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Posts Tagged ‘extrovert’

I suppose anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised to discover that my personality type makes up less than 1% of the world’s population (according to this website). But I was. When I took the personality test during my morning of self-education, I was enthralled by the description of the INFJ group, to which I belong. A year ago I would have been surprised to read ‘Introvert’ at the beginning of my four letter code. According to the test makers, “Their easy and pleasant communication can often mislead bystanders, who might think that the INFJ is actually an extrovert.” In truth, not so long ago, I was deluding myself into thinking I was an extrovert. But mere weeks away from my twenty-second birthday, I am not as naive as I once was. I’m deep into the process of discovering who I am and who I will become.

I bobbed my head as the test described the INFJ with an emphasis on creativity, independence, passion, beliefs, conflict-wary(ness? Can I make that a word?), mental and emotional depth, warmth, and insight. And I solemnly agreed with the weaknesses: a tendency to back away from conflict, to be hard to understand, to strive for too much perfection in myself and others, and to feel disappointment keenly. Yes. I may be in the shining 1%, but we INFJs aren’t perfect–mostly because we try too hard to be.

Yet, all in all, I’d rather be the INFJ God created me to be than any other personality type. Someone “Brimming with desire to make the world a better place.” And someone who has “a unique combination of idealism and decisiveness – this means that their creativity and imagination can be directed towards a specific goal,” allowing them “to make a lasting positive impact.” Can you blame me? That sounds pretty sweet.

The test certainly won’t be right about everything,  but reading through the sections depicting how I am likely to interact socially and in my career have given me good deal of clarity for why I am scared of certain opportunities, why I relish others, and how I can pursue a more peaceable, meaningful future.

Until next time,

Your friendly, neighborhood author.

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I know this post is long, but I hope you’ll find it worth it.

I’m 21. I have three books published and a fourth in production. I have memorized 2/3s of the New Testament, made sweet friends in Indonesia, lived in South Carolina, and gone on two major book tours. I’m putting together an album for recording and dabble as a worship leader. I am the founder and leader of Rebirth Publishing, Inc. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management. I have escaped all of it without debt. And I thought I knew myself…

But since graduation I have realized just how little I actually know about myself. I know a whole lot about what I can do, but not a lot about who I really am. So, like the perfectionist student I am, I have poured the last few months into a character study–not of Pallen or Marcus or Cressa from Mark of Orion. No. This is a study of my own character. And with each new learning, I celebrate a victory that leaves me feeling a good deal more fulfilled.

First, let me say that I think labels are probably some of the worst things in the world. If you had ever tried to sum me up as ‘Lyme patient’ or ‘college student’ or ‘Christian’ or ‘publisher’ or ‘writer’ or ‘musician’ or ‘homebody’ or ‘extrovert’ you would have missed who I really am. To give you a glimpse of just how much I don’t like labels, check out this personal entry:

It is easy to believe labels are fulfilling.

 Not just the ‘popular’ label. Those of us who know better than to believe that success will fulfill us find other labels to put our stock in. Like the ‘loved’ label; the ‘happy’ label; the ‘work-a-holic’ label. After so many movies full of people finding their labels right alongside their soul-mates, we have begun to believe that if we could just find our label, our movie-moment, our montage of effective work and budding love alongside the perfect soundtrack, then we could feel fulfilled.

 Only, labels aren’t actually fulfilling.

 Not ‘hipster’ or ‘rock-star’ or ‘author’ or ‘healthy’ or ‘wife’. Labels in and out of themselves can never, ever satisfy. All they can do is make us feel bitter that we aren’t happy after attaining them or devastated that we cannot achieve them. Labels are a deadly lie.

So why does the girl who rejects labels find joy in figuring out that she is not only a perfectionist but also 1) passionate and 2) innovative? Aren’t those labels too?

To me the difference is that I can’t achieve to be an innovator. I just am. When I see a problem, my first instinct is to scrap the old system and create a new one. I can’t force myself to be passionate 100% of the time. Often I wish I could turn it off. Only, passion is part of who I am. If I offend you, believe me: it hurts me more than it ever can you. Because I care. And if I can make your day brighter, I’ll do my very bestest. Because I care with all my heart. It’s passion. I can control it, but it will forever be my default setting. And, yep, I want my new innovative system that I passionately care about to go perfectly. But those things aren’t based in what I can do or in the success of my efforts; they are based in who God made me to be. The core of who I am is not ‘author’. Perhaps you could say that I am a storyteller. Each song that I write, each book that I craft, each conversation I have revolves largely around stories. But even if I had never published a book, I would have been–I was–known as a storyteller. It is an attribute, not a label.

You see, sometimes trying to live up to the labels can be really devastating. I won’t forever be a ‘young achiever’ and, as much as I love that label, it can often do more harm than good as I achieve for achievement’s sake alone. I may not forever be ‘worship leader’ and that’s okay too. The ‘traveling artist’ day may pass; the sickness may fade; even the book writing may fizzle out. And if I all I was was an sick, book-writing, traveling artist I would be in a LOT of trouble when the day of change came.

So instead of setting my sights on a list of un-fulfilling and really frustrating labels, I want to discover who God made me to be. I’ll gladly accept the attributes that God created me with, but I am very ready to be done with the labels I set for myself or others set for me. Take heart, my friends, and revel in your uniqueness. It was designed that way by the greatest Storyteller ever, the God Who knit us together.

Psalm 139:13

13 For you created my inmost being;

   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

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