On the Myers-Briggs scale, I’m an ISFJ, bordering VERY closely on INFJ. I lurv being surrounded by my deep and beautiful INFJ friends. But ask my bestest, and they’ll tell you—I’m basically an INFJ but have a wee pride complex on being like a pixel different. Womp womp, the things internet quizzes make us feel!
If you aren’t familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality types, take a gander at the two links above and come back!
I’m a firm believer that Solomon had it right: nothing is new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). I’m fascinated by the way humans’ problems time and time again are exactly the same, but are painted, done-up with a new face for a different sphere or generation.
New innovative ways to understand why we are who we are, are great, but we have to hold them at a distance for what they are. They’re a blueprint for what I might look like and how I might feel in certain situations. Helpful! But if I’m not careful enough, I’ll take tense pride in the cool stuff personality tests or other people say about me, and crash hard inside when I fall short.
So we must understand that these words are not the limit, nor the height, of who we can be. And for me this is huge joy, because He who made me is infinite, and my capacity to understand is finite—and that’s more than okay. My love for others, and for life itself, in the end can’t come just from me. But it can pour out beautifully if I’m a vessel for Jesus (2 Timothy 2:20-22).
So let’s talk about labeling, the boxes we put ourselves in. (BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT AND GENUINELY DIFFICULT YO, ESP IN THE INTERNET AGE. HOW MANY BUZZFEED QUIZZES HAVE BEEN ON UR MIND TODAY?)
To put it in a lane directly focused on a Christian walk, this is about actively fighting the futile desire to find all our worth in ourselves, others or things above Christ.
But here’s a word from Tim Challies. A master book-lover and fellow introverted Christian, he picked up NYT bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.
Quiet allowed me to better understand myself. In some ways Cain introduced me to me. I had all kinds of those “Aha!” moments where things I’ve long thought or felt suddenly made sense. It was refreshing. Yet as I progressed through the book, I found it doing something unexpected deep inside. I began to feel a kind of peace with my introversion that may have gone a little too far. Even [my wife] noticed it in me and pointed it out. She noticed that I began to feel justified in fleeing crowds and being by myself. She said I was becoming selfish.
Both introverts and extroverts will face particular temptations to sin. My temptation as an introvert is to run away from people instead of serve people. It is to be selfish instead of giving.
Same, man, same.
The Christian life is a life of self-denial. It is a life of saying, “Even though this may be what I want, duty compels me to do something different.” There are many times when I am to deny my own desires in order to serve others. Even the desire to be alone.
And he underlines it all saying,
I have to be slow to define myself in a-biblical categories,
And I’ve got to agree—what can the world tell me of my insides that my Creator does not give in pure loving wisdom? When I become distracted by all I could be “defined” by in this world, I must remember it’s just some stuff I can be described by.
As Learn Lettering founder Sean McCabe says, you’re TOO awesome—flat out, from being a complex, changing, living human being—to actually be reduced to, say, a social media presence or the sum of what others think of you.
And you too! Because as David sang (probably), as His creation, we are fearfully and wonderfully made (I mean if you believed that, you would sing it right?). We must preach 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to ourselves daily:
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
(emphasis my own)
My personality type, talents and interests say something about me, but not everything. They’re a blueprint for my identity, but they aren’t my identity, my worth, as a sinner redeemed.
I’ve mentioned Challies as an awesome Biblical resource before, but if you want to get serious about some good commentaries and Christian books to read, head over to his blog for constant nuggets of Christ-centered wisdom.
Selfie via my Instagram. For a better look at that bb cloud raindrop necklace, check out my cousin Michelle Loon’s Insta. She’s killer at her custom jewelry design work up in Seattle so check her out!