Wednesday, May 14, 2008


lately, i've been thinking about personality a lot. what makes us who we are? what factors in to the way we think, we act, we relate to others, the things we like and those we don't, the way we see the world, the way we take in information, etc...

this stuff fascinates me, and also confuses me. sometimes i think i know myself, and then sometimes, at the end of the day, i look at some of the choices i made (or didn't make) and all i can think is, what the heck?

reading the myers-briggs stuff, i'm pretty sure the ENFP label fits me well. i think i'm almost intuitive to a fault. i can't help but see the way things/ideas connect, or how they don't and yet should. i get lost in the bigger picture, and i just want others to get it as well. i love dreaming and talking out ideas with others, brainstorming, creating, etc. getting my feet wet in just about everything that comes across my path and seems remotely interesting.

this is all good, and does give a lot of insight into why i am the way i am. but then i think about other things that don't add up as well. i love to influence and encourage and BUILD. i love that word. i love the thought of seeing people reach their full potential--it's awesome. but at the same time, i find myself being so negative sometimes, so nasty and destructive.

what the heck?

yesterday, i was hanging out with 3 of my good girl friends, and some how the conversation turned to talking about someone else who we hadn't really seen in a while. i was so judgmental and negative about this person. and i knew i was doing it even as the words came out of my mouth. i didn't care. it was true, at least mostly, and i was irritated with this individual for stuff that had happened in the past and other stuff that probably wasn't really my business but still irritated me.

so i gossiped. i complained. i was just ugly and mean. and i the moment, i didn't care. yeah, exactly: what the heck?

how am i both this person who loves to build up others and encourage and launch them into bigger and better things, and yet also this mean, selfish girl who seems to take any chance to make herself look better while pushing someone else down? can something like myers briggs explain that?

i don't know. i haven't looked into it enough, but i do know this: i'm a messed up person living in a messed up world, who makes pretty bad choices at times. sometimes by accident or ignorance, but all too often, on purpose. as much as i like to puff myself up and pat myself on the back, i'm ugly, and it comes out in my actions and words and what not.

but i also know some good news: grace. i mean, wow. it's become a word that i think we take for granted way too much, but grace really is amazing. i had a friend once say that we tend to think of our sin and junk like we're these cute puppies that got dirty from playing in the mud, and we think that God just needs to come along and clean us up. but really, we're more like the orcs from Lord of the Rings (or maybe this ugly dog who's pic i put at the beginning of this blog). we're ugly. scary, nasty, not even remotely something that anyone would want to be near.

but God is full of grace. in fact, in John 1:14, it says that Jesus came to earth, to live among us, "full of grace and truth." that's pretty amazing, when you think about all the ugly people like me that he had to put up with while he was here. not just a little grace, or even enough, but FULL. and truth too, which i think of sometimes as a contrast to grace. but He was full of both grace AND truth, so they must work together somehow. there must be a way to be both grace and truth filled, to live out both of these things...

i know, more and more each day, that i can't do it on my own. i try really hard--i always have--and it's just not enough. i'm ugly, on my own at least. but because God is full of grace, and willing to pour it out to ugly people like me, i've found hope and life. i still make bad choices, but who i really am, my core, has been changed, made new (2 Corinthians 5:17), and that's pretty amazing to think about.

so if you feel ugly too, don't be discouraged. there is hope for ugly people like us. it can't be found by trying harder or cleaning up on our own--we can wash off and dress up, but we'll still be ugly. we need someone who can literally change who we are, from the inside out, and Jesus is the only one i know who can do that. feel free to disagree, but i know what i've experienced first hand, and it's been amazing.

full of grace and willing to share. to forgive. to transform. to make new.

all we have to do is believe and ask. wow.

i think that's all i have for now. maybe more on this later...

