“Happy Easter”, The Story… prayers that we eventually ‘get it’

So I missed church this morning, I’ll have to go to another church tonight … I missed the repeat of the ritual that happens every year… why do humans repeat, repeat, repeat??? Year in and year out – the same, the same… Dwelling on man’s cruelty in one of the most inhumane, ghastly, revolting and painful forms of execution in our known history… Horrific… and yet, each year people use it to ‘renew’ their strength, ‘renew’ their belief… how solid is your belief in the first place if you have to renew it every year through another’s pain? Human strength – minimal… human memory – so under-developed… human action – such a contradiction to Soul-Will.

We live as these humans, reminding ourselves that we are weak (or pretending that we are not), living the fact that we have poor memories, lazy brains and a minimal ability to commit and be in and of something good, and bigger than ourselves and our little isolated lives, completely, at all times. Every year, for the past 3 years I have attended the Easter services and taken the journey again and again – all left me gutted at the end. Tears, agony, heart-wrenching, soul-wrenching pain within me, every year. I can’t fathom how man can be so very cruel and insecure and unstable. I can’t get my being around the level of hate in people; and subservience to human’s futile power so far as to slowly and brutally kill other people, without justifiable or rational cause or reason. It kills me inside to know humans had to suffer in the way the Romans made them suffer. And still, people sit there in pews each year, watching and listening to the fact and many seem to be completely unmoved; like it’s the most ‘normal’ and expected story out there… I cry. I cry for the unemotional, unfeeling people watching. I cry for my lost soul. I cry for the pain of that human called Jesus, and that I know I cannot even begin to empathise with Him, because nothing I have ever felt or lived through could possibly compare or be linked to the story and/or experiences of Jesus Christ. Nothing. To selflessly put away the human ego, to sacrificially serve something good without harming anyone else or demeaning any others, but instead to ask that they be forgiven… such humility, such Grace, such awesomeness seems so very far away from this life, from my exponential weaknesses, self-pity and self-absorption.

Every time I watch an Easter recount, read the story and/or remember His journey, I ache inside. I ache for the ‘lost-ness’ and fear in man. For the ‘religious’ sects that still practice hurting others to make themselves feel more ‘powerful’ and ‘in control’; as if being humanly ‘powerful’ means anything in the context of eternity. Such insecurity everywhere, such fear, such hurt and pain in the world today; 2000 years ago and all the decades’ in-between. I ache for the ‘lost-ness’ inside myself, the feeling of being helpless to do anything to change men’s hearts and minds to action ‘love’ instead of ‘fear’. To desire companionship instead of control and dictatorship, love instead of hate.

The Easter story is one that takes the deficiencies of humanity and puts them on a pedestal to show the world how capable of practicing absolutely cruelty man is. I hate it. I hate that a group of adult men could be so insecure around one lone man that they would deem it ok to torture him in horrific manners without relief.

We are supposed to have learnt from the story, yet we haven’t. We are told the story year after year, shown that man’s earthly desires cannot effect eternity, that good will win, and love and hope will rise. Yet, Muslims are still torturing others, that sect in middle Africa ‘Barak’ whatever it is, is still causing hell for innocent people, the Middle East is still stoning women to death, Korea is still practicing political executions, xenophobia in Africa, drug dealers, cigarette companies, gangs in most cities around the world, gun-crime, knife-crime, self-hate, soul’s so very lost… it’s all here and flourishing. It’s like this story we have been hearing for almost 2000 years has not meant anything to billions who have heard it. The story that displays everything meaningless in the desire for power, the desire for inequality, the hypocrisy of human belief against human action… all of it… it was so very messed up then, and ,2000 years later, it doesn’t feel like it’s much better… but Thank-You LORD, Thank-You that we are slowly moving to a better place where we at least we have Human Rights and an underlying acknowledgement that we need to start loving each other and stop hating each other… maybe the upcoming generation can see the hell their parents have and are causing; the pain, the hurt and the anguish. Instead of keeping up the generational curse, maybe they can put an end to it; for no good, joy or love comes out of belittling, reducing, demeaning and/or killing others. The only result of pretending you are more ‘powerful’ and/or ‘right’ than others is a spotlight on your own deep, deep fears, hurts, pains, anxieties and your lies – your lies to yourself that you serve something ‘good’, your lies to yourself that you are ‘making the world ‘cleaner’’. Their actions show that they are incredibly scared and insecure and trying to make the insanity of this world their Mecca, the insanity of hate for their ‘god’ their purpose… instead of the love, peace, humility, forgiveness, beauty, patience, respect and glory that eternity placed on a cross.

