than Christ and His Word? Christ, the carpenter, provides us with a huge box of tools (in His Word) to ensure that we are adequately equipped to build our lives in Him. Be careful, however. If He isn’t the main contractor in our lives, every screw and bolt will come undone.
Later, in my newfound quest as an ambivert, I happened to sit through a sermon that shed further light on the topic of self-esteem. The wise pastor said that the term “self-esteem” needed to be reframed to “Christ-Esteem”. Our esteems and identities are found in Him. All else is sinking sand. That liberated me in a profound way. Not only was I normal in my ambivert status, I also didn’t have to rely on myself to construct a positive self- esteem—a seemingly insurmountable task. What a relief to find that my esteem was found in Christ and His completed work on the cross. The burden was off me, and oh, what freedom I felt. Christ intimately guides each of us differently on our journey. Self –actualization (an older psychology term) is overrated. Christ actualization is life-changing.
In our self-discovery, or better phrased, Christ- within- us, discovery—we learn to love ourselves and others as Christ loves us. “Love Thy neighbor as thyself.” We were wonderfully fashioned in the womb and no two of us were fashioned the same. We don’t have to be packed into sandwich stereotypes, Sloppy- Joe style. Two thirds of people are ambiverts, in that sacred middle where we learn how to love all differences in others; and learn to be patient with their individual growth processes and life paths. We learn that everyone is not like us and they don’t have to be. Vive La Difference!
The process of knowing yourself in Christ, Christ actualization, is a sweet adventure. It’s all part of our sanctification process. Enjoy the journey in Him.