I Yam What I Yam

Popeye 5

I’m impatient, stubborn, judgmental and insensitive. And, I’m harder on myself than others. This is the list of my weaknesses for my Myers-Briggs personality type: ISTJ. I’d love to say that I don’t fit the type—that the test was inaccurate. Sadly, that would be a lie. Oh, and I’m a buy-the-book person—I follow rules to a T and live in a world of black and white. No shades of gray for me. Nope. Old Testament law all the way. So, I find it nearly impossible to lie.

Why do I bring this up? Anyone who knows me knows that I’m fascinated with personality typing, even if I’m not too keen on my own. And before I begin a novel, I go through the basics to try and pinpoint my characters. I actually prefer the Enneagram—there are only nine types rather than the sixteen with the Myers-Briggs. But that isn’t the reason for this true-confession blog post.

There has been a lot of reorganization of sorts within my husband’s business. He’s a chiropractor (for those of you who don’t know) and has run his own practice for nearly thirty years. He’s always looking to do things better with his staff—efficient but simple. We had a training day last Saturday, and one of his Chiropractic Assistants suggested we all look at our personality types in order to understand each other better—and how we can use our strengths to better serve the patients and the staff as a whole.

I tried to bypass the exercise, because I’m quite familiar with my type—and, hey, I’m not officially a staff member. Everyone on staff has a…gentler nature, for lack of a better term. There are no other “ice water for blood” types in the mix. Ironically, when Chris started with a new coach a year ago, (a chiropractor/psychologist) he had us all do a personality profile test. I was not surprised to discover that I am considered high in the dominant category. I was shocked, however, when this coach said I was the only one on staff who has the right personality to keep things running smoothly. I will admit, it was a balm to my otherwise battered ego.

It would be quite easy to justify my default attitudes by saying it’s just my personality—I can’t help myself. But that would be another lie. I’m called to emulate Jesus Christ, and I doubt anyone would label Him as impatient, stubborn, judgmental or insensitive. And, hey, He’s perfect, so He’d have no need to be hard on Himself. And although I’m made righteous through His sacrificial blood, I have a responsibility to allow the Holy Spirit into those areas that are not God-honoring.

You might be wondering (or maybe you don’t care) if there are some good qualities—strengths—within the ISTJ personality type. And there are. Honest/direct, dutiful, very responsible, calm/practical, create & enforce order and jack-of-all-trades. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? Alas, I am what I am (or as Popeye would say, “I yam what I yam.”) The truth is, God made me who I am for a reason—and it’s not to hold the world accountable to do things the way I think they should be done, although there are days I mistakenly think this is my spiritual gift!

We are all a work in progress (some of us have farther to go, for sure) and God has a plan to use each and every one of us in His plan. I’m not an ISTJ by accident—it was a divine appointment. It’s how I allow God to use me that’s the issue. Will I justify those personality traits I find repugnant or let Him do a work in me that will take the sharp edges off an otherwise usable vessel? Knowledge is power—we can’t let Him fix what we don’t know is broken.

I challenge you to discover your personality type and then allow God to shape it into something usable. It’s painful in the beginning, but the blessings that abound from the finished product… well, I’ll let you know when I get there.

2 thoughts on “I Yam What I Yam

  1. Loved this! I can so relate. I have studied the personality types for years! I find them very interesting. There was a book written many years ago called The Spirit Controlled Temperament. Mom and I use to have many discussions on that and would look at different people and try to classify them in one category or another. There’s been books about understanding your children’s types too. Ther are strengths and weaknesses for each type. I like what you said in your last paragraph about having God shape us into something useable for Him. It goes back to the surrender thing!

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