“Happy Easter” to you and yours {though the ‘happy’ part is so debatable at present}, and to everyone around the world. May we all make a chosen and disserted effort to step out in Love and knowing that we are responsible for using our lives and actions to tell the world who we are and what we want our eternity to be. God Bless.

Jealousy, where’s my fit? Frustration in progress

A VERY long school term will end tomorrow; one that I would prefer to never ever repeat again in my life. The English syllabus is ridiculous. It chases tasks and offers no avenue to actually TEACH English, correct mistakes &/or engage in effective, learning dialogue. The marking is obscene… and on top of it the government throws in these ANA papers that we can’t use, that are not set at the correct level for the grades and that we have to mark … 7 hours overtime for nothing – marks not used and not a cent for wasting my evenings and Sunday on the pointless task. The learners won’t even get to see the papers. Waste of time! Along with this I produced 5 plays and organised the 3 afternoon/evening slots, the gifts and everything for everyone. At least the Deputy attended a performance. She got up at the end of the evening and thanked me… at least someone did that night… The few people I invited to attend all bailed, so it’s not like they could say anything… on top of that, I was organising for the grade 11s to go to a Performing Arts Festival at the University – the one where some students have completely destroyed a decades old statue because they are insecure morons… a statue reminds them of racism that happened 20 years ago… so juvenile… they weren’t even alive for it! I have to deal with the name of bombers and killers as my new street names; and you don’t’ see me painting over that expensive horror…

Anyway, that’s just a bit of context here… why I’ve been moved to type this blog is because on the first day of the Festival I encountered one of the actors. I’d seen his poster around and knew of his shows, but had never seen one before. It was a strange experience… there he was and I was inexplicably drawn to his energy. I had no idea why. He’s not conventionally attractive and I’m one of the biggest advocates of just staying as far away from unknown males as possible… anyway, the energy was there… At the ‘teachers/staff’ tea I asked for an autograph, clichéd, I know, but I had to work around the energy… he obliged and told me that he’d been looking at me this morning and he was sure he knew me from somewhere. We roamed through options, even though I know I’ve never met him before… He may have seen one of my VERY few performances, but those were over a decade ago now… No, no connection.

At lunch we chatted and I heard about his amazing wife and son, and it was lovely. The energy… something about the energy… something the Universe wanted to use him to tell me… but what?

This morning, second and last day of the festival, began with his One Act show. Wow! In so many ways!

The topic of the play hit me – someone who didn’t fit in, who locked themselves away from humanity and all the nastiness that unduly arrived at him from the outside world. How the Universe created a situation where this one man had to step out and brave the world to fulfill a destiny that required friends. . . How so much of my life is alone, and how I related in my core to the character. But that wasn’t it. That wasn’t what the Universe was wanting me to pay attention to. What gutted me slap bam near the end was the ‘perfect match’. The incredible actor before me, who had tried New York, had the degree in Drama, travels the country performing his art, has had to enter into corporate to pay his bills, this incredible actor had been blessed in the way I’ve been dreaming of and praying for for years. He had been gifted with acting talent second to few; and he’d been blessed with the knowing that of his talent, his pleasure, his reason, his love. He was loving living and living loving his doing. From out of school it appears he knew who he was and where he fitted and what he was born to do. Like Romeo longing to be a glove on Juliet’s hand, I would love to have been a glove on the hand of the actor/anyone who fits with who they are. Someone who has found their calling and is living what they love. For just a moment, I would LOVE to know what that feels like. I would love to know the peace and joy of fitting as a perfect match between daily life talent and life purpose.

The man was a chameleon on stage, hopping between accents and characters as he morphed into the body that matched the hat he put on. The transitions were smooth and faultless, no doubt due to months of performing and rehearsing, personal association to the script and a passion and internal energy that left me in awe. I knew he had been tired, like myself, the day before, due to lack of sleep. Being away from his home, most likely the fatigue had grown, yet his performance held an internal energy that seemed to echo an inner joy at being in a perfect match between his job and his way of living. . . an energy I lost to chronic fatigue over two years ago…

I found myself in awe, longing, jealousy and rebooted frustration at myself and my inability to ‘get’ what I’m passionate about. To be blessed with absolute knowing as to what I would love to do, at what I would have limitless energy to do… it was dancing at one time, and a movement class today showed me that the virus and chronic fatigue is still in my blood. I didn’t make the whole class. Teaching, that has been sapped by revolting politics and a move to a subject I have no passion for, along with a teaching staff that moan all day. Writing, that has been sucked up into the realms of some black-hole since I began teaching English. I haven’t even found the passion to market my own book; I just leave it up to Amazon without a second thought. Poetry, I can’t, I end up in tears that everything revolves around my dislike of myself… Scripting, I manage a teaching day and everything else fades away… Painting, put aside, reading, put aside, drawing, put aside. Even my own spiritual development that I was so keen on has faded into overworked. . .

