Archive for the ‘ intj ’ Category

Faith and the INTJ: Part 2

Someone wrote this comment on one of my blog posts: “Sorry to inform you, but there is no way you can be an INTJ if you’re religious. Note that INTJ’s are logical, religious beliefs are not logical, also INTJ’s are smart, religious people are not smart. Hence, why you cannot be an INTJ if you believe a magic man in the sky created the universe in a week.”

Read Part 1 of my response.  This is Part 2.

It is true that I did not arrive at “Jesus Christ = Lord and Savior” by logic.  I arrived at Jesus Christ through Jesus Christ alone.

Which brings me to the second part of the commenter’s post.  “Note that INTJ’s are logical, religious beliefs are not logical, also INTJ’s are smart, religious people are not smart.”

I assure you that I am an INTJ.  Am I smart?  I suppose it depends how you define smart.  My IQ is high enough to garner acceptance into Mensa, which I did join several years ago.  Am I logical?  Ugh, I cannot get away from logical analysis of even the most mundane or trivial issues.  Case in point: this blog post.

Proverbs 3: 5 reads

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

God says that we are not to lean on our own understanding.  Why?  Because who are we to think that we, who live in one place at one time understand or know more than the God of the universe who is everywhere and outside of time (thus seeing all of time at once)?  As Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church, puts it: you can watch one millisecond of a movie (what our lives would amount to if all of history were condensed into one hour), and I will watch the entire movie, and we can then argue about what the movie is about.  Our own understanding is limited.  We do not know what is going on in our neighbor’s home right now, much less our neighborhood, much less our city, much less our country, much less the universe.

Proverbs 16:25

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

Much of what seems logical or “right” to us is fallible.  Since sin is, in large part, blindness to our own sin, we can barely see beyond our own logic and opinions, and the arguably skewed worldview of our current culture and society.  Our limited position in time and space influence what is logically right to us.  I may look at a Styrofoam from the side and see a trapezoid shape.  You may look at it from directly overhead and see a circle.  Who is “right”?  Logic led us both to different conclusions.  Again, we are limited in time and space and thus cannot know all.

Arguably, an aspect of intelligence is the realization that there is much we do not know.

Incidentally, we all have faith.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

We all have confidence in and assurance about what we do not see.  We have confidence that our car will start when we turn the ignition, though we are not looking at its inner workings to know if something is broken or the engine is missing.  We have assurance that we will not float into the air as we walk about, though we cannot see gravity itself.  Faith as defined in Hebrews 11 applies to all of humanity and does not exclude any of the personality types.

 

Faith and the INTJ

Someone wrote this comment on one of my blog posts: “Sorry to inform you, but there is no way you can be an INTJ if you’re religious. Note that INTJ’s are logical, religious beliefs are not logical, also INTJ’s are smart, religious people are not smart. Hence, why you cannot be an INTJ if you believe a magic man in the sky created the universe in a week.”

This is one of my most favorite comments that I have ever received on my blog.  Firstly, it sounds like a typical INTJ comment, dry and matter-of-fact but tinged with a sense of irony and drollness.  For that reason, it made me chuckle.  Secondly, it reminds me of a time when I thought the same way and of my journey from unbelief to faith.

Let’s break it down.  “There is no way you can be an INTJ if you are religious.”

“Religious” is a tricky word.  In the church I attended as a child, ritual and moralism were predominate themes.  I believed that the people who attended my church by choice (this excluded myself, as I was forced/bribed into going by my parents) were lemmings who shelved their brains in order to get cheap comfort through a systematic and predictable pattern of standing-sitting-kneeling and responsive reading.  At the time, I viewed faith as synonymous with religiosity.  I do not consider myself religious in the sense that I do not take comfort in moralism or ritual.  My faith is not based upon going through the motions, nor do I believe these things draw me closer to God or earn favor with Him.

My faith is based solely on the saving work of Christ Jesus.  I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that all of it is true.  Defending that claim is a discussion for another day.  So let’s look at Ephesians 2:8-9:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.

I have been saved (meaning that God has drawn me into a personal relationship with Himself) based on grace (His free gift to me) through the saving work of Jesus Christ (who lived the sinless life I should have lived and died the wretched death that I deserved to die).  None of this is based on anything about me – not what I do, what I think, what I say, who I am.

