I am an ENTJ. If you don’t know what it is, don’t worry. I didn’t know until a week ago either, when my organization had us go through a test and see what type of personality we have. I was happy with what I found, and it was a tad creepy to read a characterization from a book about my personality type and have that feeling that someone has been watching me my entire life.
I love being an ENTJ and doing ENTJ like things. I feel this description matches me: “[ENTJs] tend to be self-driven, motivating, energetic, assertive, confident, and competitive. They generally take a big-picture view and build a long-term strategy. They typically know what they want and may mobilize others to help them attain their goals. ENTJs are often sought out as leaders due to an innate ability to direct groups of people. Unusually influential and organized, they may sometimes judge others by their own tough standards, failing to take personal needs into account” (from Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type).
Another portrait: “Inefficiency is especially rejected by ENTJs, and repetition of error causes them to become impatient. For the ENTJ, there must always be a reason for doing anything, and people’s feelings usually are not sufficient reason” (from Please Understand Me).
At this point, after reading over these portraits again, I feel like I am known. There is an understanding about who I am and how I operate. My next inclination is that this somehow justifies how I have acted or worked for years and years. It’s just who I am.
There is a weird juxtaposition in our Christian faith that has the doctrine of sin on one side—we are all born in darkness and sin—and a comfort in God’s image on the other—we are known by God and each of us is his handiwork. One is our starting place, a horrible place, and the other is our comforting, victorious place where we finally feel known and accepted by God. We can all say God made me this way.
There is something categorically wrong with saying God made me this way. We should be saying God is making me this way. The present view, the one we see flushed out in so many spiritual gifts tests or disciple-making relationships, is a static view. It identifies your strengths, your personality and then spins an optimistic view of “this is how God made you.” I would be happy to just know I am this way always and forever, but that is neglecting the role of sanctification and discipleship in the Christian life. I am an ENTJ and always will be, but there are some parts of being an ENTJ that are not how God wants me to be. We cannot take for granted that the way we are inclined to operate—in my case, being judgmental, keeping a record of wrongs, being indifferent to feelings—might not be the way that God wants us to operate.
It is wonderful to take stock of our strengths, our personality and our character. But if we do so without reflection and just blindly accept who we are right now, we are refusing to enter into the tough, hard slog of sanctification and discipleship. I am an ENTJ, and I love it. But I am also in desperate need for discipleship to learn to curb my less than gracious ENTJ tendencies. What about you? What kind of personality do you have and what are characteristics of your personality in need of discipleship?