Aug 28, 2011

Unique

One of the wonderful things about my church is our emphasis on the uniqueness of each person.  Psalm 139 is a go-to in casual conversation, in growth groups, and in Sunday sermons.  The more we know about ourselves (our strengths and talents, what makes us tick, our values, our feelings), the more we know about God’s unique love for us and God's unique plan for us...  And the more we can use these ‘specialties’ to love God, others, and ourselves well.  These three calls to love (God, others, and self), according to Jesus, are the key ingredients for lasting life.  I’ve come to understand during my journey over the last few years that it is not narcissism to probe my inner workings, to pay close attention to my feelings, or to delight in my strengths.  It is not a stumbling block or a way of tuning God out.  Quite the opposite, it is the only way to hear God from an authentic place, to make space for him to speak into my current realities, and to open myself to deep transformation. 

Having been ‘primed’ to pay more attention to the uniqueness of myself and others, I’ve recently become interested in (which for me is pretty close to obsessed with) MBTI.  It’s definitely not hypothesis-driven science.  It’s definitely empirical and broad-stroke descriptive rather than proscriptive.  (So is much of medicine, though, and this doesn’t discount its efficacy.)  Having made this disclaimer, I’d like to delineate what I love about MBTI and being an INFJ.

  • I love knowing that there are other intense, brooding, all-or-nothing souls out there who routinely wear themselves out thinking about possibilities, problems, and people (INFJs).
  • I love recognizing that not everyone is like me, and that an action that would mean something negative coming from me doesn’t necessarily mean the same coming from someone else.  For example, emotional withdrawal is not a harbinger of doom for everyone…  For some people (not me!), it can mean simply a need for space to process, or even just physical fatigue. 
  • I love opening to the beauties of our differences.
  • I love seeing the complexity of the Creator in the complexities of our personalities, and I am comforted by the fact that he made human beings so different from each other but still called it all ‘good’.
  • I love feeling small and overwhelmed with the intricacies of others, because it reminds me that I’m not in control and that I couldn’t be even if I wanted to.

How humbling and peace-giving is the thought that the incomprehensible God, whose infinity is evidenced in the psalmist’s words…


O Lord, you have examined my heart
      and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
      You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
      and when I rest at home.
      You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
      even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
      You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
      too great for me to understand!

…How beautiful is the thought that he desires intimacy with me, in whom he delights!