Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
Knowing Ourselves Part 1 (Personality Profile)
by Dr Alex Tang
After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female (Gen. 1:27), with reasonable and immortal souls (Gen. 2:7; Ecc. 12:7; Luke 23:43; Mt. 10:28), endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image (Gen. 1:26; Col. 3:10; Eph.4:24), having the law of God written in their hearts (Rom.2:14,15), and the power to fulfil it (Ecc. 7:29); and yet under a possibility of transgressing, beingleft to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change (Gen. 3:6; Ecc.7:29).
The Westminster Confession of Faith
1. What is personality?
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, published his book Psychological Types in 1923. In the book, Jung developed his observations that people are born with specific ‘preference’ into his personality theory.
Our personality are our preference that affect the way we perceive the world, receive information from the world around us, process the information and from it develop our responses which is acted out in our actions and behavior. This is what made each of us unique. We act on our level of preferences on an unconscious level and these preferences are well developed because it help us to live and cope with the complex world in which we live in with minimal stress. We because uncomfortable when we are forced to act outside our preferences.
Two people going into a building will notice different things, two persons having a conversation may remember different things and two persons listening to a sermon may respond in different ways. The principal reason for this, according to Jung, is that our preferences are born with us. Thus each of us have a distinct personality type. The procedure of determining the type of personality someone has is termed personality profiling.
This does not mean we are robots and are not free to choose. We are free to choose but are likely to choose in a certain way because of our inborn preferences.
2. Personality Profiling.
“Myers-Briggs” are the surname of a mother and daughter team who developed the work of Carl Jung to formulate a system by which personality profiling can be performed. Katherine Briggs was born in Michigan in 1875 and her daughter; Isabel Myers was born in 1897.
It was in 1975 that the Myers Briggs Type Indicator was published in the United States, about sixty years after the mother-daughter team started working on it. Since then, MBTI became the most widely used personality assessment in the world. It is used in the corporate world, in schools, universities and recently in churches.
The MBTI describes 16 different personality types and people can be described, often with surprising accuracy, by one of them. There are also variations within each category.
Isabel Myers, writing in Gifts Differing made it quite clear that no one type is better than any other is. Each personality type has specific gifts and insights to offer to others and each type has certain things which it finds difficult to come to terms with.
3. Myers Briggs Type Indicators.
The MBTI measures preferences by 4 scales
Some characteristics of each of the 4 scales:
4. Knowing and Accepting your Personality.
God created each of us as unique individuals. MBTI is only one of the many tools available to help us understand our God created personalities.
Let your soul speak for itself. Some souls hold conversations with God in music, and some in the sowing of seed, and others in the smell of sawed wood, and still others in the affectionate understanding of their friends.
5. Introducing the Enneagram.
The Enneagram (pronounced “ANY-a-gram”) is a geometric figure that maps out the nine fundamental personality types and their complex inter-relationships. It is another tool that can be used to help us understand ourselves. The word Enneagram comes from the Greek ennea (nine) and grammos (figure) i.e. a ‘nine-pointed figure’.
The nine personality types in the Enneagram are (1) the reformer, (2) the helper, (3) the achiever, (4) the individualist, (5) the investigator, (6) the loyalist, (7) the enthusiast, (8) the challenger and (9) the peacemaker.
6. Recommended Reading.
Malcolm Goldsmith. Knowing Me Knowing God: Exploring Your Spirituality with Myers-Briggs. Nashville, TN: Abington, 1997
Goldsmith is an Anglican pastor in Edinburgh. In this book, he documents his experience using the MBTI as a tool to help people understand their personality as a step in exploring their Christian spirituality.
7. Personal Reflection Questions.
7.1 Who am I?
Write in the box below the result of your MBTI
List down below, all the things you like about yourself and all the things you do not like about yourself. Use another piece of paper if needed. Then pray about what you have written; thanking God for what you like about yourself and committing to Him what you want to change about yourself and to accept what cannot be changed.
What I like about myself What I do not like about myself
God grant me the grace to accept with serenity the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference,
living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time:
accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
taking as you did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that you will make all things right, if I surrender to your will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen
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"spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"
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