41 responses

  1. Emily
    January 16, 2014

    Hi Sheila,

    As usual, I find myself nodding in agreement with (almost) everything you say. There is a tendency for ESFP to be the “perfect” ideal of what women in the church should be. But you say that as ENTJ you are the complete opposite. Not quite. You are still E, not I.
    Try being an INTJ woman in an ESFP church. I say the wrong things, challenge the status quo, and don’t think men are the only ones with leadership abilities. And then *gasp* I want time all by myself to recharge!!

    Square peg in a round hole? Well, over the years I’ve concluded I’m more of a parallelogram. And I’m ok with that. Because if you get a parallelogram the right shape, it’s a diamond. :)

    • Megan
      January 16, 2014

      Oh yes. INTJ… with a very strong I. I don’t fit well either.. esp in this stage of small children. I had no idea how much motherhood would challenge my introversion. I say no to lots of things. LOTS of good ministries, or expectations from others, bc saying yes would stretch me too far. I’ve found a balance to be able to really invest in my littles- and primarily it means saying no to outside things right now. Does this narrow balance get better as they get older and a little more independent?

      • Emily
        January 16, 2014

        The balance does start to shift a bit.
        I have 4 children, ranging from 13 down to 4. Their being able to entertain themselves for parts of the day gives me space to recharge. There are still a lot of ministries I say no to. (yes, I homeschool my children. no, that doesn’t mean I want to teach them on Sunday mornings too!. No, no, no!!)

        When they were very little, I used to keep a Bible in the bathroom or a couple of ‘currently relevant’ verses taped to the wall. Every time I was in there, I got a quick reminder of why I was investing so much in these little people.

        There are seasons in life. There is such a short time while our children are little. The day will come when they don’t want to sit on my lap and hear a story. I don’t want to look back and wish I’d spent more time on the floor playing trains. On the other hand, there are only so many Boynton books I can handle in a morning!
        Another thing that helped for me, was to have my husband more or less take over the bed time routine. He works all day, and arrives home about bed time. So dinner as a family is a weekend thing, but bed time stories, Bible story, and chat and pray with daddy is what my children expect. And that hour is MY time. I do not use it to clean, nor to sort laundry, nor to straighten the kitchen. I use it to read a book, to knit, to play the piano or my clarinet, to take a walk, to do something that will restore me to at least approaching sanity so that once the children are in bed I’m ready to spend time with my husband.

      • Megan
        January 16, 2014

        Thank you for this thoughtful reply! My husband takes bedtime with the older kiddo (the 1 yr is still nursing) and that’s so helpful! If he didn’t do that, there wouldn’t be anything left for him in the evening. :)

    • Jessica Harris
      January 16, 2014

      INTJ’s unite! haha.

      It is definitely a struggle to operate in a church setting. I am a feather-ruffler for certain. Once in a small group brainstorming session, they asked people to list off the importance of small groups. I waited, and listened as others in the room just gave the Christian answers and quoted Scripture. I couldn’t stand it anymore, raised my hand (hello, introvert) and said, “I don’t think they ARE important. I haven’t been to one in a year. I don’t have time in my schedule to drive 30 minutes just to hang out with people I don’t even like. They could be great, but the way they are set up right now is a waste of time.” It opened up great discussion. Afterwards, one of the pastors came up to me and said, “Thank you. Thank you for just being real and for setting the tone that people didn’t just have to say what they thought we wanted to hear.” Just call me can-opener.

      For a while, I actually had brothers and sisters in Christ tell me that there was something wrong with me because I’ll get all fired up about certain things and then I’ll go lock myself in my room and crash. I have explained so many times that I am an introvert. That doesn’t mean I hate people; it just means I really like my space :-) Like A. LOT. Yes, I can lead, but only if no one else wants to. Yes, I can go to a party, but not for long before I start to shut down.

      I am also convinced that being an INTJ Christian woman is one of the reason I’m still single. Just too hot to handle… ;-) :-D
      Jessica Harris recently posted…Maintenance vs. MomentumMy Profile

      • Megan
        January 16, 2014

        I’m an INTJ married to a totally free-spirit who thrives on contact with others. I’m not sure how it happened, honestly. I need to get him to take this personality test. :) The INTJ statements about relationships being hard is so true! God just caught the two of us at the right time I guess.

