The picture above is my uncle, Mike, and me at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Since he is only two years older, we grew up together more like cousins than uncle and niece. He was my first friend and, for the first eleven or twelve years of my life, we were practically inseparable. Climbing trees, blanket forts, running through the fields, conspiring and inventing all kinds of mischief…those were the days. 🙂
One particular memory I have is the time we decided to dig a hole/tunnel all the way to Hell and beat up the devil. I think we dug about three feet before we chickened out. I can’t remember what my grandmother said about the hole in her yard but I can imagine God chuckling at our innocence. That memory says volumes about how we were hard wired, and that same awareness of spiritual warfare remains with us today. (Though we have obviously learned a few things since then lol)
Our personalities are complicated things. We were all “hard wired” by God with unique personalities and tendencies meant to be used for His service and glory.
The other day Mike shot me a text asking if I had ever taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test. I vaguely recalled having done so years ago but couldn’t remember my result. I decided to take it again. After taking the test several times using a few different sources, the result was the same each time. I am an INTP. Mike is an INFJ.
You can shrug off the test and think it doesn’t matter, but I must tell you it has helped me tremendously. First, take a look at a broad explanation of what it means to have the INTP personality type.
This next meme is so me! Ha ha…
The jist is: INTPs make decisions based on logic, not emotion. Truth and knowledge are of the utmost importance. If I don’t get mentally side-tracked, I may revisit this type more. The point of this post is not to discuss specific types, but personality in general.
Learning my type brought a sense of relief. Though not the rarest type, INTP types do make up less than 3-5% of the globe. (INFJ is the rarest.) But even so, to be a FEMALE INTP is even odder among the odd balls. This explains so much! My entire life I have been called weird, ditzy, scatterbrained, hateful and cold hearted ….and that was mostly family! I’ve also been told that I ask questions no one can answer and contemplate ideas that do not matter. This level of criticism left me confused, depressed and even more critical of myself. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I get my act together and stay out of my head and focus on the real world around me? Why this need to know things no one else cares about? This internal conflict was made even more intense by the fact that, as an INTP, I struggle with understanding emotions: Others’ as well as my own. Emotions, particularly negative emotions, are a waste of time and energy and are rarely helpful. So, I hope you can see how discovering my personality type was such a relief.
We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. When God knit us together in our mothers’ wombs, He touched each of us with a base personality meant to be used in His service and for His glory. While we are all unique, it is apparent there are characteristics which many people share. For example, some are extroverted and outgoing. Others are introverted and reserved. Some are bold. Some are shy. Some are athletic and nimble, others are intellectual acrobats. You get the point.
However, our personalities are not robotic and inflexible. While God has installed in us particular gifts and attributes, other factors affect our personalities as well. Life experiences and personal choices also shape and mold our personalities.
Until recently, I struggled with self-doubt, confusion and restlessness. This is because I was trying to suppress my original hard-wired, God-given personality. I was competing against societal norms, even among my Christian community, and trying to conform to what is unnatural for me. The MBTI test showed me that, while my type may be “rare”, it isn’t unheard of and I’m excited to see how God will work in my life now that I am no longer unknowingly fighting against Him.
Let me make something clear, when I said I was trying to conform to what is unnatural to me, I was not referring to the natural sinful state of man. We are all naturally sinful in need of a Savior. I am not suggesting we all behave as what comes naturally to us. No. No. No!
God has endowed each of us with certain characteristics that He can use for His purposes. When we are born again and walk in the Spirit, He can wash away all the negative factors that manipulated our God-given personality and make ALL things new and use it for our good.
So go. Embrace your talents and oddities. Allow God to weed out the fleshly and worldly manipulations and show you how before you were born He had a plan for you.