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Four Little Letters That Changed My Perspective

If you’ve never heard of the MBTI Test, or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I would highly recommend doing so, and as soon as possible. In a nutshell, you answer a series of questions about your personality and what you are more prone to do in certain situations, and then you are given your four-letter type. There are 16 types, and theoretically, everyone falls into one of those types. [I’ll post a few links at the end of this post to some of the better MBTI tests for you, if you’re interested in figuring out your own type.]

I know that the MBTI test is not 100% accurate, but it is accurate more often than not, as long as the questions are answered honestly and to the best of your ability. When I was 12, I remember taking a shortened version of the test, but all I can remember was that the first letter of my type was “I,” which means Introverted. It wasn’t until more recently that I became more interested in knowing my personality type, mainly because I wondered if there was anyone in the world who was somewhat like me.

Mind as Wide as the Sky

All my life, I’ve had an overactive imagination. Thoughts that just wouldn’t shut off, no matter how hard I would try to just stop thinking for even a moment of peace. No, I don’t hear voices in my head; I’m just constantly thinking. Even as I write this post, I’ve had literally dozens of thoughts completely unrelated to this post fly through my mind like a flash of lightning.

I’m quiet and reserved on the outside, but on the inside, I’m the funniest person in the room, making people smile and laugh. I just can’t seem to bring what I am on the inside to show on the outside, and that’s something I’ve always struggled with, even when I was a child. I can form the most eloquent thoughts and the wittiest comebacks in my mind, but when I open my mouth, the words come out all twisted, or they don’t come out at all.

One last thing, then I’ll get to the point of this post; I promise. I also have an uncanny knack of being able to just look at a person and figure out what it is that they’re feeling or whether they are being genuine or not, and I’m usually right, 9 times out of 10. I observe people without even realizing it, and I can pick up on their body language, the words they’re saying (or not saying), and other little cues of the like. It’s rather like being a Sherlock Holmes, or a Miss Marple, actually; always observing the little things and asking myself why things or people are the way they are.

I’ve taken the test several times to be sure, trying to be honest each time, and I keep getting the same result.

INFJ.

I for Introverted.

N for I(N)tuitive.

F for Feeling.

J for Judging.

And from the first description of the INFJ type, it felt like coming home. Finally, someone actually knew me! It was like reading a diary of my life, just written by another person. Creative, yes. Sensitive, check. Insightful and Perfectionistic, double check. Those four little letters suddenly meant a lot to me, giving me a new perspective on why I do the little things like I do. It has been so encouraging, and it has also made me think about how I can use the quirks and functions of my personality in my walk with the Lord.

Finally, I can see the benefit in thinking about my own unique personality that God has given me, and using the things I best function at for the glory of His kingdom. I don’t feel so “weird” anymore, or that no one understands me. Now, I can work towards using the best parts of my personality to serve the Lord in new and different ways, and who would have thought that all it would take were four little letters?

Take the MBTI Test:

16 Personalities site (also has really great descriptions for each type)

Similar Minds site (just put in your gender, then take the test!)

The test isn’t infallible, so keep that in mind when you’re taking it. Otherwise, have fun, and if you want, let me know what type you are! If you are a fellow INFJ like me, check out my INFJ-Outgoing Introvert board on Pinterest.

Have a lovely weekend – I’ll be writing. NaNoWriMo First-timer right here, and I’m itching to get started!

 

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Aside
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The man of true faith may live in the absolute assurance that his steps are ordered by the Lord. For him misfortune is outside the bounds of possibility. He cannot be torn from this earth one hour ahead of the time, which God has appointed, and he cannot be detained on earth one moment after God is done with him here. He is not a waif of the wide world, a foundling of time and space, but a saint of the Lord and the darling of His particular care.
-A.W. Tozer

It’s comforting to know that I’m not a foundling of time and space, but a darling of the Lord that receives His special care. Things have been kind of hazy for me when it comes to the future, and this gives me reassurance that all will come together at last.

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Heartspeak: On Poetry

Nor moon, nor stars were out;
They did not dare to tread so soon about,
Though trembling, in the footsteps of the sun:
The light was neither night’s nor day’s, but one
Which, life-like, had a beauty in its doubt.
And silence’s impassioned breathings round
Seemed wandering into sound.

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Recently, I’ve discovered the beautiful poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and that of her husband, Robert Browning. It is so interesting for me to read their poetry, and compare the similarities and differences between them. Personally, I like Elizabeth’s better, but that is mainly because the elegant emotion in her poetry speaks to me, in a way.