Thursday, May 8, 2008


so, i didn't write this, but it probably describes me better than i could do myself!
to take the test yourself, go to:

Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving
The Inspirer


ENFPs are initiators of change who are keenly perceptive of possibilities, and who energize and stimulate through their contagious enthusiasm. They prefer the start-up phase of a project or relationship, and are tireless in the pursuit of new-found interests. ENFPs are able to anticipate the needs of others and to offer them needed help and appreciation. They bring zest, joy, liveliness, and fun to all aspects of their lives. They are at their best in situations that are fluid and changing, and that allow them to express their creativity and use their charisma.


ENFP children are 'into everything.' Their natural curiosity results in children for whom questions were invented. They often spend long periods of time devising new and original --- but not necessarily practical --- languages, plays, and scenarios. Many ENFPs enjoy drawing, writing, playacting, and dreaming. They are often chosen as leaders because of their persuasive enthusiasm and their energy for new and different ways of developing things.

ENFP teenagers are agreeable, sociable, outgoing people who like to imagine themselves in the future. They spend many hours wondering and discussing with friends whom they will marry, where they will live, what their children will be like, and what work they will do. They leave no option or possibility unexplored and find it difficult to see themselves in any single job or career.

Because they see endless possibilities, to select one possibility appears to the ENFP to be too narrow a focus. They hate to be boxed into a career for life and therefore hesitate and resist making decisions. It is unwise for ENFPs to settle down too early, and they make the soundest choices when they delay career and marriage decisions until their middle to late twenties. Often when a decision is made, ENFPs will still leave a number of options open or change their minds as they encounter new information.

Even in their everyday activities, ENFPs often search for the new and the novel. If there is a logical route to work and ENFP has been driving that way continually, he or she will likely tire of it and look for other routes.

ENFPs are more likely than other types to change from one career to another, demonstrating their versatility in doing so. It is not uncommon to hear stories of ENFPs who have established themselves in a career and who, when faced with the daily routine of maintaining it, leave it to start another.

Adult ENFPs maintain characteristics that might be considered youthful, such as enthusiasm, curiosity, and a zestful outlook on life. As a result, people often enjoy being with them. Many times they are young-in-spirit as they age, perhaps because of their temperament.

ENFPs look forward to retirement as a time that can bring freedom from the restrictions of the work world and ample opportunity to pursue their varied interests. However, if ENFPs become disabled or experience a lack of resources, such as money, they may become despondent because this restricts their ability to quest after new experiences.


ENFPs often learn best through a variety of means, such as observing, reading, and listening to and interacting with others. They enjoy the search for new ideas and possibilities, and will put in the time necessary to master subjects they find interesting. One strength is their enthusiasm for the process of discovery. They enjoy survey courses, comparative studies, and disciplines in which there is much to research and explore. They do not like classes that are too structured, that consist only of lectures, and that allow no room for their imagination. They may get caught up in the learning process and consequently need strict deadlines to bring a project to completion.

ENFPs prefer a learning environment in which the teacher takes personal interest in them, in which there is an opportunity to talk about ideas with their peers, and in which there is a chance to ask questions and develop new ideas.

A motto that might describe the ENFP as a learner is "There's always another way or another answer."


ENFPs often follow a nonlinear career track and nontraditional routes to obtaining knowledge, qualifications, and skills. When they are committed to what they do, they are enthusiastic to the point of preaching to the entire world about it. For an ENFP, work must be fun and must contribute to something larger than merely collecting a paycheck.

The preferred work setting for ENFPs contains imaginative people focused on human possibilities. ENFPs want a work environment that is both physically and mentally colorful. They prefer a participative and collegial atmosphere in which employees are included in the decision making. ENFPs are less productive where there is disharmony because they pay more attention to the relationships between people at work than they do to the tasks. Their ideal job would offer variety, novelty, challenge, and freedom from tight supervision; it would be idea oriented and imaginative, and would have lively, energetic people enjoying themselves and their tasks.