        Good for you for being brave and honest. My coping method for my need to be real as been to just not speak at all… I’d rather be quiet than be real and risk judgement for my opinions in a group. But those closest to me get the earful of opinions on the way home! Ha!

      • Megan
        January 16, 2014

        PS I think INTJs like reading blogs. Its like having contact with others, but totally on your own terms. :P

      • Sheila
        January 16, 2014

        Ha!

      • Dan
        January 16, 2014

        I’m a male and an INFP last I checked. That is exactly why I like blogging. I can pick my friends. I go where I’m welcome, talk to people with the same interest and hopefully learn something. We don’t have to always agree either. It isn’t about burying my head in a common digital sand on topics. I just like being with people I like, and yes, if they were all in the same room I would enjoy being with them, but would withdraw from anyone with a strong E leaning that might be inclined to dominate the other I’s…like me.
        Dan recently posted…The Crucible Concept ® Part 2My Profile

      • sharon
        January 16, 2014

        I so get this!! The being a leader and ruffling feathers…I don’t mean to ruffle anyone’s feathers truly I don’t! I’ve even tried just shutting my mouth, but that doesn’t seem to work either. Sigh…Just let me go in my room, close the door and write my blog okay? LOL
        sharon recently posted…Called to Live and Preach ChristMy Profile

  2. Irene
    January 16, 2014

    I’m absolutely an ESFP, but just as you, I have a sister and husband who encourages me to stand up for what’s not right, to voice my opinions and giving in to change. Although I find it difficult, I have a great support system !

  3. Davita
    January 16, 2014

    Where can I find more information to pursue figuring out my personality type? All the online “tests” say I need an educated person in this area to administer the test. Where would I find such a person? I believe doing this would solve a LOT of issues in our marriage, as I believe we are contrasting personality types and we don’t always jive.

    • Sheila
      January 16, 2014

      I don’t know, but if you google there are likely some free online ones. They won’t be as accurate as the long one you take. I can’t link to them because my mom IS a certified MBTI trainer and administrator, and so it would be violating the family code. But I know my daughter found a bunch online you can take!

      • Bethany
        January 16, 2014

        I was just checking this morning on the MBTI website, and it looks like there is at least one that you can take entirely on-line. It’s an official one, but interactive so that you can do it directly through the website. I think it costs about $50.

      • Sheila
        January 16, 2014

        Cool! Can you give me the link?

      • Bethany
        January 16, 2014
      • Elizabeth C
        January 17, 2014

        Here is a really accurate free test: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

  4. KellyK(@RNCCRN9706)
    January 16, 2014

    I’m an ISTJ ;)

  5. KellyK(@RNCCRN9706)
    January 16, 2014

    Are ENTJ’s not touchy-Feely type of people?

    • Sheila
      January 16, 2014

      Nope! We’re thinkers and planners. We can be very fun at a party because we are very extroverted, but in general we’re big idea, logic, efficiency type of people.

  6. Tonia
    January 16, 2014

    Wow, Because of this post and your previous post on personality’s I decided to retake the test and got the same results as before INTJ. As mentioned above, it can be very difficult to find your place in a traditional church, because we tend to see things and express ourselves differently.

    So I decided to look into it a bit further and discovered it is a very rare personality type. Only 1-3% of females and 2-6% of males fit within that type. Perhaps it’s a good thing since one of our nicknames is “Mastermind” which is not always flattering. I was encouraged to discover that one of my favorite authors was INTJ, C.S. Lewis. Start looking into some of the POP charts where the apply it to popular programs and books and it’s less encouraging. I share places with the “Emperor” on Star Wars, Draco Malfoy of Harry Potter, and Mrs. O’Brein of Downton Abbey. On the positive side I share places with Erond of Lord of the Rings & he is a personal favorite.

    I think what stood out to me is the fact that the personality is very good at achieving it’s goals. The issue will be what are the values that drive the goals. If the values are selfish, then it would be so easy for cruelty to take over to such and extent that you wouldn’t care very much about who was hurt in the process. If however you value the welfare of others above your own then you can use those skills and talents that God has giving you to help teach, or lead in a way that serves God.