Poetry has always given me great joy and pleasure to read; the way the words are crafted in such odd and unique ways as to show the reader a beautiful picture has always fascinated me. Oftentimes, my library books consist of collections of old English poems or volumes of an individual poet. Currently, I’m reading Tennyson, and a rather hefty tome of poetry from the Victorian era; I already finished the collection of poems from the Brownings.

What if we still ride on, we two
With life for ever old yet new,
Changed not in kind but in degree,
The instant made eternity, —
And heaven just prove that I and she
Ride, ride together, for ever ride?

– Robert Browning

I’ve written several poems, and in fact, poetry is one of the ways that I love to tell a story, to capture a moment in time. Words sound beautiful to me, and the emotion that can be evoked in a single sentence makes me love them all the more. Sometimes, I believe that in this world of texting, tweeting, and yes, even blogging, that the eloquence of words and speech has been lost. To me, how someone uses words tells me a lot about them, and all too often, the words I hear today are such poor facsimiles for the words they’ve replaced.

A feeling of sadness and longing, that is not akin to pain,
and resembles sorrow only as the mist resembles the rain.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Poetry speaks for me in the words that I wish I could say, and I suppose that is why I shall always treasure it, search for it, and love it. In parting, let me add just one more poem for you to enjoy:

They parted–ne’er to meet again!
But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from paining!
They stood aloof, the scars remaining;
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder!
A dreary sea now flows between;
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
Shall wholly do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once had been.

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Do you like poetry? Have a favorite poet? I’m always looking for new poetry to read, so comment and tell me!

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Heartspeak: On Family & Loving One Another

When I was away at college, I tried to prepare myself for the homesickness that everyone said would come. Well, it came alright. Right after my Mom and Dad and Little Brother and Little Sister left my dorm room, got in their car, and drove 3 hours back to the house I no longer occupied. I sat down on my bed, crying softly so I didn’t make my suitemate come bursting through the adjoining bathroom door, asking me what the matter was. After a while, I got up, straightened and put away the rest of my things. I knew that this was a new chapter in my life as an adult, living in a dorm, making my own decisions, and having that “college experience” that everyone spoke of so fondly.

I visited home every two weeks for the first and only semester that I lived in that college dorm.

My family was my comfort zone. They were the people who I knew inside and out, all their little quirks and idiosyncrasies. They were a-ok, as my college roomie (one of my dearest friends) would say. Sure, I still made lots of great friends, had a few interesting experiences (late night breakfast the day before final exams), and learned a lot about myself that semester, but my family were the ones who helped me to stick it out for one whole semester away at college.

Some people might wonder why I love my family like I do.

Well, to be perfectly honest, I don’t quite know why myself.

I suppose a lot of our love for each other comes from actually being together long enough to get to know one another and build memories together. While we lived overseas, we were pretty much some of the only friends each other had. At the end of a long day speaking and thinking in another language, we enjoyed coming back together and talking in English. Slowly, our family no longer was just a group of people all stuck together by the same blood; we became a single unit, and that’s how we like it.

All of us kids are getting older, and even now, I feel the tugging of being drawn to serve in other places and live my life with the Lord. For now, however I’m content to be at home now while I’m finishing up my degree. Every day, I keep learning more about adulthood from Mom and Dad, and my brother and sister keep on amazing me with their growing maturity and thoughts about life. Boy, I just can’t thank the Father enough for the family he gave me.

We’ve been through quite a lot. Seen a lot of things. And I couldn’t have asked for a better family to share my life with than the four people that never fail to make me laugh and see life in entirely new perspectives.

 

Recent family adventure to Colorado.

Recent family adventure to Colorado.

P.S. So sorry that I didn’t get out a Weekly Gathering this week! Homework and allergies (I hate ragweed!) caught me off guard. It’ll be up next week, I promise! 🙂

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Heartspeak: On Being a Friend

Friendships are fragile things, and require as much care in handling as any other fragile and precious thing.
–Randolph S. Bourne

Friends are wonderful, and I am certainly not exaggerating when I say that a good friend is a lovely blessing in one’s life. I am so thankful to have been bestowed with so many of those lovely blessings, many of whom are scattered to the four corners of the globe (which is rather funny since the world is round).  Despite having so many friends that I hold very dear to my heart, at times I feel very hesitant when it comes to making new friends.

I am by no means a snob. I would say that I am generally a more accepting and trusting person than a lot of people my age, and if you disagree with my statement, I would politely venture to say that it has been awhile since you visited a high school or a college (although I have had better experiences at most colleges, to be completely honest). For many years, however, I have struggled with reaching out and making friends, and it hasn’t been until recently that I finally figured out the reason for my hesitance.