Most ENFPs will say they are organized, but others might not see them that way. Their desire to be open to the moment tends to outweigh their need to be organized. Usually ENFP work space is arranged haphazardly, with work materials and personal momentos scattered about. In terms of the management of time, ENFPs find it particularly difficult to estimate accurately how long an activity will take. Because people\'s needs are more important than schedules, ENFPs are often late and characteristically full of apologies for their tardiness.

ENFPs prefer occupations that reflect their ideals and that promote harmonious relationships with others. They tend to be attracted to occupations with a service orientation. ENFPs usually find a place in their work life for creativity. They particularly enjoy people-oriented work in which they are able to combine things in new and different ways to benefit humanity. Flexibility and autonomy are important to ENFPs, who may bolt from organizations in which this is not attainable.

Common occupations picked by ENFPs include artist, clergy, consultant, counselor, entertainer, journalist, public relations worker, social scientist, social worker, teacher, and other occupations that allow ENFPs to use their creativity and insight.


ENFPs are energetic and enthusiastic leaders who are likely to take charge when a new endeavor needs a visionary spokesperson. ENFPs are values-oriented people who become champions of causes and services relating to human needs and dreams. Their leadership style is one of soliciting and recognizing others\' contributions 4and of evaluating the personal needs of their followers. ENFPs are often charismatic leaders who are able to help people see the possibilities beyond themselves and their current realities. They function as catalysts.


ENFPs often have a difficult time separating their work from their leisure. Because they like to have fun while they work and usually arrange their work lives to meet this need, the boundaries between their work and their leisure may not be as clear as they might be for some other types.

Because of their continual search for new things to experience, it is rare for ENFPs to become heavily involved in a single activity; their appetite for involvement is too great. Generally, ENFPs are on the lookout for new things and may come across what is "trendy" before others. They tend to participate early on in those new activities.

ENFPs like travel and reading because these activities open experiences of other times and places. Their reading often brings quiet and reflection time, as well as new material for their dreams. Their travels afford them opportunities to experience different people and cultures.


For ENFPs, loving is an almost constant state. They are generally involved or in love with someone or something new. ENFPs may have originated the quotation "All the world loves a lover." When falling in love, they explore all the new possibilities in the relationship, and the new person is studied in every way. The ENFP tends to idealize his or her current relationship and will often say that their current one is "the best ever."

It might be argued that each type, when first in love, resembles a garden-variety ENFP, because ENFPs normally behave like people in love. Some of the cultural cliches about falling in love - such as "Falling in love with love," "Head over heels in love," "Love is blind," "All the world loves a lover," and "Throw caution to the wind" - seem to apply to the ENFP. This same boundless affection can be showered upon friends, co-workers, and others. People often feel unconditionally loved by ENFPs, but over time many of these relationships dissipate, as in "When I'm not near the ones I love, I love the ones I'm near."

ENFPs are delightful, enthusiastic partners who are young in spirit; there is rarely a dull moment with them. They readily note their partner's best aspects. They may overlook obvious details and facts about their partners that might cause other types to be more cautious. As relationships progress, ENFPs romanticise their partners and make strong efforts to rationalize any discrepancy between the reality and their "ideal."

When they are in love, they may either overcommit and ignore any unpleasant yet true facts; or they may undercommit, believing that there may be a better love "just around the corner." Therefore, ENFPs may be seen as fickle in their relationships as they search for the "right one."

When and if the flaws in the relationship become too obvious to ENFPs, they may admit defeat, feeling great pain because they have put so much energy into perfecting a particular relationship. When ENFPs are scorned, they overgeneralize about their partners' worst faults. Because ENFPs thrive on new possibilities, when they fall out of love, they rebound quickly.

ENFP Relationships
Content below copyright of BSM

ENFPs take their relationships very seriously, but also approach them with a childlike enthusiasm and energy. They seek and demand authenticity and depth in their personal relationships, and will put forth a lot of effort into making things work out. They are warm, considerate, affirming, nurturing, and highly invested in the health of the relationship. They have excellent interpersonal skills, and are able to inspire and motivate others to be the best that they can be. Energetic and effervescent, the ENFP is sometimes smothering in their enthusiasm, but are generally highly valued for their genuine warmth and high ideals.