    I had and in some ways still have a hard time finding a way to serve in my Church but God did show me a way. It’s a small Church so I teach a weekly class, as well as organize a memory verse challenge each week for our kids. I also plan the VBS for our church & I have found it both challenging and enriching. Since we are such a small church my tendency to find a way that works, even if it’s not the way that it’s always been done before has helped with VBS and the memory challenge. When it comes to so many positions being traditionally filled by men in general, and my seeing how in some cases a particular women would be better, it has at times hurt.

    I have been so blessed though that people are at least willing to hear me out when I want to try something new. Most of the time that has been key. The fact that they can see a reasoning behind it, not just willfulness has made a huge difference in how we see one another. Communication is said to be an issue to INTJ’s, they don’t always explain their reasoning in a way that others understand.

    After reading all of this I wish I had learned about personality types years ago. I feel like I wasted 10+ years trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, and in all reality, I just needed to work on my people/communication skills.

  7. Davita
    January 16, 2014

    I took one of the free online tests (about 100 questions). I don’t know how accurate it is, but it says I’m an ENTJ. Which I figured I am. However, being an only child, I can be OK with being alone, and I find comfort in it. It’s 50/50. Sometimes all I want is alone time. Other times I want to be the center of the party – especially if I planned the party. I’m the first one with party plans in my own home, or under my terms. I’m a control freak. Out-of-control or un-planned and I don’t get along. I’m an organizer. Phew. Did I just describe an ENTJ or what?!

  8. Meghan
    January 16, 2014

    What a great post, Sheila! Are you going to profile other MBTI types? I’m an ENFJ – but just barely E. I took the test years ago for work and would love to learn more about my type in terms of relationships and non employment contexts …

  9. Sharon
    January 16, 2014

    I am a INTJ and echo what my “sisters” have already expressed it is hard at times to fit in at church especially if God has called you to lead! :-)
    Sharon recently posted…Called to Live and Preach ChristMy Profile

  10. Tracy
    January 16, 2014

    I’m an ISTJ. Very introverted. So much so, in fact, that I don’t get involved in any of my church’s ministries unless I’m directly asked. The online test I took had my J factor stronger than my T factor, but I believe my T is stronger than my J.

  11. Priscilla
    January 16, 2014

    INTJ here, too. I’m starting to second guess the percentages given to different types.
    I find the ENTP as the “perfect Christian woman” type a very interesting choice. As the exact opposite, I’d agree that it makes sense.

  12. Yolande
    January 17, 2014

    I would love to hear how the different personalities could use their “gifts” for areas of ministry. When I looked for resources on this, there is very limited information out there. ie crisis organization work, youth group leader, or counselling.

    • Laura
      January 17, 2014

      I love this! I am an ISTJ on the MBTI, but one of the other personality tests (actually not sure if it is a true personality test) that I had to take for work recently was StrengthsFinder. I really loved this assessment. The basis of this book/test was that instead of focusing on your weaknesses, if you instead focus on your strengths, what you are able to accomplish will be multiplied. It isn’t all positive- it tells you what to watch out for with your type as well- but mostly it focuses on the equation of talent x investment = strength. If you have a lot of talent in one area, but don’t invest much there, your strength there will only be minimal. Likewise, if you have little talent but invest a lot of time, your strength still will be minimal. However, if you are talented there and make the investment in your talent, your strength will be multiplied. Not only was it spot on for me, but I loved the spin by focusing on enhancing our strengths rather than overcoming our weaknesses. Sure, first and foremost, we must listen to what God is telling us to do and even if it is a weakness of ours, we must remember Phillippians 4:13. However, as a general rule I would love to know how I could better use my strengths or “gifts” to glorify the kingdom of God.

      • Sheila
        January 17, 2014

        Love that! Thanks for that comment. May copy and paste it for a follow up. :)

  13. David Murrow
    January 17, 2014

    I’m an ESPN

    • Sheila
      January 17, 2014

      Ha!

