According to my personality type, I tend to have strong opinions and also tend to be very open about sharing them. I suppose that is the reason I don’t have a problem sharing them here. I think the worst thing that has happened to me since I took the Myers Briggs personality test is the number of people who have come up to me and said, “Oh wow! That explains so much!”
I remember the inner struggle I faced and the debilitating sensations I felt when I read the description of my personality type very clearly. It was like everything I had constructed fell in a spectacular fashion, not unlike the collapse of an entire city due to a massive earthquake. (Imagine standing in Times Square and watching all of the structures around you collapse.)
I’m pretty sure that a lot of people would say that it’s a good thing and that it means that I will now be able to accept myself for who I am. But I don’t think it was “who I am” that was described on that webpage. My problem was not that I entirely disliked the profile, but that everything listed under it had been a trait that others had chosen to reject me for at some point in my life.
I have spent a large part of my life trying to simultaneously escape my box as well as conform to what a Godly woman should be according to the standards set by Western culture; however, it is very difficult to leave a room while also attempting to shove yourself inside of it. For anyone who is interested, my type was ENTJ. Extraverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. Ever since I took the quiz I have felt like those four letters now define everyone else’s perception of who I am.
Have you ever felt like you have been locked behind some sort of colored glass and no one is willing to let you out? That was exactly how I felt when I read my description. According to the research I have done, ENTJ women only make up 1% of the population, are perpetually single, domineering, and have great difficulty finding fulfillment beyond a high-stress career that inevitably gives them health problems which they typically succumb to at an early age.
During this huge identity crisis and internal debate, which has mostly abated by now, I stumbled upon an article (which is, unfortunately, now tucked away into the browser history on my phone, very far from my reach). The article was the liferaft I needed at the very moment I was close to accepting my four letters. It was about my generation’s obsession with personality tests and the way we take it entirely too far in a fruitless search for meaning and understanding without truly challenging ourselves or probing the deeper things.
I think I may have shed a tear of joy when I reached the end of the article. I had been surrounded by people who claimed that they wanted to understand me but never truly took the time to know me. I am a pretty good judge of people, as is described in my personality profile (ironically), so I can generally get to know people much faster than they know me. I see it in the little things they do and in how they react to others in various situations. College campuses are good for that sort of thing because you are placed in a wide variety of situations within an hour if you make a habit out of hanging around the student center.
Now I absolutely hate those four letters. Those letters that attempt to define me but cannot know me. They place a brand on me and tell everyone what I am without ever meeting me, talking with me, or seeing what I am truly like. The worst transgression is that these letters allow people to make assumptions about me before they ever even see me. It was one thing to be told that these elements of my personality were not good or that they were too much to handle and that I should be different. It’s an entirely different thing to have people read a webpage and then expect you to conform to every detail presented.
Maybe it is helpful to the people who already know me to see that little outline and be able to find the things that confuse them. For me, it is a terrible thing to be placed into a box.
During this crisis of identity I decided to turn my concerns to God. He made me the way I am for some reason that I cannot fathom. Obviously there had to be something good in the profile that I could use to honor Him. But there was nothing I saw in that page that reflected my perception of who I really am. Then it dawned on me. God made me His. It doesn’t matter that four letters had been assigned to me. It matters that He made me. I truly believe that in my attempt to run away from my four letters I have run closer to Him and have been better exploring who He made me and the reason why I am this way. I think that I have been discovering who I want to be as well. I’m finding things that I like about myself that were listed in the profile, but I’m also finding things that an online personality test could never tell me about myself. The reason for that is because we are all made in God’s image, and to ever know Him he has to reveal Himself to us, and a computer can’t simulate that.
The lesson to be learned here is that we should not use personality tests to learn more about ourselves on a deep level. A computer absolutely cannot tell you who you are meant to be or what you are meant to do. We must reveal ourselves to each other to get to know our strengths and weaknesses and how to use them.