“You took another personality profile??” On a recent Saturday morning I participated via Zoom with several others—some as far away as New Zealand—in a discussion about personality strengths and weaknesses, natural tendencies “under fire,” etc. In fact, every January before writing a word in my new journal, on the back page I paste a copy of the results of my profiles such as Strengths Finders, Your Personality and Your Spiritual Life, Myers-Briggs and one or two others. (In case you’re curious, I’m ISTJ!)
This practice and the occasional review isn’t useless “naval gazing,” an attempt to anoint my soul with soothing human oil when reviewing my strengths and gifts nor a self-administered sackcloth and ashes outpouring when my weaknesses surface, but more the opening of the gate for the Holy Spirit to thoroughly, practically look deep within, to cry out with David: Search me, O God. Know my heart (Psalm 139:1).
In this age of “I am woman, hear me roar,”* and the preponderance of narcissistic behavior, I need time for a deep inspection and cleansing. A time to discern when to whisper and when to roar. When politics shout to storm the gates, I need wisdom to know when to march with bold signs and when to lament in quiet prayer.
Here’s a caution especially for younger readers but not limited to those bright young souls. When you examine the results of your own personality indicators, don’t disregard the traits that make you squirm. Don’t blithely announce It’s just the way I am or I blame my parents/background/culture. “Walking in the light” as prescribed by the Apostle John (1 John 1:7) means being increasingly aware of tendencies that draw us away from Jesus and others, honestly acknowledging them and asking for God’s help for growth. What in younger years could perhaps be excused as mere weaknesses, annoying reactions, or even easily ignored habits, as we age these same traits easily grow into cemented barriers to personal growth and hindrances to healthy relationships.
If you’re older and in the habit of saying, I’m too old to change, don’t ignore what the Apostle Paul wrote near the end of his life: One thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Or as paraphrased by J.B. Phillips: I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me… I concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honor of being called by God in Christ (Philippians 4:12-14).
So yes…I enjoyed my Saturday morning journey, retracing the way God made me and asking for wisdom and discernment for change. The process was fun, some of what I discovered simply affirmed what I already knew, and some caused me to cry out in repentance and experience the joy of forgiveness. Try it. You might like it.