I am very good at being unavailable.

Unavailable, you might ask? How is that a good reason for avoiding friendships with other people? To tell the truth, that’s the whole point: it isn’t a good reason.

friendship

Yes, I’m there for my friends always, and I say as much to them. “Text me (although I might not answer). Call me (although I might not get your call). Let’s meet up and hang out soon (although I don’t know when that will be).” I say all of these things with the best intentions, and for the most part, I do keep in touch with my friends. Time passes, and I suddenly find myself out of touch with those people I hold most dear, and I’m stuck scratching my head, wondering how on earth did that happen?

It happened because I allowed it to happen. I started holding my friends at an arm’s length… again.

I didn’t distance myself from my friends because I didn’t love them, so what excuse do I have for my not-very-loving behavior towards them? I don’t really know, to be perfectly honest. Some of it might come from having moved around so much during my life, and not wanting to be hurt again when it came time to say goodbye to the friends I had made. I could blame some of it on my particular dislike for smartphones and Facebook (although ironically, Facebook is how I stay in touch with most of my friends). And yet, those are not really the reasons for my disconnection with friends.

I guess I’m not too sure why I have such trouble staying in touch with my friends, but it’s something that I will continue to bring before the Throne of my Father. For all of my friends that are reading this, please know that I love you dearly, each and every one of you! If you haven’t heard from me in a while, just know that I still do love you and think about you often. I am so blessed to know you all, and I pray that it won’t be long before I do see you all again, whether it’s here or Heaven! (What a day that will be!)

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Heartspeak: A Childhood Dream

I can still remember it vividly, the low wooden bookshelf that stood against the wall in the corner of my bedroom. I was 7 or 8 years old then, and that bookshelf meant the world to me. Or rather, the books it held did. Even then I loved books, and I had already read several abridged classics, like Oliver Twist and Around the World in Eighty Days. My bookshelf was also crammed with Nancy Drew mysteries and almost the whole Ramona series. Each book was a treasured possession, and I probably read each of them a dozen times.

But one row of books was different than all the rest, and they were the most precious of all. They were my missionary books, and I read them over and over again until I had them nearly memorized. My favorite books were those about Lottie Moon, Gladys Aylward, Amy Carmichael, and Mary Slessor. I can remember reading about their lives in foreign places like China, India, and Africa, and marveling at how they depended and trusted God in their daily lives for strength and protection. Mary Slessor and Gladys Aylward were always two of my favorites, mainly because they both adopted children that no one else wanted or cared for. Even now as an adult, I still remember those stories about the brave but ordinary single women that God called to serve in some of the most difficult places in the world.

africa1

When I went to Africa last autumn, I couldn’t quite believe where I was. Out of all of the places I had ever imagined myself being, Africa was never on the list. And yet, Africa was where the Lord made it possible for me to go, providing all of my funding out of the blue and making all the preliminary things go smoothly. I was there for two weeks, and those were the shortest two weeks of my life. I didn’t have enough time to be in the culture, or share with the people I had met. When the plane landed back on American soil, I knew that I wanted to go back for a longer time. I knew what to expect now; how to talk to the people I met and how they preferred to do things.

One of the nights while I was still in Africa, I had a realization that would have knocked me over if I hadn’t already been sitting down! It had never occurred to me until that night, that ever since I was a little eight-year old girl reading those missionary stories, I wanted to be just like Mary Slessor and Gladys Aylward. It was as if I had a little lightbulb pop over my head, and the dream that I had as a child seemed more real.

africa2

I don’t know what the next step for me is after I finish my last bit of college. I keep seeking and praying for the Lord’s guidance, and trusting Him to lead me where He wants me. But some nights, I still think about that little white bookshelf with its special row of missionary books, and about an eight-year old girl’s secret prayer that God would make her a missionary someday, too.

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Shadows of Memory

by Lauren Lasher

So many faces,
People and places.
They all run together
In a jumbled mess.

Living in shadows
Dwelling far below,
Their memories are kept
From light of day.

Occasionally they surface,
Sometimes without purpose.
The memories come alive
In closing my eyes.

For painfully poignant
From retrospect sent,
The faces of those
Who’ve been left behind.

Whispering soft goodbyes
Tears filling eyes
As the memories depart
Hidden away once more.

I’ve been doing a lot of remembering lately, and I wrote this poem a while back for just such an occasion. I’m sorry for such a short post, but I honestly can’t think of anything else to top off this poem! Suffice it to say, I’ve been pensive of late, and old memories are flooding my mind like ocean waves. Some are happy, some are sad; all are bittersweet.

Have you taken a trip down Memory Lane lately?