I am going to share something today that many of you will want to come running to help me fix my thinking on, and others will possibly be offended. However, this year I am learning to own myself. I have mentioned in my weekly goals that I have begun reading The Highly Sensitive Person, and I am also doing a Go-To-Bed-Challenge. In both of these endeavors I have been encouraged to know who I am, how I am motivated, and what makes me tick. Instead of feeling like I have in the past, that something is wrong with me and I must be going crazy, I am finding that I am a rare and special specimen of creation. My perfectionism has flaws, of course, but there is also a depth to the tasks I undertake that makes for lasting systems. Instead of being angry about how other people don’t care I have been learning to recognize that there is value to people who are able to make snap decisions. There have been huge lessons for me in this, but today I felt compelled to share just one piece of the puzzle. This may seem like a bunny trail, but don’t worry, I am going to get back to the question I posed at the beginning.
The Go-To-Bed-Challenge from Red & Honey includes a daily email where she talks through different aspects of why we stay up late, and why we need to sleep. In one of these emails she shared about her personality type and how it has helped her to know her personality type when thinking about motivations. I related to some of what she was saying, but not all of it as she went letter by letter in her personality type. She shared the site she had used to investigate herself, and I decided that instead of playing video games with Louis during our computer time after the kids went down I could look at this site. I took the test and what I found was amazing! It was not brand new information that I am INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging), but the way it was presented. It mirrored exactly my experience in reading the beginning of The Highly Sensitive Person.
For years HSP (Highly Sensitive Persons) have been diagnosed and labeled all over the place: neurotic, gifted, mental processing disorders, crazy, shy, loner, and so many others. The result is that I have felt strange, different, unnecessary, and unwanted. It is hard to be my friend on the level I want to be friends. So I have built a defense of thinking that no one wants to be my friend, and if they do they will run away soon. I dive in so deep with people I make them uncomfortable, but I would rather they know who I am right away, and I can’t stand to waste time on small talk. This is just a small, tiny, blog-size portion of this of course.
But now I was reading on this personality test results:
The INFJ personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As Diplomats (NF), they have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is the accompanying Judging (J) trait – INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.
I am currently beginning to memorize 1 Peter 2:4 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,” and this clicked right away with that verse. God is telling me, “The world has rejected your way of living, but I chose you before you even lived that way.” It is chilling and exciting, goosebumps all over, to realize that.
Then other things jumped out from the personality test results, and I realized, I am wanted and needed. I have a purpose among the rest of the body.
INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.
The positive way that these test results were shared made me like myself, which is a rare thing.
So, back to my original question.
WHAT IS STOPPING YOU?
If you read that and had an emotional response of any kind, I don’t need to ask the question before. I don’t need to tell you what it is that you aren’t doing, but know that God has called you to do.
My answer is this: God has called me into many things, but others are intimidated by my doing them, so I don’t. I act like I don’t need more friends when I desperately want friendships. I pretend that I am happy with my relationships as is so that I don’t rock the boat.
I read over 10 chapters of the ESV Bible every night to my three-year-old son. I plan on reading two entire books each week (plus a cozy mystery most weeks). I want to memorize Scripture, and I want to write a book, and I want to solve anything I can within our organization here in MENA. I want to revolutionize the way Lutherans look at the world, and make Lutherans into missionaries again. I want to speak Levantine Arabic, Formal Arabic, Swahili, and possibly French. I want to adopt and have more children so that I have at least 5 children.
What is stopping me?
When people comment on my weekly goals they are shocked. It doesn’t matter how few I have, there will always be a shock ripple through people when they see what I expect of myself. So, I stop. Yes, it is people pleasing, but it didn’t occur to me how damaging it was to the things God has called me to do on this earth.
I shared recently about my goal to memorize 52 verses this year. Well, I was encouraged by Joy Houssney in this goal, which is how I finally got that blog post written. She shared about her own story and when she came to Christ how she was encouraged to memorize 1000 verses. I was awed by that, and as soon as I was the one sighing in amazement I realized, people are not judging me. I didn’t feel like I had to go memorize 1000 verses right away to continue being her friend, and I don’t expect anyone else to follow my goals. I am seeking God, seeking His Will for my life. And I am going to stop letting what other people matter as much. I do want to memorize 1000 verses now, so I am going to keep looking for that many verses that I want to know, and I am going to keep going to Memverse every day so that I can eventually get there.
All of you are an encouragement to me, and when you reply to these posts I am reminded that I am God’s Princess. I am not in need of pleasing others, but by pleasing God I will soon have even my enemies at peace with me.