Have you ever done the Myer’s Briggs personality test? I took the test back in college and this morning it all came flooding back. I went out and took the test again to refresh my memory of what my personality type is, and I’m an ESFJ. Here’s a little about what this means:
- Extroverted – an Outward focused person who gains energy and refreshment from people and action.
- Sensing – Someone who gathers information through the present details of a moment, focusing on what is noticed and sensed in a situation (hand on)
- Feeling – Someone who makes decisions based on associations or empathizing in a situation. Looking to achieve balance and harmony. Heart on your sleeve
- Judging – refers to the preference to enter into situations with a plan. A plan for everything!
The reason I went to rediscover my personality type is that sometimes, I don’t understand why I do the things I do or why certain things hurt me so deeply, and most importantly, why I feel the need to have everything organized and calculated. It drives my husband nuts sometimes and can cause some conflict too. So I decided I was either divergent or it was part of my personality – so I retook the test.
What is an ESFJ
ESFJ is characterized as the provider and have a tendency to be friendly, detail-oriented, sensitive toward other’s needs and good at creating order. Wikipedia says this about ESFJ:
ESFJs project warmth through a genuine interest in the well-being of others. They are often skilled at bringing out the best in people, and they want to understand other points of view. They are serious about their responsibilities, seeing what needs to be done and then doing it. Generally proficient at detailed tasks, they enjoy doing little things that make life easier for others.
However, there are some side effects to this personality type – I’m very approval-seeking, I hate criticism, I’m easily hurt because I wear my heart on my sleeve and value more than anything to be appreciated, which makes me needy or cold sometimes.
What does this mean for my Family
Ask my family, and they will probably say I’m a bit controlling and overly organized. I would typically take that very critically and wish I could change how I was. But studying my personality type opened my eyes a lot, I started to see the ways I use my personality traits to love my family. To me, being organized and planned, helps me provide better coaching, better meals, bible studies, clean laundry, freedom for them to play… To me, taking care of all things and having them under control is how I show everyone I love them – all the work I do is to make their life better.
Usually, what would happen though is that I’d be a little too overbearing. Since I’m naturally a sinner, I desire to have control and often act prideful with an “I know best, because I’ve already thought through all the options” that comes with my forward thinking and planning personality. This needs a bit of harnessing and pulling back because my ultimate goal is to love and provide for them- giving them order, balance, structure security not to control – it’s about finding a balance of what to ESFJ all over and hat not to.
An area that I need a lot of focused attention is the way I take criticism. Being a criticism-hater, any kind of correction crushes me. My husband and I always thought it was so weird that I’d take correction so poorly, but reaching into my ESFJ it comes from a strong need to be accepted, gets approval from those I love, be appreciated and my strong desire to provide. If I get corrected, that means, to me, that I’m not providing and I’m not appreciated by my family – simply put – I’d convince myself that I’m not enough.
Learning to accept
I’ve spent the morning thinking through and reading more about the ESFJ. I feel I understand and see the beauty in how God made me. Learning to accept and embrace the parts of me that cause challenges will be a fun adventure. By knowing my tendencies, I’ll be able to put on the correct mindset in dealing with issues. (sometimes, anyway) I am much aware of my tendencies of harmony, order, and control and how they can be good and bad. We all have gifts, like superpowers, that can be used for good or evil. It’s coming under the right training and awareness that helps us harness them for good.
Studying today has shed some light on the places that God is working in my life and how I need to focus on trusting Him and his work. As I continue to trust in Him and train my personality traits to be used for good. I will naturally look for balance and structure because that’s how I show love to my family, but I’ll try to do it with less control and more of an open and trusting mind.
He is doing good work with all the little bits of our personalities, He created us exactly like he did for a reason and will use my structured and organized personality to do great things as I learn to let go of the control that usually goes along with it. As we study His word and let His teaching mold our characteristics we will see all the blessings that come with the way he has uniquely created us.
Find out your personality type and let God start sharpening your skills