ENFP Strengths
• Most ENFPs will exhibit the following strengths with regards to relationships issues:

• Good communication skills

• Very perceptive about people's thought and motives

• Motivational, inspirational; bring out the best in others

• Warmly affectionate and affirming

• Fun to be with - lively sense of humor, dramatic, energetic, optimistic

• Strive for "win-win" situations

• Driven to meet other's needs

• Usually loyal and dedicated

ENFP Weaknesses
• Most ENFPs will exhibit the following weaknesses with regards to relationship issues:

• Tendency to be smothering

• Their enthusiasm may lead them to be unrealistic

• Uninterested in dealing with "mundane" matters such as cleaning, paying bills, etc.

• Hold onto bad relationships long after they've turned bad

• Extreme dislike of conflict

• Extreme dislike of criticism

• Don't pay attention to their own needs

• Constant quest for the perfect relationship may make them change relationships frequently

• May become bored easily

• Have difficulty scolding or punishing others

ENFPs as Lovers
ENFPs make warm, considerate, passionate partners who are generally willing, eager, and able to do whatever it takes to make The Relationship a positive place to be. They are enthusiastic, idealistic, focused on other people's feelings, and very flexible. These attributes combine to make them especially interested in positive personal relationships, and also makes them very able to promote strong relationships in fun and creative ways. ENFPs take their commitments very seriously, and are generally deeply loyal and faithful to their partners.

There are a couple of difficult relationship areas for the ENFP. The first problem is that many ENFPs have a problem leaving bad relationships. They tend to internalize any problems and take them on their own shoulders, believing that the success or failure of the relationship is their own responsibility. As perfectionists, they don't like to admit defeat, and will stick with bad situations long after they should have left. When they do leave the relationship, they will believe that the failure was their fault, and that there was surely something they could have done to save the relationship.

On the entirely other end of the spectrum, many ENFPs have a difficult time staying focused and following things through to completion. If they have not focused on their ability to follow through, they may have problems staying in dedicated, monogamous relationships. They are so in tune with all of the exciting possibilities of what could be that they will always fantasize about a greener pasture out there somewhere. If they are not paired with a partner who enjoys new experiences, or who shares their idealistic enthusiasm, the ENFP may become bored. The ENFP who is bored and who is not focused will be very unhappy, and will eventually "leave" the relationship if the problem is not addressed.

Since relationships are central to the ENFP's life, they will be very "hands on" and involved with their intimate relationships. They may be in the habit of constantly asking their partner how they're doing, what they're feeling, etc. This behavior may be a bit smothering, but it also supports a strong awareness of the health (or illness) of the relationship.

Sexually, the ENFP is creative, perfectionistic, playful and affectionate. Their rich fantasy world makes them fun and creative lovers, who usually have new ideas up their sleeves. They whole-heartedly embrace the opportunity for closeness with their mates, believing sexual intimacy to be a positive, fun way to express how much you love each other.

The ENFP needs to be given positive assurance and affirmation. More than one ENFP has been known to "go fishing" for complements. They like to hear from their significant others that they are loved and valued, and are willing and eager to return the favor. They enjoy lavishing love and affection on their mates, and are creative and energetic in their efforts to please. The ENFP gets a lot of their personal satisfaction from observing the happiness of others, and so is generally determined to please and serve their partners.

A problem area for ENFPs in relationships is their dislike of conflict and sensitivity to criticism. They are perfectionists who believe that any form of criticism is a stab at their character, which is very difficult for them to take. Conflict situations are sources of extreme stress to the ENFP. They have a tendency to brush issues under the rug rather than confront them head-on, if there is likely to be a conflict. They are also prone to "give in" easily in conflict situations, just to end the conflict. They might agree to something which goes against their values just to end the uncomfortable situation. In such cases, the problem is extended and will return at a later time. The ENFP needs to realize that conflict situations are not the end of the world. They are entirely normal, and can be quite helpful for the growth of a relationship. They also need to work on taking criticism for what it is, rather than blowing up any negative comment into an indictment against their entire character.

