Saturday, May 5, 2018

It's not about the cow (it's love, of course)

I love trying to identify personality types. I don't assume that I'm right, and I understand that people are more nuanced and complicated than a type. But it is interesting and helpful to think about as a way of understanding where people are coming from. I am especially interested in my kids' types as they are getting older, though I'm not certain I know or that they won't change and surprise me.

The easiest part of the Myers-Briggs to identify is the TJ (Thinking/Judging). I am a high FP (Feeling/Perceiving), and it feels like the whole world is a TJ.



Two of my kids are definitely TJ's, and I love (and can be exasperated by) the way their minds work. Today is a great example. I was reading aloud over breakfast. The previous chapter ended with a cow being killed by a bear, and this chapter opened with this sentence:

"Wilbur says I'm grief crazy sad . . ."

I couldn't even finish the sentence before Josie interjected. She already knew what the chapter was about, May Amelia was "grief-crazy sad" because their cow died, and she continued on with several more observations as if she had just finished reading the entire book.

In fact May Amelia's grief had nothing to do with the cow, this was a part of the story she couldn't have seen coming, the part with the cow was sad but she had no idea why May Amelia would be grief crazy sad. She hadn't yet heard the chapter.

This seems to be the way the whole world is interacting currently.

We look up a name and can instantly cast a person into one group or party or another, and then we are done listening.

We read a headline and believe or disbelieve the entire article based on where it was published.

We enter into conversations already disbelieving, already armed with rebuttals.

We assume that no one with a differing opinion is as intelligent, thoughtful, god-fearing, or well-informed as our group.

We just finished the chapter about the cow. The cow is dead, everyone knows what this chapter will be about.

FP's to the rescue.

Sometimes I'm insecure about my FP-ness. And for good reason. I struggle to make decisions, I can be a huge pushover, I'm often ruled by my feelings (oh, my word, why is being ruled by one's thoughts a superior virtue?) We are often perceived as weak and not taken seriously.

As I've gotten older I've grown into my FP-ness. It's the way God made a few of us, there must be a purpose.

Maybe it's because we're willing to wait for the next chapter. We don't believe we've arrived and we're open and willing to listen. We hesitate to make judgments and sometimes that's a good thing.

We usually begin with the assumption that there are people smarter, braver, with understandings and perspectives which we can learn from.

We can hear something with our mind, but if it doesn't engage our heart, if it doesn't resonate in our intuition, if it isn't beautiful, it just never settles.

FP's are quite comfortable with wonder, with hopefulness, with not knowing everything.


In his book You Are What You Love, James K.A. Smith makes the case that human beings are first and foremost lovers. (Great book! Highly recommend).

"To question thinking-thingism is not the same as rejecting thinking. To recognize the limits of knowledge is not to embrace ignorance. We don't need less than knowledge; we need more."
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless . . . Phil.1:9,10
". . . love is the condition for knowledge. It's not that I know in order to love, but rather: I love in order to know. And if we are going to discern "what is best"- what is "excellent," what really matters, what is of ultimate importance- Paul tells us that the place to start is by attending to our loves."

". . . It's a question not of whether you long for some version of the kingdom but of which version you long for. This is true for any human being; it is a structural feature of human creatureliness. You can't not love. It's why the heart is the seat and fulcrum of the human person, the engine that drives our existence. We are lovers first and foremost. "


I love the Thinking/Judging people in my life (I married one). They keep me grounded, they help me make decisions, we laugh at my lack of logic. But that doesn't mean our TJ's don't need us. I don't apologize for my feeling and perceiving anymore.

I have great affection for the number Pi. As a person who struggles to understand most math, my ears perk up hearing about this irrational number which lurks in every circle, appears to go on forever, seeming randomly distributed, has never been solved. There will always be this gap in our knowing, a fault in every fact, the crack in human logic. It is love, of course.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

YES, my fellow INFP! YES!