Seeing God.

I sent Nancy a text: “Getting ready to run.”

She wrote back: “Enjoy the beautiful weather.”

I shook my head. I don’t run for the weather. I don’t run for the enjoyment. I’m six five weeks out from a marathon and enjoying anything while I’m out is almost impossible.

I headed out to run. Sunny with a high of 75. It was cooler than the previous month, and the humidity was lower. But I wasn’t interested in the context, I was focused on the task.

IMG_0998And I remembered, again, that Nancy and I are different.

She loves to be outside. Gardening, walking, sitting on the deck with a cup of coffee.  I love to be writing. Mostly inside. Still with the coffee, but not with the bugs.

In Sacred Pathways: Discover your soul’s path to God, Gary Thomas finds reasons for our differences that go beyond simple indoor / outdoor people contrasts.  He suggests that there may be nine difference spiritual temperaments or personalities types that can explain our differences in connecting with God.

His list includes naturalists, sensates, traditionalists, ascetics, activists, caregivers, enthusiasts, contemplatives, and intellectuals. Nancy is clearly in the naturalist and caregiver areas. She feels more connected to God when she’s outside and when she’s caring for people. And when she’s taking care of her mom’s garden for her dad, that’s a powerful time.

I’m much more of an intellectual and ascetic. Simplicity, study, and quiet are part of my worship. Which is why the Galatians writing is so compelling to me.

One way that Thomas talks about these differences is to point out that a Sunday morning service may be helpful to some for worship, but very unsatisfying for others. Which is why I’m grateful that there are 167 hours in a week outside the hour for Sunday morning services.

Back to the run. I did notice the weather. But I also listened to a podcast that made me think. Because that’s part of my personality. My spiritual personality.


If you are curious, one online version of the instrument is at

3 thoughts on “Seeing God.

  1. Rich Dixon

    Interesting tool. Activist / Caregiver / Intellectual.

    Do we use this to feed our strengths or work on our weaknesses? Are they weaknesses or simply the way God made us?


    1. Jon Swanson

      That’s a really important question.

      i look at them as simply the way God made us, just as I look at strengths in the strengthsfinder that way. For some of us, we’ve spent so much of our lives not measuring up to the way someone else is made that there is great freedom in understanding that this is how God built me to connect with Him.

      On Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 10:56 AM, 300 words a day wrote:



    2. Rich Dixon

      Yep. I fear many folks would run out and try to become better pray-ers or worshippers or whatever.

      I tried to do a prayer retreat once because I thought it was a Godly thing to do. Went camping, got all set up, stared at the river for about 30 minutes. Then I got up, walked to the lodge, and spent the evening talking to the owner and his wife.

      35 years ago I thought I failed. Now I think I had a great conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

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