Personality Test

 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

                                    Galatians 1:10

 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

                                    2 Timothy 1:7

 

I shared a couple of devotionals ago my penchant for personality tests and identifying who they say I am, and then applying those insights to improve or inform my daily life and emotional growth.

 

One of the more meaningful tests I’ve taken was the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Early on in my career, our HR and Learning & Development departments did workshops using it, and would provide career counseling for employees to get into the areas for which they were best suited.

 

As I stated before, I am an ISFJ(Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. Read more of it here.) This website calls my type a Defender. Here’s a little description of my type:

Though sensitive, Defenders have excellent analytical abilities; though reserved, they have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships; and though they are generally a conservative type, Defenders are often receptive to change and new ideas.

 

Two quintessential pop culture examples that describe an ISFJ: an eCard that states “Locking your car doors at a light because someone on the corner looks shady or crazy…and then worrying that they heard the doors lock and you are hurting their feelings.” And from the Lord of the Rings: Sam’s character to Frodo’s, while they are on the way to Mordor: “I can’t carry it [the ring] for you, but I can carry you.”

To be fair, there are quite a few weaknesses that we Defenders have. A few of them include taking things too personally, overloading themselves, repressing their feelings, and many more. A couple of personal ones for me would be the need for peace (in the face of immediate conflict) which is influenced by a compelling desire to please people and be liked by people. There it is, Laura in a nutshell: a people-pleasing peacemaker. As I’ve shared with a number of you when it comes to the perception that there might be conflict or consternation: I’d rather crawl on cut glass and pour lemon juice on my wounds before I’d do anything that would make someone feel put out, uncomfortable, or resentful.

 

Now it’s at this point where some of you are probably scratching your heads, because you’ve seen me interact with some dear folks in Sunday school or at our Prayer Group where I’ve challenged statements they have made, or you’re my fellow Sunday School class members who have seen me whip out my handy dandy portable soapbox and pontificate on key issues like faith, legalism, and other things. The Laura I’ve drawn in the paragraphs above may conflict with the Laura you’ve interacted with. At times I can let fear rule me, and at other times, fear doesn’t dare rear its silly head. What can I say? I’m a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

 

As of late, what the Lord is showing me, in various interactions and object lessons too numerous to count, is that those times in which I try to do things in my own strength and intellect, outside the aegis of the Lord—that’s when the need to be liked, the need for there not be conflict run rampant. He’s showing me that it’s those situations that I’ve allowed fear to drive decisions and actions.

 

But when I walk in those gifts Paul tells Timothy about—gifts of power, love, and of a sound mind—fear is not given the opportunity to intrude, because these gifts are from Him. When I seek and act in His will, and operate in His gifts, I am emboldened and free, and I glorify Him. Because my focus is on Him, I don’t have to worry about what others will think or how they will act. All that matters is Him.

 

By extension, then, we as the church are faced with the same opportunity. When we are prayerful about His will for our church—when we seek to know His will and then to be obedient to it, He is faithful to provide, and He will be glorified throughout.

 

Prayer Requests

  • For Pastor Ray and April, for all they do for our church
  • For the leaders within the church—those currently on Session, active in committees and teams
  • For unity in His purpose
  • For those facing wave after wave of challenge and despair—you are not alone and you will not be pulled under.

 

Fear has no place in His church. It is not from the Lord. May the Church walk in the gifts of His power, love, and soundness of mind.

Quotes

 

““Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I will find peace.” Spirit says, “Find peace and everything will fall into place.””

 

“Every day of your life has already been written in God’s book, and the good news is that your book ends in victory.”