About This Obsession with Personality Type
Listen, I love a good personality test as much or more than the next person.
Hello, my name is Angela Sanders, orange, choleric, neutral good, type 2 4w, INFJ-T lion-otter combo extraordinaire, otherwise known as Elsa, Yoda, Mr.Darcy, and/or the apostle Paul, depending on which Buzzfeed quiz you happen to be referencing. Pleased to make your acquaintance!
I’m concerned, however, that our culture’s interest in the identification, definition, and categorization of personality may have tripped over into an unhealthy obsession.
What’s the problem? For the Christian, here are a few:
1. Personality type can become an excuse. For inappropriate behavior. For refusal to grow and mature. For failure to consider others. The list goes on and on.
- “I’m a turbulent personality. Sometimes we lose it. That’s just how I am.”
- “I’m a two. We’re generous givers, so I don’t have to learn to manage my money.”
- “I’m an introvert. It’s hard for me to put myself out there to make others feel comfortable or loved, so they should come to me.”
2. Personality type can become a source of pride.
- “I’m choleric. Without me, the rest of you would be lost. I am the reason our team succeeds.”
- “I’m intuitive. I alone know what’s really going on here.”
- “My personality type is the most rare, making me pretty darn special.”
3. Personality typing can foster prejudice, discourage unity, and hinder individual and group growth.
- “He’s an otter through and through, all smiles, but no substance.”
- “They’re way too practical to be any fun. Don’t include them.”
- “She’s a melancholy personality. Of course, she’d detect a problem. Don’t listen to her.”
- “Who cares if we accomplish anything? We birds of a feather are having fun!”
Although it’s definitely a good thing to notice and appreciate the way God made you so you can praise Him for His creativity and wisdom, take inventory of your gifts and strengths so you can put them to work for the advancement of His Kingdom, and make a list of your weaknesses so you can make a conscious effort to overcome them by the power of His Holy Spirit, those of us who belong to God as a result of our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ are called to do more than become polished versions of our imperfect selves.
We are called to submission, obedience, and transformation into the image of Jesus Himself by the power of the Holy Spirit so others may find salvation in Him and join us in glorifying the Father who deserves nothing less from us than the kind of good only He can bring about.
Narcissism, bad behavior, sour attitudes, immaturity, selfishness, pride, divisiveness, apathy: these are counter-productive at best.
So, go ahead. Take a quick look in the mirror, but just long enough to get yourself situated on the altar of living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1).
Remember, we worship the Creator, not His creation (Matt. 4:10). Only let your gaze linger on Him.