I watched this actor on stage and I know that experience has told me I don’t want ‘that’ life. Yet, what I would love, is that conviction and energy and joy at something. Something; anything. To feel like I fit, like I’m not an alien on a planet that I don’t understand and I can’t relate to. Anything to match a purpose, a talent, with a real-life activity. A way to know where I belong and what I’m supposed to be doing, instead of continual confusion and ‘lost-ness’.

Like Job in the Bible, I moan to God, I complain, I get angry and I’m so frustrated and stuck… and still the reply is “wait”… and I ask: why? Why do I have to wait when it is so clear that this man on stage didn’t? He knew he was born to act, there is no slight spot in my mind that says he wasn’t made to act. He exists where he fits and is fulfilling a purpose he was created for … Yet here I type, lost, unsettled, frustrated and as much at odds with myself as ever I have been before, with nowhere to turn to for help, no-one to guide or mentor me and My God telling me to “Wait”… What/Who in the Universe makes the decision as to who gets to know their purpose and be joyful and who does not? I’m told I have to find it, the power is in my hands, yet I have searched and looked and hunted across continents and have not found comfort in my own soul in this body, on this planet. Right now, after today and watching what talented fulfillment and a perfect fit looks and feels like – amazing!, I know that I’ve still not found what I’m longing for, and the bigger problem is: I don’t know what I’m longing for anymore, because, after all my efforts around the world, I still haven’t found anything that is a lifelong perfect fit for this searching soul :-(

#suchabadspace #frustrated

I know God does not see the point in comparisons as we are all absolutely unique, but in this world, being part of a global ‘one’ – it’s beyond difficult not to compare, especially when purpose is involved… ugh

Earth’s Biggest Problem? People

I awoke this morning to find a text message from a friend asking for prayer for her mom to pass away from her cancer, as her mom is in pain and gasping instead of breathing. So horrible. I replied with a prayer and then sent more for the family.

I couldn’t handle being indoors after that, it felt too claustrophobic, so I took a walk to drop off the DVD I’d hired last night. It was a Pixar DVD where I had no idea that there would be scenes where I would inexplicably cry my heart out. It feels like all the tears that I’d held in for 30 years of my life, because ‘big girls don’t cry’ {and because all crying does is draw attention and sympathy and the feeling like ‘I can’t control myself’ and ‘others are looking down on me’}, have been rushing out over the last 5 years. It Sucks. I’ve absolutely learnt that I am not in control of anything and I hate it. So last night I was in tears without anyone around; and now I’m typing about it with a sense of embarrassment because drawings with voice overs hit my heart so hard. It doesn’t help that I’ve never been so tired before in my life. Moving to teach English has been mental. True stupidity! Minimum of 7 HOURS of marking per weekend! {Hence no more blogging :( } So that’s every one of my Sundays gone, for no overtime or extra pay on my R90 per hour working weekday pay… I couldn’t face the 3 sets piled on my desk waiting to demotivate me, as most learners have listened to NOTHING I have taught them, at 07h30 this morning.

I took the walk to breathe and find something good out there. It was quite something. I found it truly amazing how beautiful a morning is when there are no people involved. No cars with fumes, no drunkards, no-one rushing or pushing or swearing. No-one being irrational. There was space to walk on the pavements, time to wander across main roads, time to take in the trees and flowers and appreciate the sunlight shining on everything. . . Sadly, litter everywhere, urination spots that stink because men urinate wherever they feel like and the homeless loitering as they do because they have nowhere to be. What was destroying the amazing picture? People.