  14. Jenn (Student Mom)
    January 17, 2014

    I’m looking at all these comments and feeling a little lonely – I’m an ENTP. And I seem to be on my own.
    I did the test originally when someone blogged about being a Downton Abbey personality using the Meyers-Briggs method – I’m the mother, apparently.
    Jenn (Student Mom) recently posted…WLW – Book ClubMy Profile

  15. Anonymous Please
    January 17, 2014

    Wow…ISFJ. (can you say “doormat??”) Not what I was expecting! I took the test about 15 years ago and was INFP. I must have changed over the last few years!

    • Bethany
      January 17, 2014

      Awh!! I fluctuate between that and INFJ, and always feel rather irritated after reading my personality descriptions for ISFJ. I don’t think it’s actually possible to have a bad personality though :) I wonder what kinds of things about you have actually changed in your life since you tested INFP? Sometimes I think it is also our perceptions of ourselves and our motivations that change. Anyway, I hear you.

  16. Shelli Mader
    January 17, 2014

    Thanks! This really sheds light on my personality! I am surrounded by ENTJ and am frustrated that I always feel like a doormat. I like to keep everyone happy at home and church and I just can’t seem to :)

  17. Bill
    January 19, 2014
  18. Alicia
    January 19, 2014

    INFP here…although I’ve gotten a lot less introverted as I’ve gotten older, although I can be logical and detail oriented at times. Oh, and throw in a tendency for a little attention deficit disorder (not hyper though) and many days I don’t know if I’m coming or going! Let’s add a husband who I’m sure is my polar opposite in many ways too. I’m just glad that GOD didn’t make us all the same or give us all the same gifts!

    Oh, and I did http://www.16personalities.com to figure my type out, and checked on http://www.personalitypathways.com too.

  19. Vicki
    April 14, 2014

    Jesus was fully human, so therefore he must have had an MBTI type. He could no more be “perfectly balanced” in personality type than any other fully human person. He was an INFJ, if you read the scripture closely. I’m an INFJ female. The fact that I’m nearly completely opposite from ESFP women (except for the F) explains why I never could fit in to the local churchy-women culture. However, having the same personality type as Jesus makes it much easier to feel close to Jesus, which is, of course, the whole point.

  20. Cindy
    August 23, 2014

    Yep, this seems to sum up women who do very well in church circles today–happy (to help draw in new members), helpful (overworked), passive (won’t stand up for themselves, even when the authority is wrong or unbiblical doctrines are being taught), detailed (because the pastor demands perfection in all things–um, I mean, “excellence”), and interested in others (until they don’t sign up to volunteer for countless ministries in the church. In that case, the passive “perfect Christian” woman simply distances herself). Such fakery is why women are leaving churches in droves–why “play the game” in church when you can study the bible on your own, or study and serve with likeminded people away from the church?

  21. Rachel R.
    September 14, 2014

    Sheila, can you write more about being an ENTJ? I am an ENTJ, too, and REALLY struggle with it. I have NO idea how to be myself and still be “acceptable.” And no one is talking about it because they just…I don’t know, kind of pretend we don’t exist or something. It’s as if there are the sweet, gentle, domestic Christian women, and there are the men, and as far as the Church is concerned, that’s it.

    So I feel like my personality and abilities totally clash with my belief system (which, as you know, is pretty important to an ENTJ, so it’s like fighting with MYSELF!), I stink at all the things I’m “supposed” to do, and the things that I really “shine” at are useless because I’m not allowed to use them. And everyone is trying to make me into someone else – either because I don’t fit the mold of the “good Christian woman” or just because I make them uncomfortable. (Just as a for-instance, I like to debate. But I don’t get to, because the gentler personalities around me get upset/stressed when they hear even a friendly debate in the same general vicinity, even if it doesn’t involve them. But they are never asked/expected to go somewhere else; I’m just expected to “sit down and shut up.”)

    I don’t mean to whine or complain, this is just something I’ve struggled with for YEARS, and I can’t figure out how or where to find answers because no one seems to understand the problem in the first place. So I’m hoping you will. :)

    (Also, another “vote” here for StrengthsFinder. It’s not a personality thing, exactly. It’s complementary to personality typing systems, not a replacement for them. But very enlightening and useful! My mom and a lot of the others at an organization she’s part of took it and it’s been really helpful for them to understand where the others’ are coming from.)
    Rachel R. recently posted…Learning About Essential OilsMy Profile

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