How Are You Feeling?


You don’t need to be a shrink type like me to be familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which breaks down personality characteristics into 16 types, based on 4 scales with extremes at either end. Honestly? I have not been a huge fan of Myers-Briggs in the past. My type never really seemed to define me well.

Until now.

HeartPaths feels that it is patently wrong to “program” how people build and form a relationship with God unless personality types are taken into account and there is programming for a lot of different types of people. A book called SoulTypes addresses how the Myers-Briggs test can be used to indicate how different personality types might need different kinds of spiritual practices and different kinds of worship.

I was excited about this book in the beginning, probably because of the psych background, but the writing style drove me nuts. It was a little too formulaic for me and I kept re-writing it in my head (a chronic disease if you are a writer or blogger!). But the recommendations for my particular soul type were right on target…now.

I encountered this book and the resulting prayer practices that we examined midway through my first year with HeartPaths and it came at a time where I was riding pretty high regarding the journey I had undertaken. I was learning things about God right and left and felt like God was unearthing who I truly was–not what I tend to project to the world.

Thus, when I took the test this time, it defined me as an INFJ. Translation?  I’m an “Advocate,” according to 16personalities.com. I’m a rather rare breed, percentage-wise: INFJs make up less than 1% of the world (I could have told you that, intuitively–I always feel like “the odd duck” at every gathering.). We prefer to help others by getting to the root of the matter and letting you fix yourself so you no longer need others to fix you. We are described as, “quiet, mystical, and yet inspiring idealists.” Quiet, into mystical things and an idealist does describe me pretty well.

For those of you who have met me, you may be questioning the quiet part. When I stop being who I think I should be, I tend to get quiet. Yes, quiet. I tend to draw energy from reading, observing and being by myself and get irritated by a lot of noise at some points. The verbosity, I’m learning, comes from my insecurities. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m making a lot of progress stopping that yet, but at least I’m starting to understand why it’s there!

So, here is what Soul Types would say an INFJ would like in terms of spiritual things:

  1. Prayer or meditation in solitude
  2. Musing with God about what could be different or might be in store
  3. Structured and special times set apart expressly for spiritual matters
  4. Service through conceiving paradigms, envisioning and organizing the structures for change

Those of you who hang with me at church probably recognize all of the above (particularly that last one!) as me to a T.

Keeping that in mind, four kinds of prayer practices were developed based on how each personality type might want to explore spirituality and a relationship with God. They are: Feeling, Intuitive, Sensing and Thinking prayer. At least one should appeal to everyone’s personality type and often more than that is appealing.

Today we explore Feeling prayer. One should take a reading excerpt, Bible passage, written prayer and then personalize it as if it were meant only for you. After doing so, the pray-er thinks about the feelings that come up regarding personalizing it in regard to God, yourself and others. Does the prayer apply to particular relationships in your life? Is there an invitation in there for some sort of response? Does one feel drawn to some aspect of the reading, prayer or passage? How would one concentrate on that aspect?

This kind of prayer is definitely in “my wheel house.” I do this naturally with prayers and Bible passages. So I could pretty much do Feeling prayer in my sleep.

And that was the problem.

Yes, problem.

Because there wasn’t much new for me to learn! And INFJs always, always, always want to learn–we get jazzed about new info and new possibilities. So, at the height of my spiritual growth this year, this bored me to tears and I began backsliding. Joy.

Thankfully, HeartPaths only required us to practice each of the four types for one week and I thankfully went on to other prayer practices that were a lot more interesting.

And I hope you’ll get a “feel” for them in the coming weeks. 🙂

Friday’s Post: The Search Is On

You Might Also Like: The Wild Child; Out of Breath?; and Slow Reader Friday: Creating a Life with God

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 at 10:50 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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