On the Wednesday evening before this Sunday, I went to a public interview with a presenter questioning a guy called Davy du Plessis. Davy survived a shot gun shooting in the Amazon and miraculously lived to tell the tale with a bullet stuck in his heart after 24 hours without medical care. Davy, however, doesn’t view his survival as an ‘Act of God’, he believes it was his own mental power that helped strangers find him in the middle of the Amazon Jungle, that stopped the bullets from being a fraction of a millimetre too high or low from his main heart artery, and he believes it was his mental power that stopped him from bleeding out with regards to his 4 shotgun wounds: face, heart and thigh. I was horrified at his lack of gratitude in surviving, his lack of emotion in surviving and his blasé attitude over the whole thing. Why? Because I view the perfect timing and spacing of everything as a miracle and that is nothing like he believes it, he believes it to be due to his mind power. Now, having survived his ordeal, he is venturing to take a pedal boat from Cape Town to Rio, South America. Why is he doing this? Because humanity is extinguishing 35 species a day on planet earth. Once again, the problem: People. Davy is consumed by the desire to do something to help the planet, so he’s pedaling across the ocean. Once done, I assume he’ll write another book and use paper to print it on. I assume he’ll be getting on flights to spread the word by using petrol, and he’ll be paid for presenting motivational speeches to people who are natural-born consumers… and the cycle (no pun intended) of self-destruction continues as humanity makes flora and fauna extinct without batting an eyelid.

On my walk, I gathered that the people living in cities aren’t aware of the mass extinction that we are the direct cause of. They have vomited in the streets, released feces, urinated, left cans, alcohol bottles, plastic, polystyrene, and numerous other forms of litter everywhere. . . My question is: do such people deserve to continue being stewards of such a beautiful planet? Do we deserve to be here around the luxury of nature as we destroy it?

My answer: No.

The Eve of my 35th birthday – Valentine’s Day, Status: Single.

Wow, who would’ve thought? Here I sit on my last evening of being 34, in the dark both literally and figuratively. Eskom has cut the power again, they chose not to follow the maintenance plan presented to them 20 years ago when everything had to be handed over to the then ‘new’ government and now, here we are: In the dark more than once a week thanks to incompetence and an inability to be proactive and have any foresight whatsoever. . . 20 years ago. I wonder what the me of 20 years ago would think of the me today? Would I match up to what she dreamt of? What she wished for? I’m not sure… Would she have kept herself alive if she’d known what she would have to live through, in all honesty?

I sit here, in my flat, alone, with the song by Parletones: “This song is forever, even if you’re rich, even if you’re poor, every breath you breathe, I’ll be there for you” being played live from the Botanical Gardens. . . absolutely nothing near my truth or experience, but at least someone in the band has had the privilege of experiencing such a place of love, I guess. Yet, if I think back, it seems I created my lost space and aloneness from a very young age. At 11 years old, I distinctly remember having an awesome class teacher and I wanted to be like her, she didn’t wear a ring, so I thought she was a spinster and in my autobiography, where I had to write ‘my plans for the future’, I wrote that I’d like to be a spinster. Here’s the catch though, I found out years later that she wasn’t a spinster at all. So my ignorance signed and sealed my destiny, for I’ve been told that what you write down becomes your truth and future. So, that would make this all aloneness my own fault.

Still, there’s another catch in this story, because I know that even the little girl I was 20 years ago would have told anyone that she wanted to ‘follow God’s plan’ and she knew she would be ok, whatever happened. So that begs the questions: “Is my aloneness God’s plan for me too?” “Was He aware of my mistake so many years ago, did He orchestrate that I would create this fate?”

We had family photographs today and my sisters and their husbands with babies had their new family photos. Cousin and her little ones. Aunt and Uncle. Gran and the other 3 generations… me… I got a profile shot, and ones with sisters and niece and nephew. I wasn’t left out, I had a place: Aunty. Indeed, a special place and an important place, especially as I’m Godmother for both as well. Aunty. Would me 20 years ago ever have put me as Aunty? I don’t think so. I’m not sure a 15 year old’s brain can compute her younger siblings being mothers and herself not, but this is how the story unfolded.

Maybe me 20 years ago would be proud of me for writing a book, acting overseas, travelling to wonderful countries, achieving excellence academically and being closer to God than I ever expected. Or, would I be disappointed that I’ve never been asked on a proper-all-the-trimmings date? Would I feel self-pity and compound my insecurities and unattractiveness even more, without having the proof that I now have? Would being a low-earning teacher disappoint me? Would my inability to fit in with ‘corporates’, with ‘trendy people’, with ‘best friends’, with ‘church-goers’ and ‘all the other stereotypical groups one can think of’, leave me heart-broken that my hope of belonging somewhere and feeling like I belonged was still not the case 20 years down the line, with the evidence in hand? If I had known that following a path of faith and following my inner-knowing would lead me to be so isolated, would I have kept myself alive with the awareness that I would have over 20 years ahead of me filled with more struggles to get up the morning, more use of prayer as my lifeline, more dependency on the belief in a power that would still leave me alone 20 years later?

