Codepoke made this comment on my last post on “personality types“
Still conflicted. :-)
If the Spirit has gifted you as a pastor and you torture yourself trying to prophecy, you have not benefited anyone. Some are eyes and some are feet. When the eye tries to do its part in the body by being walked on, good things do not happen to the eye or to the body. Taking guidance from a foot, savoring our food with our hands, and balancing the checkbook with our tongues would all be egalitarian but not spiritual.
Yes it’s possible to err with the personality message, but it’s possible to err with spiritual gifts too. It makes no more sense to throw the one out than the other.
If Jesus made the evergreen and the deciduous tree, should the deciduous tree feel guilty for not being always green? And if Jesus made one man an NF and the other an SJ will He iconoclastically make both into the “perfect” neutral personality?
Let me make a couple of clarifications:
1) The trinity tells me that difference in no way compromises one-ness / equality. One of my hobby horses is to allow the Persons to be considered in all their distinctiveness and not let them be dissolved into some common essence. Humanity made in the image of this God will wonderfully reflect these distinctions. Difference is not at all a bad thing!
2) There is definitely such a thing as natural temperament – ie a way that this Trinue God has made me. Pre-fall and post-return we will still be gloriously different from one another and should not bemoan this fact but rejoice in it. The ‘perfect’ personality is certainly not ‘neutral.’
3) There are definitely different Spirit-given gifts that do not work against unity but are in fact an expression of our unity – even in all our distinctness. (cf 1 Cor 12)
4) There are spiritual gifts that specially equip certain people to serve the body in particular ways.
5) Having said this, we all have certain responsibilities to uphold even if we don’t have that gifting. Some have the gift of service (Rom 12:7) but all should serve. Some have the gift of ‘contributing to the needs of others’ (Rom 12:8) but all should give. Some have the gift of evangelism (Eph 4:11) but all should play their part in evangelism. Some have the gift of administation (1 Cor 12:28) but all have admin to do, etc.
6) I can bring my giftings and differentness to bear in a very rich way upon the tasks I’m called to do. I will serve differently to you, give differently, evangelise differently and administrate differently – all to the glory of God. And the church should definitely not seek to do those things in a monochrome way.
7) I recognize in myself advantages to being laid back when it comes (for instance) to admin. If my deadline is Friday and an emergency comes up Wednesday afternoon it does not phase me in the slightest. In fact I’m pretty cool when Thursday goes up in smoke too. I know that I can work close to the deadline and that does free me to serve elsewhere with less distraction / guilt / pressure earlier in the process. I also recognize that for larger projects those with the gift of administration can serve me by setting me mini-deadlines along the way and getting me to be more forward thinking. In this example we’re all doing admin but we’re doing it in line with our different giftings. Great!
8) I’m not sure Jesus made me ‘ENFP’. In fact I’m pretty sure He didn’t. I’ve read school reports from Australia (where I lived until I was 15) and I was hard-working, diligent, organised, focussed etc etc. When I moved to the UK I found that I was ahead of the school curriculum by at least 18 months in every subject. I also found that it really, really was not cool to work hard in the UK. So I stopped. I then went to a tertiary institution whose unofficial motto was “Effortlessly superior.” And that pretty much defined the personality idol that I sought. Throbbing behind ENFP for me is this counterfeit motto: ‘Effortlessly superior.’ I’m not purely and simply ENFP, I know in myself that I seek after such a persona, attempting to justify myself before this false god. (I am an appallingly sinful, proud young man and I’m aware that my experience will not be the same as others. But on the off chance that there are other who sin in these kinds of ways I offer these cautionary thoughts.)
9) I certainly had the experience (and I know others have as well) of filling out my Myers-Briggs test and being aware that my answers conformed as much to an ideal that I nurture as they did to genuine reality. This is what I mean about our personality types being aspirational. There’s a big part of me that wants to say ‘I’m not an admin person.’ And this has nothing to do with my organizational abilities. It is purely a kind of snobbery that says ‘Admin is not rock and roll.’ Certain tasks do not conform to the image I have of myself. And so I let them drop and I justify it saying ‘I am not…’
10) ENFP is not who I am. ENFP has a great deal to do with sinful choices I have made in order to navigate life according to false views of identity, justification, true life. I certainly do have a God-given temperament and I certainly do have particular spiritual gifts but I wouldn’t equate that with my Myers-Briggs type. Not at all.
Your example, codepoke, of doing admin in a different way from your gifted daughter is pretty much the perfect example of what I’m wanting to say. You are well aware that just because Myers-Briggs calls you ‘NFP’ does not excuse you from being faithful in the tasks God has given you, rather your differentness gives you a distinct and valuable way of doing that. And it certainly will involve, at many points, handing off things to others in the body who are gifted for it.
If we’re mature (like codepoke – I mean that!) we’ll handle this with humility and joy! Humility because we confess that these things are great things to do but that I am desperately inadequate for them. Joy because I rejoice in the giftings of others and the Spirit-given unity we have in Christ’s body.
If we’re immature (like me!) we’ll handle that with pride and/or despair. Pride because deep down I’m saying ‘I’m not that kind of person (whose abilities I don’t greatly value anyway).’ Despair because I’d really like to be omnicompetent and not need help.
I’m sure I’ve overstated things in my usual soap-box style. But you’ll be aware by now that these issues lie close to some pretty strong idols for me – hence the vigourous tone and lack of nuance. Correction and criticism always very welcome (he said in a very non-ENFP kind of way).