Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test? I had never heard of it until both the Presbyterian Church and the USAF require that I take it. At first, it sounded bizzare to me that you could categorize people with one of sixteen basic personalities. But the more I thought about the results, the more I became a fan.
One area that I score differently from most of my family, friends, and colleauges is on the last variable which scores as P or J. “Ps” are people who like things free flow, enjoy creativity, and do not live by a schedule. “Js” are people who like structure, plans, and lists. Not surprisingly, the Presbyterian Church with its “Book of Order” and the USAF with its multitude of regulations are filled with J’s. I am also married to a “J”. Yet, I am a “P”.
Lesley has a good friend who is a dancer and who recently took the Myers-Briggs test on Facebook. She also came up as a “P” which Lesley found interesting. To dance, you have to perform exact steps in an exact time. That seemed very rules oriented to her. Yet she thrives and shows creativity in that world. Although I am about as far as a dancer as one can be, I believe she found her friend and her husband are similar.
I remember while visiting Central America they would explain that in that culture they are not so time oriented. If a worship service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m., it just means that’s about when it starts. But if everyone gets there at 10:45 it would start then. But if something comes up it starts at 11:15. I laughed and said I would love that but that would drive most everyone I know and love crazy. That’s certainly how I approach my vacations. I want to do X but I’ll do it when I get around to it.
Yet, I don’t choose to work in such a culture or environment because I appreciate the way the “J’s” of this world get things done. Lesley being a “J” helps structure things at home. Neither the Presbyterian Church or the USAF would look anything like it does today if “P’s” designed them – but I love serving in those environments. The organizational skills of J’s let’s us make great use of the work that has been done before us.
But I know my success professionally and personally comes from my creative side. It is how I sense what to preach, teach, and how to counsel. It is how I have helped any number of places I have worked solve old problems in new ways. I always say, “I like to color within the lines. You don’t have to worry about me going outside of the lines. But let me determine how I color.”
Have you taken the Myers-Briggs test? How do you come out on the “J” and “P” scale? How does your personality help you do to the things God has called you to do? Are you the organizer? If so, who is the creative person in your midst? Are you creative? Who is it that helps keep you on track? How are the ways God has made you helpful to your family, friends, and co-workers? Do you ever fall into the trap of being intollerant because you want others to be just like you?
Some food for thought.
All the best and In Christ,