I have to look at my character here… and that makes the answer: Yes. Yes I’m sure I would have embarked on the journey again anyway, because that’s what God has asked me to do. Yes, I would have carried on, prepared to live through 20 years of trauma, from seeing a man die, hearing a mother screaming at her son’s corpse, being stranded in a country where no-one speaks English with my passport confiscated, in a hospital with no-one speaking English, in a classroom with boys throwing chairs at each other, in family confrontations that ripped my soul out and spat it on the floor, years with chronic fatigue, having my body health reduced to take away my dancing, funerals, nastiness from individuals that my sensitivity reeled in for years after, insecurities that were taught to me and imbedded in me from young… all of it, God called me to all of it. Every tear, every heartache, every illness, silly me would still have said, “I will do it all Lord, if it is Your Will.” So many tears… such isolation and this blasted part of me that continually tells me that there is a purpose to it, that there is a reason for everything, that there is truth in scripture, and truth in following the way of Jesus.

Even though young me would have continued the journey, right now old me is asking her not to. Asking her to take a different route, an easier route… but that is futile, for I know within me, more than anything else that I know, that any route other than God’s is meaningless; that my soul simply would not be able, could never, take a route that has a dead-end in meaninglessness and lack of Soul Upliftment. Soul Upliftment is only achieved through choosing to see the good and do the good, no matter what and no matter how hard: you have to be the goodness, live truth and choose light, otherwise nothing within will grow to be better, stronger and more enlightened…what other meaningful purpose can there be?

So why would I ask young me not to do this? Because it is so hard, and it feels like it is only getting harder. I have learners in my grade 12 group now who are more immature, selfish, inconsiderate, apathetic, self-absorbed, disrespectful and ungrateful than any other learners I have ever encountered overseas or in my South African classrooms over a 7 year span. Two of them are even teenage mothers and they still have not chosen to behave like adults! They have spent over 2 years draining my energy and instilling in me a hate that disturbs me more than anything I have ever experienced before. It is frightening that 2 of said human beings can be so monstrous that they poison everything in their presence. I don’t want young me to grow up and have to live day to day dealing with what I’m dealing with at work, with no escape, with God not opening a window or a way out.

Then there is no release for what that poor girl must live through. She will come home to an empty flat with no-one to tell her frustration to, no-one to pray with her through the hatred she has been poisoned with. No-one to help with shopping, ironing, cleaning, cooking, maintaining vehicles and/or her property. No-one to help or console her when all the nastiness outside of work and in the world drives it’s fist into her stomach; and her battle to stay balanced, find peace and gather energy is by way of daily pleads in every prayer…

That poor girl, I don’t want her to have to live with the knowing that, at 35, she still won’t connect with any other soul, mutually, at a complete level of knowing that knowing is shared, that intrinsic desire to live in love is matched without doubt or insecurity. She will be stuck with tears at her aloneness, and fighting with her own insecurities and irrationalities too, struggling with the self-doubt so many have fed in her for so many years. She will have so much to cope with and deal with and then she’ll get to 35 and be even more lost and without answers to any of her questions, unless she goes deeper within herself, which she is too scared to do, because those trips always ask for more sacrifice and more hurt. She won’t know the whys? She won’t know the what next? What’s left? Why? How she will get out of the rut when God still tells her to “Wait” and she has no idea what she is waiting for or why. She will be living with frustration beyond her worst thoughts, and be stuck in a way that is so inexplicable when she looks at all her talents that she will be sitting in an agony of such drained patience and feelings of God’s cruelty that she will not see the point of living any longer… she will have no sight of any decent future or hope for anything better and still, somehow, someway, she will still have to find a way, pray harder, pray more, to be able to get out of bed the next day… and the next and the next, breathing on hope whilst crying for death.