Therefore, it is true that I did not arrive at “Jesus Christ = Lord and Savior” by logic.  I arrived at Jesus Christ through Jesus Christ alone.  Adding anything to Christ turns the issue and my faith into what I would consider “religious” (which I loosely define as moralistic behaviors that often accompany faith).  Religion has nothing to do with my faith.  Or my Myers-Briggs personality type.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

What the Heck is an INTJ?

I get a lot of traffic on my past posts about being an INTJ, particularly INTJs in relationships.  Being an INTJ myself, I am fascinated by personality theory and throw around perplexing jargon as if everyone naturally knows what an INTJ is.  However, it has come to my attention that this information is not common knowledge (read with irony, a common INTJ trait).  So, I would like to elaborate.

Learning about my personality type

INTJ is one of sixteen personality types as defined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality test.  This personality test is in widespread use by both therapists and businesses.  I studied counseling in grad school, so I am very familiar with this assessment tool, and I have done a great deal of reading and research on Myers-Briggs Personality Theory over the years.  For 95% of my life, I felt like something was drastically wrong with me.  When I began to truly understand my personality type, I realized that while my personality was rare (about 2% of the total population), there exists an entire group of people with the same quirks that I have.  Sadly, we are all so introverted that we do not know each other.

I must also add that as I grew in my Christian walk with God, I also became more comfortable in understanding and accepting myself.  I believe that God opened my eyes to learn more about personality theory in order that He could help me to accept myself, to know that He created me just as I am, and that no one can be a better me than me.  Interestingly, I began working at a large church shortly after I became a Christian, and the lead pastor is also an INTJ.  As a result, there is an abnormally large percentage of staff members who are INTJs.  Additionally, last year, God brought my husband into my life, and he is an INTJ, as well.  My husband Smith has been hugely instrumental in helping me to accept and love myself because he is so similar to me; we share many of the same quirks.  There has been enormous freedom in my relationship with him, and after all, marriage is the closest earthly representation of God’s relationship to us, so you can see the parallel.

The Four Dimensions of Myers-Briggs Personality

So, back to personality types.  There are four “dimensions” which make up the four letters:

Extraverted or Introverted (E or I): Extraverts prefer large groups of people, with a wide variety of friends; they act first, and then think; they are distracted easily, without as much concentration on a single task; they are very talkative and outgoing.  Introverts prefer small intimate gatherings of close friends; they think first, then act; they focus well, but not as much concentration on the big picture; they are good listeners and more private.

Sensing or Intuitive (S or N): Sensors focus attention on observation and have facts-oriented learning; they are practical, focusing on individual steps; their eyes are on the present; and they like predictable relationships and tasks.  Intuitives are conceptual and have association-based learning; they are imaginative, with broad ideas of a project; they tend to look towards the future; and they enjoy the changes in relationships and tasks.

Thinking or Feeling (T or F): Thinkers think through decisions; they work better with a list of pros and cons; they are critical by nature and are more truthful than tactful; they are more motivated to be right.  Feelers make decisions based on feelings; they think through a decision based on how it effects people; they are people pleasers and are more tactful than truthful; they are more motivated for harmony in relationships.

Judging or Perceiving (J or P): Judgers are not judgmental, the name is a misnomer.  They like dependable situations; they plan everything, with a to do list in hand; they enjoy completing projects; they feel stressed by lack of planning and abrupt changes; they are more likely to complete a goal.  Perceivers are not more perceptive, the name is also a misnomer.  Perceivers like flexible situations; they wait until multiple ideas come up, and pick what to do on the fly; they enjoy starting projects; they feel closed in by specific plans, and looks forward to changes; they are more likely to see an opportunity.

What is your personality type?

When you know which side you fall on for each of the four dimensions described above, you have your complete personality type.  Click here to take a 15-minute questionnaire that will give you your personality type.  It is important to note that your personality is more than the sum of its parts.  I am more than Introverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Judging. 

What is an INTJ?

INTJs like systems, particularly analyzing systems to see if there is a better way to make the system work.  INTJs are aloof and socially awkward.  They tend to be highly intelligent and know what they know, while they are willing to admit what they don’t know.  INTJs are perfectionists and are highly efficient.  INTJs are independent and are not necessarily rule-followers, unless the rule really makes sense.  Authority, celebrity, and marketing ploys have little sway with an INTJ.  INTJs analyze everything and are most comfortable with things that are logical.

