I am obsessed with personality tests. I love to analyze, and to understand fully why people act the way they do. In short, I like everything to be put into its rightful box.
My favourite type of test that I’ve found is called the Myers-Briggs test. It measures each person on 4 traits, with two levels each, giving a possible 16 types. When you read the description for your type, too, it’s as if it’s reading your mind. It’s a little freaky, and so addicting.
Now here’s how it works:
Extroverted vs Introverted:
Are you an external or an internal processor? When you have a problem, do you need to go to your room and think it over, or do you need to talk about it with your friends? Do you get energy from large groups of people, or do you tend to refuel when you’re on your own or with a couple close friends?
Sensing vs iNtuition
Do you tend to stick to tradition and the rules, or do they frustrate and confine you? “S”-types tend to be detail-oriented, and focus on already proved methods for pretty much everything. They are less likely to take a risk on something new when it’s always been done another way. “N”-types, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. To the N, the world is full of new possibilities and opportunities that no one has ever tried. They tend to be more big-picture, focus on the principle of the matter rather than the individual parts that make up a story, experience, object, anything like that. Ss tend to like to do things with their hands, and Ns tend to be able to pick up on things after being shown or having it explained, and don’t necessarily have to be as “hands-on” with learning. When telling stories, Ns can tend to seem to go all over the place in thier storytelling, whereas Ss tend to be more methodical and go from the beginning to end, and not jump around quite as much. Again, difference between details and big picture.
Thinking vs Feeling
Which do you value higher: Justice, or mercy? When you’re making a decision, do you look at it logically, or do you focus more on how it will impact the people around you? Thinking-types tend to focus on the logic of the situation, and take emotions into consideration, but really just as another variable in the equation. Feeling-types, on the other hand, are likely to make their decisions based mainly on how they will impact the people around them, even if they are more inefficient or doesn’t make as much sense monetary-wise.
Thinking-types value efficiency, and feeling-types value emotions. That’s pretty much how it sums up.
Judging vs Perceiving
Do you like to have a plan, or do you like to go with the moment? Do you tend to worry about the future, or stick mainly in the now, an “each day has enough worry of its own” type of person? Judging-types tend to be very future-oriented, while perceiving-types tend to focus more on what is happening now and don’t naturally consider the future as much as J types.
Living as an ENTJ Christian
I am an ENTJ. I’m an external processer, see the big picture behind everything, value logic over emotion, and tend to focus on the future rather than the now. I’m very low on both E and J, but high on N and T.
Only 1% of females are ENTJs. To give you an idea of the family I grew up in, my sister is an ESFP. So polar opposites. ENTJ types are natural leaders, and some people who share the same type as me in history are Maggie Thatcher, Winston Churchill, and, unfortunately, Hitler.
I want to point out that I think Jesus was completely neutral when it comes to these types. I think he scored around a 0 on everything, because he was perfect. See, we all have something to learn from other types—there’s no “perfect” type, or even “ideal” type. Thinkers need to focus more on how their actions affect other people, and Feelers need to focus more on whether or not trying to be nice is the helpful thing to do or not, etc., etc.
Being an ENTJ as a teenager is a very strange thing. Especially as a girl. As a guy, it’s a lot easier I believe. But I’m coming at this as a girl, who has a personality type completely against what our Christian society says is typical of females. Probably the most liberating thing I’ve ever done was find my Myers-Briggs type–because finally I understood that there wasn’t something necessarily wrong with me, but just that my culture wasn’t built around my type.
See, in Christian circles, girls are demure, humble, and quiet. I am not. ENTJs are anything but humble, quiet, and demure. We’re just kind of out there. I have a healthy understanding of my strengths and weaknesses, but because most girls tend to be happy to be in the background, when I’m vocal about what I know I’m good at, I’m seen as a show-off, when really if you asked me what my weaknesses are I’d be equally as happy to share those. To top that all off, I’m not naturally all that nurturing. Girls are supposed to be the hostesses of the church–the ones who host Bible studies in their perfect homes, are there to just listen to other people’s problems, or be a shoulder to cry on. I’m not really like that. I’m the person you come to if you want something fixed. I’m not afraid to tell people when they’re in the wrong, or to state my opinion. Even though this is actually encouraged all over the Bible, this isn’t encouraged in the church. In the church, people will do anything to avoid conflict, but I see conflict as a tool to getting to where God wants the church to be–wholly honouring to Him. I’ve approached pastors and elders and the like about extremely important issues and seen nothing happen for a long time because the church just isn’t allowed to offend anyone. I just really don’t belong in that world.
