The Simple Life

I've mentioned this to everyone in my inner circle about twenty times now, but I recently took a Myers-Briggs personality test and, as it turns out, I'm an INFJ. Raise your hand if you don't know what that means!

It stands for Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging. Apparently, this is the rarest personality type because it's essentially a very strange cross-breed of introverted and extroverted. Which, to me, makes total sense. I love being around those I'm close to for hours on end, and I like to talk (ALOT), but if you take me to a party where I don't know many people, I'll sort of clam up and be ready to go in about thirty minutes. I used to to think this was because I was a little more selfish than I'd like to admit (certainly true in other cases), but now I realize it's because in situations like that I expend energy, rather than gain it like true extroverts. I don't dislike social settings; just the opposite, in fact. But I tend to be "done" much faster than some of my friends. I can recall many a get-together growing up and in college where I would be waiting ever-SO-impatiently for my friends to turn and ask, "Are you ready to go?" And now I understand why. This is brand-new exciting information for me, people. I'm eating it up like that dairy-free almond milk chocolate ice cream I found at Kroger last night.

It should go without saying (but it won't) that I was already well-aware of how I felt about the world around me. But taking this little test has given me a greater understanding about how I was created and why I feel the way I do, which makes me want to embrace my quirks rather than shy away from them. A few weeks ago, I saw a quote from Bjork on Pinterest that perfectly summed up being an INFJ and it's my new favorite thing:

"I am half child, half ancient."


I can go from waxing philosophical about the spiritual impact of social media to singing along (sans toddler) with Rapunzel in about 2.5 seconds. I am more than happy to talk for hours on end about the things that matter to me, but it needs to be with people I trust. I will jump in a rain puddle with you and then turn around and gleefully debate the merits (or lack thereof) of our presidential candidates. I will be silly and tell you too much, then probably apologize that I did, then beat myself up for apologizing. I am a dreamer and a doer, but I only do what really moves me. I struggle to commit myself to something simply because I should, and for a long time I wondered if I was just lazy because I saw so many people around me running after stuff and status. I've done it, too, and I still do it. But it's not something that comes naturally for me in every circumstance. I'll run after books all day long, but trying to grow my social media presence for the sake of selling my own book? That's tough. It feels a little bit like putting on a cute but very itchy sweater. It looks nice, but it's not very comfortable.

I feel compelled to run after stuff because the world I live in says I should. It's peer-pressure on steroids and my innate response is to want to rebel. For some people, like my husband, the pursuit of status is not about gaining the approval of other people. It's a ministry. It's the way he was created. Pierce thrives on opportunities to network and lead, to help solve problems by developing strategies for success. He's good at this, and he thoroughly enjoys it. The very thought of "networking" makes me want to snuggle up with my fleece blanket and console myself with another cup of coffee. But while Pierce and I are wired differently in our approaches to work, we both work hard. We are simply two sides of the same coin: Pierce works hard while sitting in the corporate office of a professional football team, wearing a suit and tie, while I work hard by writing for hours in yoga pants on the couch, sipping a mug of something caffeinated. At night, while I'm over on one side of the bed breezing through another historical romance, Pierce is on his side highlighting a biography on Theodore Roosevelt. But who cares as long as he's reading, is what I like to say.

I wrote a little about my struggle to embrace my INFJ-ness on Instagram just before Christmas and I'll share those thoughts again here. I've come to realize that I'm longing for something else entirely when I'm in hot pursuit of more followers or more stuff. And every time I buy into the lie that more is not only necessary, but GOOD, I'm left with the sickening sensation that I've overloaded on artificial sweets. I have a hard time recognizing the natural, full flavor of REAL.

I realize now that I am not lazy or unmotivated or bored. I am simply longing for less of the world, less of me, and more of Jesus. I don't want to be bogged down trying to use someone else's spiritual gifts; I want to move my junk out of the way and let Him show me how to use mine. Pierce can keep his networking and professional prowess. God is using it mightily. I'll be proud of my somewhat confused personality and trust that God is using it, too.

All of this learning has prompted me to purge my house these last few weeks of everything we don't absolutely need or love. It's an ongoing process, a lifestyle change, and I'm enjoying the physical look of less as much as the emotional impact it's having on my heart. I want simple not only because it's aesthetically pleasing but because it leaves more room to fill with God. I'm really just starting this journey, but I find that it's beginning to overflow into every part of my world: the way I think about food and what I put on my body, the way I work, the way I think about worship, the way I mother and love. The only thing it hasn't touched is how I write because clearly I don't believe that less is more when it comes to words. I believe one of my editors once referred to me as "verbose". 

It's exciting to think about how a more minimalist approach to life will add to the already so wonderful experience of being a child of God. I'm not turned off by messiness, and hopefully you already know that. And this is not about cleaning up my act, but rather making a way for God to move more in all areas of my life. I have a few goals for myself personally in terms of more natural ways to treat my body and skin, as well as ways we can clear out space in our home and schedules, but these are secondary to what I'm asking God to do in my heart. In our hearts. And in the roles He has called us to fill.

Whatever your gifts, whatever your approach to life, I pray that you will embrace it and allow God into every nook and cranny. We are Christ's Body and we're all equally important to His saving work here on earth. Let's celebrate what makes us His and give it all we got.

1 comment

Cassie Eliya said...

loved this! and now I want to take that test!! :)