Prayer+Personality Strengths

December 15, 2016

 

Personality theories talk a lot about how we all experience the world with different strengths and weaknesses.  I love most of the personality theories out there, but tend to think through a Myers-Briggs lens, probably because it was the first that I studied. 

 

Extrovert vs. Introvert is the best known personality trait, and the easiest to understand.  How do you recharge and feel rested?  By yourself?  Or with a group of other people? 

 

I, as an extrovert, have always felt more comfortable praying WITH someone, than by myself.  Also, in times of spiritual weakness, I feel more comfortable talking ABOUT God than praying directly to Him (I'm working on this one...).  

 

When I think about an time of prayer and solitude, I have to frame it as "spending time with God, who loves me" instead of "spending time in solitude", otherwise, I avoid it like the plague. Most Introverts that I know recharge and feel connected while sitting an praying alone, or getting away from their environment.  Check out that previous post about Solitude...

 

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David Keirsey, in his book Please Understand Me II, takes the 16 Myers-Briggs types, and sorts them into 4 temperments:  NT (Rational), NF (Idealist), SP (Artisan), SJ (Guardian). Here's some quick reference points for each of the four:

  • As Concrete Cooperators, Guardians speak mostly of their duties and responsibilities, of what they can keep an eye on and take good care of, and they're careful to obey the laws, follow the rules, and respect the rights of others. 

  • As Abstract Cooperators, Idealists speak mostly of what they hope for and imagine might be possible for people, and they want to act in good conscience, always trying to reach their goals without compromising their personal code of ethics. 

  • As Concrete Utilitarians, Artisans speak mostly about what they see right in front of them, about what they can get their hands on, and they will do whatever works, whatever gives them a quick, effective payoff, even if they have to bend the rules. 

  • As Abstract Utilitarians, Rationals speak mostly of what new problems intrigue them and what new solutions they envision, and always pragmatic, they act as efficiently as possible to achieve their objectives, ignoring arbitrary rules and conventions if need be.

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I'll write more about these different types, and how to find God through each type.  For now, the Idealist, because that's my type.  

 

As an idealist, I live in future possibilities, and love to dream up new ideas.  My goal is to be as fully "myself" as possible...meaning that when I'm sad, I want to wallow, and when I'm happy, I want to celebrate.  As an Extroverted Idealist (check out Myers-Briggs ENFPs, ENFJs), I want to celebrate with my people, and cry with my people.

 

This being said, I find God in prayer easiest when I'm telling him about all of my feelings, fears, and hopes.  I do this mostly in writing, otherwise, I lose my focus and start to think about my grocery list and ways to train my pug, Omar, to not get into the trash.  

 

In the last few years, I've tried to battle that guilt and shame that I've felt for not being the "right" kind of Christian, and learned to seek God in the way that He created me to experience Him.  Talk about freedom.  I challenge myself, and try new things to experience Him beyond what I naturally do.  But in times when I feel too vulnerable and weak to try hard at something (I hate homework on the best of days), I seek Him the way I feel the most comfort.  

  • I watch a sunset to think about how He paints the sky.

  • I read a small bit of the bible (a comforting passage that I've read a bunch of times and have feelings about) until I feel His presence.

  • I talk to a friend about what He's been doing, so I can find things to be thankful for.

  • I cry, knowing that He's there to comfort me.

  • I call my Mom or Dad, my first examples of being completely accepted in this world, and remember that God loves me even more than they do. 

 

http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/overview_temperaments.asp

 

 

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