Six years ago ago, I took the Myers-Briggs at a churchplanters’ assessment and I was shocked to discover as I scrounged up the reports last week that I tested as an ENFJ. I have a feeling I was trying really hard to be appear like an extroverted pastor with a bubbly infectious personality.
Since I was surprised, I retook the tests twice this past week and both times, I tested as an INFJ which I think makes more sense. It appears a few folks have got me pegged pretty good.
During 6th or 7th grade of middle school, I was voted by my peers as the “most shyest” in my grade. I have always been an introvert and have been painfully shy until high school when I used sports to express myself. And somehow, sports and hanging with the “in crowd” in high school escalated me into “the popular scene.” I lettered nine times in various sports and was the school Vice President during my senior year but always felt like I was trying TOO HARD to be someone I wasn’t. Ahh, high school. Remember those days?
Now, it feels good to just be me and I like the balance between introversion and extroversion. I still enjoy my time alone and because I’m in a public position as a pastor, I find myself guarding my time that much more. While an introvert at heart, I have learned to be socially adept. I enjoy people but yet, it still takes a lot out of me to be in large groups. And preaching? While I enjoy teaching and preaching very much and see it as one of my “gifts,” it’s exhausting which explains why Sunday evenings and Mondays are hard days.
What’s an INFJ?
The Counselor Idealists are abstract in thought and speech, cooperative in reaching their goals, and enterprising and attentive in their interpersonal roles. Counselors focus on human potentials, think in terms of ethical values, and come easily to decisions. The small number of this type (little more than 2 percent) is regrettable, since Counselors have an unusually strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others and genuinely enjoy helping their companions. Although Counsleors tend to be private, sensitive people, and are not generally visible leaders, they nevertheless work quite intensely with those close to them, quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes with their families, friends, and colleagues. This type has great depth of personality; they are themselves complicated, and can understand and deal with complex issues and people.
Counselors can be hard to get to know. They have an unusually rich inner life, but they are reserved and tend not to share their reactions except with those they trust. With their loved ones, certainly, Counselors are not reluctant to express their feelings, their face lighting up with the positive emotions, but darkening like a thunderhead with the negative. Indeed, because of their strong ability to take into themselves the feelings of others, Counselors can be hurt rather easily by those around them, which, perhaps, is one reason why they tend to be private people, mutely withdrawing from human contact. At the same time, friends who have known a Counselor for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that they are inconsistent; Counselors value their integrity a great deal, but they have intricately woven, mysterious personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.
Counselors have strong empathic abilities and can become aware of another’s emotions or intentions — good or evil — even before that person is conscious of them. This “mind-reading” can take the form of feeling the hidden distress or illnesses of others to an extent which is difficult for other types to comprehend. Even Counselors can seldom tell how they came to penetrate others’ feelings so keenly. Furthermore, the Counselor is most likely of all the types to demonstrate an ability to understand psychic phenomena and to have visions of human events, past, present, or future. What is known as ESP may well be exceptional intuitive ability-in both its forms, projection and introjection. Such supernormal intuition is found frequently in the Counselor, and can extend to people, things, and often events, taking the form of visions, episodes of foreknowledge, premonitions, auditory and visual images of things to come, as well as uncanny communications with certain individuals at a distance.