INTJs are highly imaginative and reliable.  INTJs place a lot of value on respect, and they quickly lose respect for people who are perceived to be incompetent, lazy, or illogical, and that respect is difficult to gain back.  INTJs tend to think they are always right, and they are good decision-makers because they are not impulsive and tend to weigh the pros and cons of an issue.  They are highly insightful and motivated to closure and organization.

INTJs are natural leaders and are generally respected by others, yet they often prefer to remain in the background.  INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds and have a vast internal, and often subconscious, rule system.  INTJs are often told they are “too serious” or “analyze things too much.”  INTJs, like other introverts, do not tend to smile a lot.

Others may falsely perceive the INTJ as being rigid and set in their ways.  In fact, the INTJ is committed to always finding the objective best strategy to implement their ideas. The INTJ is usually quite open to hearing an alternative way of doing something.

INTJs have particular difficulty with close interpersonal relationships, particularly romantic relationships, in part because INTJs have a difficult time grasping social rituals like flirting or small talk.  A lot of people do not make sense to an INTJ, which is frustrating at times.  Others may perceive INTJs as being intimidating because many INTJs have high expectations of themselves and are often driven to be the best person they can be and love personal growth.  INTJs, however, have the valuable asset of being very motivated to work at relationships and are very loyal.

Previous INTJ posts

You can read my previous posts on INTJ personalities here:

INTJs in Relationships – what INTJs are like in relationships

More INTJs in Relationships – how to understand the INTJ you are crushing on

Things Every INTJ Should Know – more on the personality of an INTJ

Uniqueness, Part I and Part II – why being a single INTJ woman is frustrating (ironically, I wrote these the week before I met my husband)

My Pet INTJ – what you should know about the INTJ in your life

Pop! Quiz – a fun quiz where one of the right answers is “a. INTJ”

Favorite INTJ: Stewie Griffin.  It is totally normal for Smith and I to spend Sunday nights watching “Family Guy” while analyzing and “personality typing” all the characters.

Siblings

 

I am blessed with three brilliant and creative brothers. If you are a long time follower of my blog, you know that I am obsessed with intrigued by personality types (specifically, Myers-Briggs personality types). My brothers and I are all INTJ personalities. We are aloof and not given to excessive talking or social interaction. Building relationships for relationships’ sake seems frivolous to us. Thus, while we get along well and have a lot in common, we do not tend to talk much or invest time in getting to know each other. However, when I have the opportunity to spend time with them, I always learn something new and enjoy myself.

 My youngest brother John is the least socially awkward of my three male Bibliophile siblings, and he came to visit me today. I enjoyed our time together and was particularly blessed by uncovering some similarities we share.

 To digress momentarily, 99% of my life has been spent feeling like I do not fit in with people. For many years, I assumed something was wrong with me. A few years ago, I began to research personality types and realized that I am a textbook INTJ and that there are thousands of us meandering around out in the world (but not interacting with each other, and so we are unaware that we are not alone). Embracing my unique personality type was validating and helped me feel more free, and it assured that I was made exactly the way God intended.

 I feel I have some atypical characteristics as compared with the average populous, and it is such a pleasure to learn that I am not alone in those qualities or experiences. My brother and I have some interesting similarities that cause me to wonder if there is a genetic link.

 Firstly, we are both heavily into exercise and fitness (as are our parents and other siblings). John and I both spend about an hour and a half per day exercising. We are also both passionate about nutrition. Two of my brothers and I all decided to switch to a vegetarian diet in our adult lives. At times, I feel insecure about the amount of exercise I do and the bizarrely healthy diet I consume, but I felt so validated today, because for John it was normal, too (though he recognized that he was more avid than the average Joe).

 John and I also share the same atypical sleep issues. I asked him if he has trouble sleeping, and he replied that he has difficulty falling asleep and that he is a very light sleeper. I have the same problems and for months have been a bit fixated on it. Both of us struggle to stay asleep when there are even minor environmental stimuli: a bit of light, the breeze from a fan, or the smallest noise. Unfortunately, he did not have any great remedies, but it was great to discover that we are sensitive to the same things and that neither of us is able to sleep deeply.

 Today I am thankful for the growth God is doing in me. He has revealed several areas in my life where I need to grow, and He is helping me do so. He is enabling me to step outside of my comfort zone a bit. I am also thankful for family, particularly my newest family, my husband Smith. He is more similar to me than anyone on the planet, and his love for me has enabled me to feel freedom and joy I have never known.