I wish that little girl would end this story before it begins, but I know she won’t. I know she is a sucker for punishment and even though she knows that when she steps out of her flat into a world FULL of people who, even if they give out a Valentine’s card, have NO IDEA what unconditional love is, have NO IDEA how to practice unconditional-giving, honest-open-conversation, pretences-off-ears-open-listening, faith and all things good; people who are zombies, repeating the same practices over and over and over again… in their lifetime – 100s of rugby games, 100s of quarts of beer, 100s of braais, 100s of trips to shopping malls, 1000s of trips to grocery stores, 100s of passes by beggars… and maybe never ever in their whole lives will they have even one heart to heart conversation with their Creator, or offer themselves in sacrifice to something other than themselves – that little girl will still persevere and serve.

I want to shake her, ask her to find another way, find employment that will provide income that doesn’t involve penny-counting, find a way to make life easier, find a way to get addicted to something to take her mind and self off of the pain and selfishness in the world, the world that she can’t fix…

But, that little girl knows, even at 35, there is no other way, it must be what it must be, even if it involves an aloneness that haunts her soul, tears that wet her pillow and fatigue that makes everything so much more difficult; the days must be lived and something must be achieved, until God says: “Thank-You My Child, you may come home now…”

Happy birthday to me, lost, unsure, stuck, insecure, emotional and menstrual cycled me… reminding myself that today I am one day closer to the turning point, one day closer to going home and that I have one more day behind me that can be put to rest… Happy birthday to me… night night.

What’s your Natural Temperament?

The Four Temperaments of personality have been developed from 3000 odd years ago where Proverbs is noted to say that the wise man saw four kinds of people (30v11-14). Personally, I’m not convinced of the relativity of the verse to the temperaments. Nevertheless, after this, research claims that Hippocrates gave the temperaments their names and then in 200AD Galen, a Greek doctor, wrote a list of strengths and weaknesses to go with each temperament.

After Galen there was Freud and his spin, then the Norwegian theologian Ole Hallesby threw in a different take and then Tim LaHaye developed Hallesby’s concepts to create what he called the ‘blend’s of temperaments. In other words, no-one only fits with one temperament. We all possess varying degrees of 2, 3 or all of the temperaments. Then, of course, there are the effects of ill health, parents, background, upbringing, educational level, varying faith-approaches and the like. In other words, it’s no exact science. It’s merely a way for human beings to understand themselves, each other and why they do things the way they do. The temperament approach works by way of category, because people love categories, they prefer being able to put something in a box. The truth is though, and I don’t expect anyone to believe me, that there are no boxes at all. No one is the same as anyone else, that’s impossible. Overall, it would appear, people seldom seem to be able to accept everyone’s uniqueness; they want boxes, comparatives, reasons, logic, explanation and the like. Yet, in the right light and context, these temperaments work well as a means to help a person discover things about themselves in a society that has taken them away from knowing themselves and the fact that they are amazing human beings made to do great things, no matter their inborn temperament.

Starting with Smilely Sanguine, as I call him/her: warm, lively and fun-loving. Lives in the now and bases decisions on feelings. Has the ability to keep conversation flowing and is an excellent story-teller, which often makes them the light of the party. Sanguines have the ability to make others feel special, whilst in their company that is. A Sanguine is energised by people, though openly sincere, s/he often speaks without thinking. They are erratic and have no interest in detail or being an accountant, for example, as numbers wouldn’t satisfy their cheerful nature, natural charisma and desire to work with people.

Their strength is that they enjoy life and wake-up to the day in a lively mood. They aren’t weighed down by the past and are naturally optimistic. They are also friendly and compassionate. After taking these points into consideration, their weaknesses are understandable. They have a restlessness about them which does not make them very good students, as they can be impractical and disorganised, which echoes their mental restlessness too, which leads on to their weak-wills. Often the façade of a dynamic personality covers the weakness of their character and hidden desire for approval from others. I think of the Death of a Salesman plot and also of how the American footballer with all his charisma and ‘the most likely to succeed’ yearbook quote, doesn’t succeed.

Sanguines are good at starting things, but not at finishing them. They usually cannot be depended upon to keep a time-schedule or meet deadlines. Still ,their egos have been buffed by the reception their charisma gets from others which creates emotional instability and a lack of loyalty in their character. In linking this temperament to love and marriage, Sanguines have the greatest problem with lust. They’re ‘touchers’ with charisma and charm and a lack of will to turn down a temptation. Their ability to live in the present makes them focus on the now and the temptation, and not on their family at home. From youth, in order to gain control of their flaws, they are advised to learn self-control, experience suffering to learn empathy and the damage they could do and step towards faith, peace and goodness.

