The Woes of wildly artistic types

20 11 2007

  I had a nice talk with Pastor B today- one of the topics touched on was the difference between nice tidy orderly people and wild artistic types.

       In Larry Burkett’s book, “Finding the Career That Fits You,” he describes a sliding scale between concientious and unconventional people.  You can be one, or the other, or somewhere in between.
      “Concientious- People who are highly conscientious are focused on doing things right.  Usually they are detail-oriented and find it easy to follow prescribed guidelines.  Typically they strive for accuracy and quality and, therefore, set high standards for themselves and others.  They function best in structured environments.”
      “Unconventional- People who are highly unconventional are naturally able to be flexible, versatile, and work with broad concepts.  Typically they rely on their instincts, improvise, and operate without written procedures.  They function best in an environment where they can be spontaneous and respond quickly and candidly.”

       Some concientious-type people I know and love: My mom, my dad, Lisa, Pastor Norma.  Some unconventional people: Eric, Carolyn, Coni, and ME!  (Pastor Brian claims to be smack in the middle.)
        It’s a well-documented fact that unconventional people drive conscientious people crazy.  We’re usually late (or early), rather messy, tend to blurt things out, change things at the last minute, get emotional, have new ideas after the process is already started, blow the budget and just generally refuse to stay where we’re put.
        I’m wondering, though, do concientious people know that they can rub us the wrong way, too?  Everybody knows that messy people bother neat people, but do neat people know that their precision and control can irritate us?  Lisa and I have had lots of conversations on this.  One of the reasons I like her so much is she has a sense of humor about her personality.  Unfortunately, I’m a little more defensive about mine!
         Why?  Well, neat = good, right?  Tidy, orderly, precise, disciplined people get good grades, have clean houses, raise well-behaved kids, and just generally set the tone for the rest of us!
         So why did God make me like this?  (One supposes he had a plan and wasn’t taking a coffee break when I was designed.)  (And yes, God drinks coffee.  Who made coffee beans, after all?)  (If I were a concientious person I bet there wouldn’t be so many parentheses in my blog.  Have you seen the T-shirt that says, “I’m  not ADD, I’m just… oh look, cows!”)    (Or turkeys, Carolyn.) 
         I like Larry Burkett’s assertion that all types of characters have strengths and weaknesses.  My strengths, he says, could be things like being independant, confident, pragmatic, quick to respond, versatile, and good at coping with crises.  Those are all good things.  Here’s the bad news: may be disorganized, opinionated, unprepared, overlook details, rebellious, ignore rules, and messy.  Sigh.
        Being in a very structured, ridgid environment seems to bring out my bad side.  I hate sitting still, being lectured, coloring inside the lines, and doing what everyone else is doing.  Church can be very difficult for me.  My mind doesn’t just wander, it runs laps inside my skull.  About eleven forty five I get so restless Neal will punch me in the side with his elbow and hiss, “Why don’t you go check on the baby?” through clenched teeth. 
        I doodle, pass notes, whisper, read my bible, read old stuff in my notebook, sketch people, eat mints out of my bag, write poetry, or pretend I hear nature calling so I can go chat up the ushers in the lobby.  Oh, and I listen to the sermon, too, believe it or not.  It’s just, if the sermon doesn’t come so fast that I have to take notes in shorthand, I get really fidgety.  I used to have to take crochet work with me to lectures in college so I could listen to the professor without vibrating out of my seat!
        I have been in study groups and prayer groups before with people who were very orderly.  When I walk in and the seats are already in place and there’s a napkin, a cup (upside down), a pencil (sharpened), and a place card with a name in calligraphy at every seat, I know I’m in trouble.  The really sad thing is, the orderly person is quite confident that all their preparations are a blessing!  How can the poor woman posibly understand that I’d rather sprawl than sit, rather blurt out ideas than wait my turn, and rather scrawl notes on the back of the place cards than fill in the blanks on her mimeographed answer sheet?
         She makes me feel like I’m wearing a straight-jacket, and I make her feel like the hottentots have stormed the bible study.

          I don’t know what conclusions to draw from this dilemma except this: first of all, God obviously has a sense of humor, and the joke’s on us.  Second, I would not make a good Baptist.  Thirdly, worship should include lots of jumping around and definitely last half the service, in addition to which (for those of us with concentration challenges) milk and butter cookies should be served at the beginning of the fourth quarter.   If the pastors of the church are very concientious, the snack may be served on a silver tray with an embossed napkin, and anyone partaking will have to sign a waiver stating that they will drink with their pinky curled, won’t slurp, and will refrain from dropping crumbs on the sanctuary carpet.
         Yep.  That ought to cover it.





One response

20 11 2007

I am laughing out loud and identifying with your post right now.I knew nothing about ADD in 1977. I was going to AA meetings, trying desperately to sit still and listen. My AA sponsor taught me to crochet and suggested that I bring my yarn and hook to the meetings. She was a genius. It worked wonders. I am still sober! now, whenever…oh look, a chicken.

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