Things Every INTJ Should Know

 

I am an INTJ personality type, as are my three brothers, my dad, my man Smith, my brother’s girlfriend, and many of my friends and colleagues. I counted 22 of my facebook friends who are INTJ, and those are just the ones whose personality type I know for sure.

I am fascinated by Myers-Briggs personality theory. Most of us who are INTJ personality types have always felt like we are odd, like we don’t fit in, that perhaps there is something wrong with us. In reality, we are simply wired with a certain temperament that makes us unique and special, but because our type is rare, we often feel like outsiders.

An INTJ friend and fellow blogger, unruly helpmeet, recently googled the phrase, “things every woman should know,” and wrote about what she found on the topic. That gave me the idea to write a list of things every INTJ should know.

As an INTJ, if you have the following skills and knowledge, you may feel more balanced, less drained, and generally happier.

1. We know how to avoid small talk.

2. We know that there is nothing wrong with us.

3. We know we are socially awkward, yes, but we know how to be okay with that.

4. We know that no, we do not think too much or analyze too much. If someone says we do, we know how to reply, “I don‘t think too much. You don‘t think enough.”

5. We know that it is our prerogative to look serious or not smile, and people are just going to have to deal with that.

6. We know how to avoid talking on the phone, and we especially know how to avoid returning phone calls. Thank goodness for text messaging for the times when it is absolutely necessary to communicate a piece of information.

7. We know how to avoid people and especially crowds. We also know how to just walk away from a social situation with no explanation or apology when our social capacity is reached.

8. We know what we know, the limits of our knowledge and competence.

9. We know that we are always right.

10. We know how to be sarcastic, though others often do not seem to know when we are being that way.

11. We know how to zone out when we are bored by others’ conversations, which is most of the time.

12. We know how to use language and grammar, and how to correct others when they misuse language.

13. We know how to avoid surprises, gifts, and compliments.

14. We know how to see through people’s bs.

15. We know how to protect our alone time, and how to deal with people who complain that we never want to go out or do anything. Hey, those people are more than welcome to come over and spend time with us doing crossword puzzles, sudoku, or plotting to take over the universe, in silence of course.

Other People’s Opinions

Are you affected or influenced by people’s opinions?

As an INTJ, I am self-confident and independent, and I am not easily swayed by authority figures, sales pitches, and emotional pleas. I do not care much for convention or sentimentality. I make choices and develop my own internal standards based on my relationship with God and a lot of self-analysis.

I often say that I do not care about other people’s opinions. And in a lot of ways, I do not. However, at times, I do tend to internalize the opinions of others, especially in situations where I do not feel as competent and in situations where I respect and admire the opiner.

Smith* and I got engaged a couple of weeks ago. We have been dating for three months. I feel very strongly that it is God’s will that Smith is the man He wants me to marry, and I feel like it is God’s will that we got engaged when we did. I cannot really explain this, as I am not the type of person to rush into things, nor would I necessarily recommend it to someone else unless the person was spiritually mature, a little older, and felt a strong sense of God’s leading.

While I do feel some stress over the details of planning for the future, I feel very much at peace with being engaged to Smith. He is a wonderful man, and I feel so blessed to have him in my life. Above all else, he is such a great friend to me. Additionally, my relationship with God is better than it has ever been. God working through Smith and through our relationship has enabled me to feel a level of closeness with God that I have never before experienced.

That being said, I cannot expect that others will be as assured of God’s plan for me as I am, as they do not know my heart and mind. And thus as a result of the length of time we have been dating, others have expressed some concern about my engagement.

Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ’s Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations.  – from typelogic

I think that because romantic relationships seem to be my Achilles heel, I feel less competent and thus more vulnerable to the opinions of others. Furthermore, I am affected more by the influence of particular people. I am blessed to work in a large church with staff members who care about me as a person, not just the tasks I perform. Many of my colleagues are well-educated and spiritually mature, they invest in me and care for me, and I respect them. Their opinions hold more weight with me than, say, a casual non-Christian acquaintance. I appreciate the spiritual and emotional nurturing I receive, yet at times, I feel a lot of pressure to live up to a certain standard.

Overall, I have been very pleased with people’s positive responses and excitement.  Thank you for being happy for me.