Design of the Mind

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Have you ever felt strange?
Odd?
Different?
Unique?
Weird?

Funnily enough, you’re in good company. You are absolutely normal. Why? Because unique is normal. Scripture says that we are all wonderfully made, that we have been intricately designed by God.

To delve further into my first question, have you ever felt that someone else
is strange? Weird? Crazy? There have been many times in my life that I’ve had to overcome conflict that arose simply from basic personality differences.

Studying psychology has always been something that fascinates and feeds my brain. Recently, I have been reading “Gifts Differing” by Myers Briggs, which is all about understanding personality type.

We often judge, fight, battle, and resist what we do not understand. Being able to relate to different personality types is a crucial skill that applies to every aspect of life {actors have to relate to a character, in business you must relate to your coworkers, in a relationship you must learn to compromise and feel for someone else’s thoughts, feelings, and preferences}.

I like to take psychology and hold it up to scripture, because so often it aligns with God’s design. In “Gifts Differing”, there’s a section on the two ways of perceiving (interesting how two people can look at the same thing and get something different out of it) and it reads:

“The theory of Psychological Types adds the suggestion that the two kinds of perception (sensing and intuition) compete for a person’s attention and that most people, from infancy and up, enjoy one more than the other.”

When children start to explore and exercise a preference between the two ways of perceiving (sensing or intuition), a basic difference in development begins. Does this mean that if you have a natural tendency toward sensing/facts that you can’t have intuition and incorporate indirect ideas, dreams, or associations? No. But, from the time we are born up to where we are now, we have these personality tendencies that make up who we are.

Through how God designed us, our genetic makeup, and through our life experiences, we become these walking, breathing, beings with thoughts and feelings and opinions of our own, both conscious and unconscious.

Many times, a husband and wife have very different ideas of what clean is.
Girl friends have different definitions of beauty.
Coworkers have different ways and methods of accomplishing the same task.
Some students study quietly, others in groups.
A mother and a daughter may have a different perception of time and what being on time looks like.

While we are who we are, it’s important to understand, relate, and learn to compromise to the other designs of the mind. When I stopped looking at my husband’s OCD, ADHD brain from a purely psychological position, and blend my knowledge of science with the knowledge of scripture, I began to view him and his decisions in a very different light.

Science and faith don’t have to be in competition at all times, just how different personalities don’t have to be in turmoil. While my husband and I are very different, our unique choices and thoughts compliment one another so perfectly. It requires work and compromise, but we are always learning and growing so much in our relationship because of our similarities and our differences.

The book goes on to say:

“Many destructive conflicts arise simply because two people are using opposite kinds of perception and judgement. When the origin of such conflict is recognized, it becomes less annoying and easier to handle.”

Our differences make us beautiful, and we can learn a lot from others who don’t think the way we do.

I challenge you this week to take the Myers Briggs personality test online (you can google it), and find a friend or family member with a very different personality type from yours. Talk to them, ask them questions, interview them.

After you do, leave a comment and let me know what your personality type is (I’m an INFJ)! What have you learned about yourself? What have you learned about others? What areas of your life could you compromise more in? What personality types make you uncomfortable? How can you become more open minded to the minds of others?

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