Then there’s: Commanding Choleric. Cholerics are generally seen as active, quick, practical and strong-willed in temperament. They are self-sufficient and incredibly independent, decisive and opinionated within their keen minds. They will often make other’s decisions for them. A choleric will stimulate his/her environment with plans, ideas and ambitions, as s/he believes that life is activity. Your Cholerics will be the ones crusading against social injustices, with no inkling of fear towards any adversaries; s/he will land on his/her feet all the time. Once the goal is set, it will be accomplished, no matter what. Neatness and details, however, are not their forte. They will assign someone else to take care of the finances.

The emotional aspect of this temperament is the least developed of the four and tears around Cholerics may cause embarrassment and/or disgust. They offer little compassion at all, thus love is not high on their priority list. Hence, one can devise that the strengths of the Cholerics are their strong-wills, their ability to be practical, their natural-born leadership traits, their take charge ability and their dedicated optimism in their adventurous nature and unshakeable confidence.

Following on from this their weakness appear, their hot-tempers, with a great deal of anger, their cruelty at putting others down and simply running over other’s feelings. Cholerics are advised to learn morals from a young age, before their strength of will takes a downward direction towards criminal activity, dictatorship and/or cruel leadership. Their impetuous nature means that even if a project is something they regret they will finish it to save their pride as they maintain their stubbornness. They need to be aware that their cruel, blunt and sarcastic statements are often very hurtful to others; and that their independence may move towards complete self-sufficiency, where: “they don’t need God”, they don’t “need” anyone. With regards to love and marriage, love is not their priority, they do not apologize or show approval and some even beat their spouses into submission. Cholerics give and get ulcers. They carry a grudge and are often revengeful in their “A-type personality”. Parents are advised to develop their Choleric child’s ability to love, find joy, practice peace, gentleness, meekness and goodness, along with suffering, to learn empathy. A challenging temperament indeed.

Thirdly: Moody Melancholies are often referred to as the “dark” temperaments, and are genuinely the ‘richest’ of all four. They are analytical, self-sacrificing, gifted perfectionists with an extremely sensitive emotional nature. Of all the temperaments, they enjoy the arts the most. By nature they are introverted, and due to the predominance of feelings, very moody: from extrovertish to gloomy, depressed, withdrawn and antagonistic. They battle to make friends as they are suspicious of others, but once made, they are loyal, dependable and faithful, their perfectionist nature does not allow them to be otherwise. They possess an intensely strong desire to be loved by others. They often find their greatest meaning in life through great personal sacrifice. They are thorough and persistent and the most likely to accomplish great good with their high IQ’s, high level of creativity and capability to produce high-quality work. Melancholies pay attention to the details; they keep logs and work within their legalistic nature. They are excellent with budgets and balancing books. They are also naturals at growing things and natural at creating things too. Think of Beethoven, Van Gogh, Mozart and Wagner. Great mood creates great art, followed by severe depression.

For their strengths, you can say they are sensitive, creative and naturally gifted. Their standard of excellence usually exceeds any others. They will always want to analyse what was done and do better the next time. They are realistic and see the potential problems in any plan presented to them. They are faithful friends and would lay down their lives if required in their usual self-sacrificial manner. They prefer to be behind the scenes in the tasks of life and have a wonderful capacity to know their limitations and not take on more than they can handle and complete. On the flip-side, their weaknesses show them to be self-centred, which may lead to hypochondria. Constant self-examination paralyses their will and energy which can be harmful to them. This self-centredness can ruin their lives when compounded by their sensitive nature as they are easily insulted and/or offended. Melancholies carry their feelings on their sleeves. This follows on to reinforce their suspicious natures, that those hushed whispers are “about them”. If not observed, then this can lead to a persecution complex.

Melancholics are pessimistic. Their perfectionism and constant state of analysis sets them up for this. They see the end of a project, but also all the problems along the way that will have to be surmounted and the mental, and often magnified, problems outweigh the effort /end product in their minds. They have been ‘disappointed so many times’ that they doubt the end result will be as good as promised anyway. Sadly, Melancholies walk in self-pity with their pessimistic outlook that makes them fearful and indecisive. They don’t want to fall short of their high-standards or be the butt of other’s criticism. They are the most critical of all the temperaments with their unrealistic expectations. They’re also revengeful, if quiet and calm on the surface, the criticisms of others can create anger, hatred and/or animosity in their actions and they may harbour those grudges for years. It is an unforgiving, revengeful spirit that can outweigh their brilliant deductive ability and cause them to make prejudiced decisions.