On the same topic, I see a better way to do absolutely everything, and it’s absolutely infuriating. I wish I could just be happy with things the way they are, but God really gave me a creative brain and no matter what it is, I can think of 5 things to do to improve it. So I usually bite off more than I can chew. I don’t like how Sunday School is being run? I volunteer as a teacher. I think the worship team could be done better? I get given a team. I tend to allow myself to burn out because of this–I know my limitations, but my obsession with fixing everything almost always outweighs what I actually have the time and resources to handle.
I challenge authority. In the church, it’s not generally accepted to go against set customs or challenge those who have a higher standing than you. I’m the kind of person, though, when told “don’t touch that” will immediately reply “why not?” I don’t take anything at face value, and that’s not a bad thing! In fact, nowhere in the Bible does it say to believe blindly whatever those around you are saying–it’s quite the opposite! The Bible constantly says that we are to challenge and question, but whenever you challenge or question someone in authority in the church I tend to find myself frustrated because I’m told that I’ve stepped out of place.
A problem I’ve often found because of my N tendencies, as well, is that I get really frustrated in Bible studies. See, when I’m reading scripture, I don’t just read that one section. I think “how does this apply to every other figment of scripture that I’ve ever studied?” I love finding connections, big pictures, larger principles, and the like, and I find that often Bible studies don’t minister to me because that’s really suppressed. I’m in a Bible study right now where we have a passage, and intensely study that passage for an hour and a half or so, and only focusing on that passage. I absolutely love the people in the study, but it kind of depresses me a little. When I am forced to act like an S, focusing on a certain paragraph or story without looking at how it applies in a larger sphere, I just don’t get fed. I try, but I generally just go home really frustrated and drained rather than encouraged and filled. See, I love discussion. For me, the best learning and conviction comes through discussion and debate with others, and I’d love to find a group where we can just start at one passage, and then just discuss and question and challenge for hours, trying to find the connections that I know are there between the gospels and Paul’s letters, or look at Revelations and what’s happening in the world today, anything like that. I get so excited just thinking about that type of study. And although I totally understand there’s a very important place in everyone’s life for a detail-oriented, highly-controlled type of Bible study, I tend to get discouraged by it. Sometimes I feel like I’m being told that how God made me want to get to know him isn’t good enough for everyone else.
Perhaps the biggest problem I find with living in the church is when it comes to submission. See, girls are expected to be under the authority of men in the church. I hate this, and do not agree with it at all (but I don’t want to get into that right now). Again, most girls are OK to go with what’s always been done, or to give authority and responsibility to someone else, simply because of sex. But I’m not. That’s just not how God made me. And the reason I’m saying that it’s how I am rather than inner pride or sin is that if a guy acted the exact same way as I wanted to, he’d be rewarded and I’d be punished. ENTJ males have it pretty much perfect, because everyone has to submit to them, and our type loves power. But I remember being told again and again when I was a teenager by youth group leaders, pastors, speakers, and the like that women are to submit to their husband, and to listen to them and obey them in everything. I always felt like there was something wrong with me because I knew I’d never be able to do that–I always felt like no matter how hard I tried, I’d always be a failure as a Christian unless I somehow became someone other than myself. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to submit, or didn’t want to be a good Christian, and I actually used to pray so much that God would just help me be like the other girls. But he didn’t create me with a submissive spirit–he created me with a fighting one. And because of that, I’m going to be able to stand up to people, and work with my husband rather than for him, and maybe show other girls like me that there is a way to live that doesn’t require you to act differently than how God created you to be.
Growing up as an ENTJ girl in our Christian society is hard. I’ve been discouraged, frustrated, and disillusioned because of all of these things, and even today, after understanding why I get frustrated, I still have to remind myself over and over again that it’s not necessarily my problem, but just that I’m different. I’m never going to have as many friends as other girls, I’m never going to be accepted in Christian circles. I’m always going to have someone challenge me, or think that I’m not a Christian because of some of my beliefs that I’ve gathered due to my strict refusal to blindly accept anything. And it’s really hard sometimes–I really think God gives ENTJs a little bit more strength than most people, because He knows we need it.
So that’s a glimpse into my mind. What do you think you would be? Take a Myers-Briggs test online and find out what your type is, then comment what it is! I love discussing this kind of thing. It’s my inner-psych nerd’s happy place.
What do you think? Do you think that our Christian community is doing a good job of helping everyone shine?
I’d love to hear your experiences.
But for now, I’ve got some more people to analyze.
Rebecca Danielle Gregoire