Monday, December 7, 2015

What Do We Let Define Us?

The Myers-Brigg personality types are all over the Internet. For a long time, I had no idea what my own personality type was because I just didn't care to take the test. Recently, however, I finally completed one of the many online tests and found out what my personality is according to Myers-Brigg.
Taking the test made me aware of a few things about my personality, but it also got me thinking about labels. It occurred to me that a lot of people let their personality type define them. I discovered that my personality type is ENTJ. When I search for ENTJ on Google or Pinterest, I'm bombarded with information about my specific personality type.

According to my personality type, I am:

Genuinely interested in the ideas of others
Challenging, confrontational and argumentative
Not naturally in tune with the feelings and reactions of others
Very good with money
Not naturally good with expressing love/affection
Highly assertive
...and a whole slew of other things

Knowing all of these things about myself is helpful, but recently, I've been considering why people care so much about their personality types. It's like having a way to define ourselves is revolutionary. We've always been the people we are, but now that the Myers-Brigg test is around, now there's a way to define each type of person. Why is it that we feel the need to be defined by a test? Why is it so important to us to be labeled as a certain type of person?

While we are all defined differently according to the 16 Myers-Brigg types, God defines us all the same.

According to God, I am:
Created in His image (Genesis 1:27)
A sinner (Romans 3:23)
His child (Galatians 3:26)
Loved (John 3:16)
Forgiven (1 John 1:9)
...and so much more

While I don't think anything is wrong with the Myers-Brigg personality tests, I think that people are leaning too heavily on their personality types by letting them define every aspect of who they are, forgetting that God has already told us who we are. I think our culture needs to turn back to being focused on how God defines us rather than focusing so much on how a man-made test defines us. After all, who we are in Christ is much more important than the type of personality a test tells us we have.

Henri J. M. Nouwen says, "Your true identity is as a child of God. This is the identity you have to accept. Once you have claimed it and settled in it, you can live in a world that gives you much joy as well as pain. You can receive the praise as well as the blame that comes to you as an opportunity for strengthening your basic identity, because the identity that makes you free is anchored beyond all human praise and blame. You belong to God, and it is as a child of God that you are sent into the world."

I'd much rather find my identity in God than in a personality test, that's for sure. I never have to be confused about who I am in Christ.

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