Generally, the ENFP is a warm and affirming creature who is very interested and able to have an intense, meaningful, close relationship with their mate.

Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, ENFP's natural partner is the INTJ, or the INFJ. ENFP's dominant function of Extraverted Intuition is best matched with a partner whose dominant function is Introverted Intuition.

ENFPs as Parents
ENFPs take their parenting role very seriously, but are also very playful. There's a bit of grown-up kid in every ENFP, so they get a lot of fun and enjoyment from playing with their children. However, they consider it essential to pass their strongly-held values and beliefs down to their children, and will strive consistently to create a positive, ideal environment for their children's growth.

The ENFP may exhibit an inconsistency in their roles with their children. At one moment, they might be their child's best friend, laughing and whooping it up, and in the next moment they may appear the stern authoritarian. This inconsistency seems to be a result of a conflict between the ENFP's genuine desire to relate to their children on the children's level, and their compulsion to follow their deeply-felt value system. In other words, the ENFP wants to be their child's friend, but if a value is violated, they will revert to the parental role to make sure their children understand the violation. This inconsistency may be confusing and frustrating for the children.

The children of ENFPs generally feel loved, because the ENFP gives their children plenty of genuine warmth and support. They usually value their children as individuals, allowing them room for growth. The ENFP's enthusiasm and affection may at times seem smothering to their children. This will be especially true for children with strong Thinking or Sensing preferences, who will have a difficult time understanding the effervescence of the ENFP, and will feel at times embarrassed by the ENFP's enthusiasm and tendency to display their affection publicly.

The ENFP is able to take care of day-to-day necessities, such as picking children up at the correct times, getting them to softball practice, getting them fed, etc. However, it is a chore for the ENFP and is not a natural strength. The ENFP also has a difficult time disciplining their children, unless a very strongly-held value has been violated.

The rich imagination and creativity of the ENFP parent creates a fun, dynamic and exciting environment for kids. The ENFP's strong value system turns experiences into meaningful lessons for their children. The ENFP parent is valued by their children for their warm, affirming natures, and their fun-loving approach to living.

ENFPs as Friends
ENFPs are warm and sociable people who are keenly in tune with other people's feelings and perspectives. They are energetic and fun to be with. They are very affirming, and get great satisfaction from supporting and lifting up others. They are idealists who seek authenticity in their personal relationships. ENFPs are valued by their peers and confidantes as warm, supportive, giving people.

In the workplace or other casual relationship environments, the ENFP is likely to get along well with almost all other types of people. ENFPs are genuinely interested in people, and are highly perceptive about them, to the point where they're able to understand and relate to all of the personality types with relative ease. They like to see the best in others, and are likely to bring out the best in others. While they are generally accepting of most all people, ENFPs with strong Feeling preferences may have a difficult time understanding people with very strong Thinking preferences who do not respond to the ENFP's enthusiastic warmth. ENFPs will stay open-minded about what they consider a "rejection" by the Thinker, until the situation has repeated itself a few times, in which case ENFPs may shut themselves entirely against the Thinker.

ENFPs may also feel threatened by individuals with strong Judging preferences. With a tendency to take any criticism personally, ENFPs may find themselves irritated or emotional when the Judger expresses a negative opinion, believing somehow that the Judger is expressing disapproval or disappointment in the ENFP.

For close friendships, ENFPs are especially drawn to other iNtuitive Feeling types, and to other Extraverts who are also enthusiastic about life. Like the other iNtuitive Feeling types, the ENFP needs authenticity and depth in their close relationships. They're likely to have friends from all walks of life who they feel close to and care about, but will have only a few very close friends with similar ideals to their own. The ENFP also tends to value the company of iNtuitive Thinkers.