Know Thyself

Know Thyself

June 18, 2014 by

“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” -Doris Mortman

This spring I bought a couple flowering trees to add to our backyard. Shortly after getting them home, the spring rain stopped and our soil became like concrete. Struggling with my shovel, I tried to dig a hole large enough to meet the new saplings’ planting instructions. I struggled and struggled to get it wide enough and deep enough. After the pride of accomplishment diminished the pain of my blisters, my friend mentioned he had a power auger that digs holes quickly and easily. Being a man, I told him: “I actually enjoyed the workout.”

OK, I lied. Sometimes having the right tool makes the job much easier. Even if the final outcome is very similar.

You can’t be an effective church communicator until you understand what makes you tick.

One of the greatest “tools” you’ll utilize is you. Yes, you. You can buy, rent or borrow tools to help you, and you can work with others to help you. But you can’t effectively interact with any other tools until you know yourself. You can’t be an effective church communicator until you understand what makes you tick.

Introspection never hurts anything. Even King David asked God to search him and delve deep within his being (Psalm 139:23) to point out sin and to help him understand his strengths and weaknesses. God forgives our sins and gives guidance to help us compensate for our weaknesses.

Here are three steps to help you become the best tool in your arsenal:

1. Know Your Personality

Whether you believe you’re born with your personality or you’ve been shaped into it, you really need to know yourself. There are many professional diagnostic websites to “figure” you out. Myers-Briggs, StrengthFinder and DiSC are the big three. These eye-opening findings will give you the foundation of what you have to work with. Read everything you can about your personality type. It’ll be intriguing and somewhat scary that it can identify your fears, challenges and strengths. Consider spending quiet time examining biblical characters who have similar personality traits and list how God used them and/or punished them. Learn from these characters! Consider what personality types you work best with and which you find challenging. This information is invaluable for team-building.

2. Know Your Limitations

Every personality has limitations or “negatives.” Note: you can’t do everything. If you think you can, you’re wrong—and should do a Bible study about humbleness too (James 4:6 is a good start). My shovel planted the trees but it sure had limitations when it came to the hard soil! Many times we exert more energy trying to do something alone when all it requires is asking for help from someone with the needed strengths. Allow the Holy Spirit to soften rough parts as you add your limitations to your prayer list.

3. Know What Drives You

We call it “drive time” at our studio. It’s the time of day when we tend to get our best work done. We try not to disturb others during their drive time. Do you know what needs to be protected in your life in order to get the best work out of you? Or do you know additional people/things required around you that would propel you into efficiency? I need clear goals and lots of encouragement while others may need loud music and solitude. Or maybe a venti coffee and a group-think environment. Always know what environment will allow you to be your very best.

Don’t Go It Alone

Once you know yourself, you’ll start getting better results and be able to protect yourself. The only other thing I’d recommend? Discover a close Christian friend who complements your personality and understands it. Be transparent with them, take the tests together and pour into each other’s lives and hold yourselves accountable, to God and each other. Part of knowing yourself is listening to the gentle honesty of a true friend.


We do important work—sharing the gospel—but that doesn’t mean we can work ourselves to death. Learn more about how to fight church communicator burnout.

Photo by Eddy Van 3000
Post By:

Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald is an author, speaker, and strategic communication catalyst with the Florida Baptist Convention. He’s also the author of Be Known For Something. Mark is also the executive director of our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication.
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One Response to “Know Thyself”

  • Dave Shrein
    June 19, 2014

    Mark, this is an excellent breakdown and reminder. As I got deeper into the article I thought to myself, “wow this could be really long,” because the subject is so dense. However, your itemized points are so well crafted and poignant and they cut straight to the heart of the issue.

    I love the concept of drive time. I am going to explore how I can integrate something similar into my team’s work flow.

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