Recently, the members of World Christian Discipleship had the opportunity to take the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) and have a discussion based around the results. For all those interested I am an ENFP (Extroverted, iNtuiting, Feeling, Perceiving). This is the same result that I got when I took the MBTI my junior year of college.
All the MBTI shows are my presences for where I draw energy from (Extraversion); how I gather information (intuiting); how I make judgments (feeling); and how I relate to the outside world (perceiving). For each of these preferences there is a spectrum for how much I prefer each preference (for instance I could be totally extroverted, or mildly introverted, or mostly extroverted. It is not a black-and-white type designation).
My junior year of college I was fairly balanced on all of the categories except for extroversion (I was and am still extremely extroverted). Truth be told I had actually been hoping to change my preferences this time around. I have a hard time valuing the typical characteristics of an ENFP and was hoping that my simpler, more contemplative lifestyle had done a great deal to change what I innately preferred. I wanted to think of myself as calmer, more rational, cooler-headed, and very somber.
To my great distress what I found was that I become more of an ENFP. On each individual spectrum I leaned more toward each individual preference. I was even more of an ENFP than I was before.
I was distraught. Much too my chagrin, it took this test to make me realize that I was hoping that this year made me into someone that I liked better and who I understood to be a more put together person. It took a few hours before I could calm my heart rate and think rationally over what these results meant.
There are several ways I could interpret this information: I could admit defeat in my project to change myself up to this point, dig my heels in, and redouble my efforts to change myself into the person I longed to be. I could discredit the results, call the test a wash, and simply ignore the evidence in front of me, come what may. Or, I could live in to what the MBTI told me, and try to better understand myself better in light of what the MBTI said and what God has been whispering to me this year.
As best I could I chose the latter and what I found was this: Up until the MBTI, I, implicitly, thought that the opportunities WCD has afforded me would help me become the person that I wanted to be. Note how much ‘I’ and ‘me’ are used. WCD has been, for a long time, about my own personal development. And to a large extent it is. But that is not the whole purpose. My own self-cultivation has to be understood in the larger context of gaining a better understanding of what God wants me to be. He has a specific purpose for me, and specific way in which I will accomplish his purposes. If God desires me to be even more of an ENFP to accomplish his purpose in and for my life, I must be even more of an ENFP!
This certainly not an easy conclusion to live into and sit with all things considered. But it is the right one I am sure. Many of my personal insecurities come from a certain spontaneity and restlessness in my personal life. Having to live into them more fully to, hopefully, accomplish God’s purposes is going to take some doing. But, praise God, this is not a journey I have to take all by myself, thanks to the beautiful and compassionate community of WCD!