Faith and Myers Briggs

I got sick of hearing about the Four Temperaments.  For a while there it seemed like everyone I knew was talking about it.  I didn’t like the way it seemed to lead to navel-gazing, and to fitting everyone in the world into one of four little boxes.

My view has softened a bit, especially since hearing Art and Laraine Bennett give a talk on their books, The Temperament God Gave Your Kids.

All the same, I’m more interested in what I’ve learned about the Myers-Briggs type indicator.  It allows for more nuance.  And since reading up on it, I’ve come to an amazing discovery:

Not everyone thinks like I do.

This helps me appreciate my husband more.  It helps me nurture my children.  It helps me to stop judging other people.  (Especially those with “P” at the end of their MBTI type.  As a “J” I tend to have little patience with “P’s.”)

But more and more MBTI helps me in my faith.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and just recently I found a passage in Magnificat that explains it all:

Our natural, spontaneous way of acting (and with religious people it can pass unnoticed when it seems harmless and neutral) is to live by what our feelings tell us is the truth of things . . . how we experience and perceive ourselves, others, events, and, of course, God.  We tend to judge ourselves (do we not?)–our prayer, our spiritual life, our progress–on how it seems to us, and we just assume this is the reality . . . .

Christianity stands on objective truth, not on subjective perception, intuition, reasoning or whatever, whether collective or individual.  . . . We Christians must look to Jesus, and to Jesus alone, for our vision of God, ourselves, others and the world around us. . . . And how different this is from the notions of God that the human mind and heart produce of themselves.

— Sister Ruth Burrows, O.C.D. (excerpted from her book, Hidden Spring)

Reading about my type (I think it’s ISFJ), makes me realize my “subjective perception, intuition, reasoning.”  I tend to cling to tradition, to shoulder responsibilities instinctively, to crave approval for doing the right thing.

This insight into my own subconscious has made me step back.  When I’m making a decision or even just forming an opinion or starting to get emotional: am I really basing this on reality, or my own distorted view of reality?

Of course, we all see reality through our own personality.  That’s unavoidable.  But it’s helpful to step back.

Am I clinging to habits and ways of thinking just because they feel right to me, because it’s my default?  Or am I going to Jesus first and going from there?

It’s really helpful.

And since I read this in Magnificat, I’m linking up with Jessica for What We’re Reading Wednesday.

Maybe Pope Francis Will Teach Her To Pray (7QT)

— 1 —

Wednesday was the strangest day of the last 4+ years of my life:  Girl 1 amused herself all day long: playing believe with her dolls, drawing on paper, dancing around the house.  All I did was feed her meals, put on Sesame Street at one point (at her request), and play princesses for a few minutes.  She didn’t even protest when I put the princess doll down.

This is the girl who, since the day she was born, has delighted in nothing half so much as getting all up in my grill.  She never found herself in a situation that wouldn’t be made better by demanding something of her mother.   I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought, “Why can’t you go away for a while so I can miss you?”


And suddenly she did.

And I did.

Even though she was just in the next room.

This was the moment I had waited for, the light at the end of the tunnel, blessed peace at last.  And yet, to quote Ruby Gillis on heaven:

Oh Anne, it isn’t what I’ve been used to.

— 2 —

Pat assures me that playing quietly to oneself is a normal part of childhood.  I don’t know.  I can’t help but see it as an omen that one day she will grow up and want to leave me.

— 3 —

In the past few months, Girl 1 has taken to climbing into bed with Pat and me in the middle of the night.  She never slept with us before, even as an infant.  Now I often don’t even notice when she crawls in.   I wake up at some point later to find her next to me, sleeping in 5T footsie pajamas.  5T is the last size in which I easily can find non-ironic footsie pajamas.     I’m so grateful for these footsie pajama moments because . . .

— 4 —

This morning I read this passage in Ann Voskamp‘s One Thousand Gifts:

My baby is five.  She falls asleep in my arms . . .  and I can’t capture it, hold it, this, her life now, me in this moment.  She is leaving me, she’s growing up and moving away from me, and she stirs and I sweep back the crop of the golden ringlets. Stay, Little One, stay. Love’s a deep wound and what is a mother without a child and why can’t I hold on to now forever and her here and me here and why does time snatch away a heart I don’t think mine can beat without?  Why do we all have to grow old?  Why do we have to keep saying good-bye?

Stay, little one, stay.

— 5 —

A few nights ago Girl 1 was struggling to enunciate the last lines of the Lord’s Prayer.  I really stuck my foot in it.

“De-li-ver us from e-vil.”

“Do you know what that means, Girl 1?  It means . . . keep us away from evil.  Evil means . . . bad things.”

” . . . You mean when I was crying yesterday, I was being evil.”

“No! No no, sweets, you are not evil.  You are . . . not evil.   Evil means bad things like . . . scary monsters . . . and bad guys . . . and . . . the big bad wolf.”

“Oh, like scary monsters and bad guys and the big bad wolf?  Scary monsters . . . bad guys . . . the big bad wolf.”

“That’s right.  Good night, Girl 1.  Sweet dreams.”

— 6 —

Next day, after saying Grace:

“Mommy, what does ‘holy’ mean?”

“Err, holy means . . . someone who is close to God.”

“Oh, someone who is close to God? . . . What does ‘spirit’ mean?”

“Uh, ah, er, ah . . . spirit means . . . spirit means . . . spirit means a person . . . apersonthatwecan’t seenowthat’senougheatyourlunch.”

— 7 —

New rule: no lying on the dining table, except when waiting for a new pope to be announced:


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