If we look at the love and marriage context, these are your bachelors and spinsters. Many have ruined good marriages because their partners only matched up to about 92% of their expectations. Melancholies amplify and focus on the bad, not the good. The criticism, if not said, can be expressed through a haughty manner conveying that others do not meet their standards, and they are just as critical of themselves too. Thus, they have little joy in their lives. Melancholies in general battle to take the “fatal plunge” into marriage. Instead they ‘idealise’ from a distance, then, in relationship discover the other to have too many weaknesses. Often they truly love others, but will not enter wedlock, purely because of the other’s weaknesses. I quote Dr Hallesby: “A great many men are unmarried simply because they are Melancholic. They themselves may think that they are Melancholy because they are bachelors.” Yet they are bachelors, because they are melancholy. To quote LaHaye: “Many unmarried women will admit that they’ve had a number of marriage offers; it’s just that “Mr Perfect never came along”.

With regards to Melancholy youth: Work on exercises of love, learning to be joyful and thankful, finding peace, goodness, faith and self-control to get out of those depressions.

The final temperament: Funny Phlegmatic. We’re looking at a calm, cool, slow, easy-going, well-balanced temperament here. No matter what’s going on, Phlegmatics usually won’t react unless they hit boiling point, as their emotions are always kept under control. They are the consistent, unchanging type. They seldom lack friends as they have a naturally dry sense of humour that others enjoy, whilst the Phlegmatic him/herself doesn’t even crack a smile. Their personal joy is to imitate and ridicule others. They are usually annoyed by the restless Sanguine, disgusted by the gloom of Melancholy and throw ice water on Choleric’s plans. They tend to be spectators of life and try not to get involved. They are seldom motivated beyond their daily routine. Yet, if aroused to action, the Phlegmatic can be seen as highly competent and efficient as ‘reluctant’ leaders. They are big on waiting, which means they may often wait their lives away and not go for their desires. They are natural peacemakers and have helped many others fulfill dreams, if not helped themselves achieve their own. They are perfect for activities that need daily routine and meticulous patience. Thus they are accurate bookkeepers and able to keep everything monetary precisely balanced.

As far as strengths are concerned, Phlegmatics are very witty and don’t get involved in other’s business. They seem to have an inborn sense of comic timing that works with their imaginations to make them great stand-up comics. They are dependable, in fact dependability-personified, whilst being cheerful and good-natured; they will always do what is expected of them. Their slow easy-going nature makes them fantastic listeners. They also have the ability to keep from identifying themselves in the person they are listening to, thus not taking on the speaker’s emotions or depressions, which makes them objective counsellors. They work very well under pressure where other temperaments might ‘crack’. They are also efficient, practical, neat and well organised. Phlegmatics, although not perfectionists, have high standards with regards to precision and accuracy, they find this approach saves them time in the long run.

Then, lastly, their weaknesses. Even though they are likable by nature, they have a slow and lazy approach to everything, which is enhanced if they believe they are being stimulated to take action against their will. They are inclined to do as little as necessary. In being annoyed by the other temperaments, the Phlegmatics are prone to tease those who annoy them or threaten to motivate them. They will use their ability to tease to get others angry and stirred up next to their calm. They also have a prominent selfishly stubborn streak. Their selfishness extends through the spheres of money, effort and sometimes emotions too. In another light, they can be seen as stingy. They are also indecisive. With their practical and analytical ability they can usually find a better way to do something, but it happens SLOWLY. The love-marriage challenge here is that even if they love someone, they rarely let the other person know it. They are opposed to work and marriage takes work. They prefer to conserve their energies for what they feel like. Their stubbornness gets worse with age, yet they will never stamp their feet, instead they will smile and graciously not do what has been asked. Even so, they do want to be people pleasers but second guess themselves into believing they will offend if they do or say anything, so they won’t, which suits them, because they don’t like ‘getting involved’.

In guiding a Phlegmatic youth, lessons in love, goodness, meekness, faith and motivational self-control are imperative.

Of course, as per LaHaye, many people are blends of these temperaments. Through self-reflection one would be able to discover their personal blend. Even so, facing and applying these points objectively, even for one temperament, is very difficult for many people as they don’t like to see and know the truth about themselves.

Adapted from the book “Spirit-Controlled Temperament” by Tim LaHaye