Friday, October 17, 2014

Myers Briggs Personality Excuse

     "But Moses said unto Him, 'Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue." -Exodus 4:10

      I am sure that the majority of you have taken or at least heard of the Myers Briggs personality test, and if you haven't then I'll explain it a bit. It's a very interesting theory of personalities where a single individual has 4 of 8 personality traits. There are 4 categories and 2 results from each category. The first category is likely the one you are most familiar with. In this one you are either introverted (I) or extroverted (E). I'm sure you are aware that this means you're either energized by people (E) or energized by being alone (I). The second one, however, is a little less popular. You are either Intuitive (N) or Sensing (S). If you are intuitive it means when solving a problem, you typically look at the big picture first and pay attention to the details later. Sensing, however, means you pay more attention to detail. The third is Thinking (T) and Feeling (F). This means that wen you're making decisions, if you're a Thinking type, you typically make your decisions based on fact instead of emotion, and Feeling types typically see things in a more personal and emotional light. The last category is Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). Judging means that you typically don't procrastinate and keep things very scheduled, while Perceiving means you're more open to suggestion, and typically keep a flexible schedule.

     This study is one of my favorites and it has really helped me understand the personalities of others around me. However, it can be easy to use your personality as an excuse. How? Well, say you're a thinking type like me, and tend to put logic above emotion. This is typically because the personality with the thinking personality type isn't as emotional and doesn't see emotion as a top priority. Now say you have a really good friend who has had a rough week and you're the only one who can make them feel better, but you decide that because you're a thinking type and don't have a whole lot of emotion, you just won't. You decide that emotions are petty and you can get over them and so should they. Or say you don't want to go to church because you're an introvert and "literally can't". I know it sounds ridiculous but I've heard it before. It's important not to use these things as excuses.

     I'm not saying that people don't have limitations, and I'm not saying that introverts are going to hell because sometimes they need to stay home instead of going to something (other than church or their own wedding or something important like that, obviously). I'm not saying that thinking types are going to hell if they don't know exactly how to respond to their friend who is crying their eyes out, but I am saying that it can be easy to find excuses through our personalities. First of all, this personality thing is really just a theory anyway. It's incomplete and imperfect. Basing your life and your choices on it are as logical as building a house with pasta. 

     I'm not saying that it's wrong to take the test, I'm not saying that it's wrong to be an introvert or an extrovert or anything like that, but what I'm saying is that it can be easy to think that the Myers Briggs defines you. It describes you, yes. However, taking something that describes you and letting it define you is not only unhealthy, but it can cause you more harm than good.  It can cause you to lose friends, it can cause you to despise your friends, and it can cause you to fall short of God's law. 

     But how does one conquer ones obstacles and overcome these things that seem to keep them from God? How does the noisy extrovert keep from spending too much time with his friends and not enough time with God? How does the feeling type learn to not put their emotions first when it comes to important things? Well at the beginning of this article I wrote down Exodus 4:10, but not the very next verse which says, "Then the Lord said to Him, 'Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I the Lord?'" God has given us our abilities and our struggles, and He can help us overcome every single one of them. 

     Today I would like to encourage you all to, instead of seeing what people tell you to see, see the possibilities. See the possibilities of growth. Use the gifts that God has given you to to help further His kingdom. Maybe you're good at talking to people and understanding their emotions, or maybe you're really good at coming up with plans and you can set up a devotional at your house or something, or maybe you're really shy and quiet and can help someone else who is also shy and quiet. I'd like to encourage you to take your strengths and use them, and take your weaknesses to God, and He can help you overcome them. Mostly I'd like to encourage you to not use your personality as an excuse, but as an encouragement to others! God is always willing to help you, and it's important to go to Him with your hard times.