2018-09_LT-KnowThyself

My Life

Know Thyself

One night my friends and I were sick of studying, so we looked up the strengths and weaknesses associated with each of our personality types. We took turns graciously affirming each other’s strengths and viciously pegging each other’s weaknesses.

Then it came time to read about my personality type. I felt pretty good about myself throughout the affirmations of my strengths (of course), but I practically melted into a puddle of sludge when my friend Allison read my weaknesses.

The second weakness on the list really hit me: “burns out easily.” I had nothing to say, it was just, so… spot on. I laughed nervously and returned to my homework, studying for maybe fifteen minutes, before burning out quickly and taking a thirty-minute break.

I begin with this story to bring up a question: why is it important to know yourself? Why ought we bother at all with learning more about our personalities or tendencies at all?

First of all, knowing yourself is important because you are very good (Genesis 1:31) and you reflect who God is to the world. The Lord has created you purely out of love and for love, and He is so excited at the chance to be your Heavenly Father. Moreover, before God formed you in the womb, He knew you (Jeremiah 1:5). Your Heavenly Father is captivated by all that you are, and He delights at the uniqueness of your personality, whether or not you do.

If you’re like me and you often find yourself wishing for a different sort of personality, with different strengths and weaknesses, don’t! Your Father wouldn’t have you any other way. The Lord calls you into His Kingdom just as you are, not as you wish you were or think you should be. There is a place in your Father’s house set aside especially for you (John 14:2).

How can we learn more about ourselves? Personality tests like this one can be a helpful start. This test uses the Myers-Briggs categorization of personalities, and each personality type is identified by a combination of four letters, which signify tendencies that people usually fall between. It’s important to note that the types described on this site do not define a person, but simply lay out modes of behavior that people typically default to as they go about life.

I encourage you to take the quiz linked above and then to come back to this blog to read more about praying with your personality. I’ll give an outline for a personality-based prayer, and then an example of that type of prayer, using my own personality type.

First, thank the Lord for all the gifts He’s given you and for the gift of who you are. List specific aspects about your personality that you love (and that your Father loves too!) and praise the Lord for His gift to you of yourself. Thank Him also for your favorite things that compliment your personality and help you to be your best self. Remember, you are very good!

Second, consider the ways your personality traits bring you closer to the heart of the Father. Mention to the Lord the specific ways in which your unique personality helps you to know Him more deeply. Think also of how your gifts, talents, and characteristics help you to mirror Christ’s life and ministry, loving all people whom the Lord puts in your path.

Thind, ask the Lord for strength to grow in the more difficult areas of your life. Each of our personalities comes with inherent strengths and struggles — bring these struggles unashamedly to the Father, knowing that only He can truly transform them and bring them into the Resurrection. Trust that the Lord desires to make you whole and to bring you into His heart. Lift up to Him those areas of your life in which you need His healing love.

Finally, thank the Lord again for who you are. Make this final thanksgiving concise and straightforward, telling your Father that you love the person He has made you to be.

Here’s my example of these prayer pieces put together:

My personality type – INFJ

Lord God, thank You so much for the gift of stillness. Thank You for quiet moments in prayer where I feel Your intimacy and for the particular way You draw me very close to Your heart. Thank you for giving me the gifts of attentiveness and intentionality, two things that enable me to build strong and close relationships with others. You have given me the ability through Your grace to empathize with the sufferings of others–help me to continue to share my heart with those I encounter. Lord, just as You looked into the eyes of the outcast and saw in them something no one else could see, you have gifted me with a unique sensitivity to the identities of others. As I continue journeying toward Your heart, please help me to have humble confidence in myself, knowing that I can do all things through You. Help me to rest in simple the truth that you love me more than I will ever know, and let that truth be enough for me. Thank You, Father, for who I am. You have made me for Yourself, and I could want nothing more.

As we close, I think I ought to address one more thing. Your personality type is not the totality of who you are. Probably, it doesn’t even come close to capturing the complexities and intricacies of your whole self. I think that’s really beautiful. As helpful as a four-letter combination or any other BuzzFeed quiz might be, you will always be so much more. Your Heavenly Father has created you uniquely and has made you for Himself (for your heart shall be restless until it rests in His).

He’s in love with every part of who you are, and He’s prepared a place in His Kingdom just for you. Let’s pray that our search for ourselves will sanctify us and lead us home–home to our place in the Body of Christ and our rest in the Father’s arms.

About the Author

Nick Bernard

I once played a character named "Jim" on an ad for my city's local Catholic radio station, and my friend Kelly played "Kathy." Unfortunately, my career in radio was pretty short lived (maybe twenty minutes total?). My relationship with Jesus is simultaneously beautiful, raw, intimate, and wild, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The Lord continues to invite me deeper into His love, and I can't wait to see where He'll take me next. If you'd like to follow along with me in my journey with Christ, you can find me on Instagram @n1ckb3rnard.