Well, I know my identity is rather obscure to most of my readers. There are several reasons, including wanting privacy because of some circumstances I have been through recently. But I’ve also been thinking that, even if those circumstances were different, I’d probably still like to blog more or less anonymously. Iyov said something a while ago that resonated with me:
I post here anonymously. I don’t do it to be mysterious, but because I simply wish to have a forum separate from my “regular life” where I can speak purely about ideas — in a way that won’t make my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances uncomfortable.
So, even though I won’t tell you who I am (unless we strike up a one-on-one conversation by email :), I decided to tell you a little bit about Eclexia. Wayne’s post at Better Bible Blogs gave me the push to try to figure out again how to post my personality badge. Lingamish gave me instructions on how to do it. I’m so happy I was able to post something in HTML code, that I’m posting it again here:
To quote Larry the Cucumber, when he first got a glimpse of the new neighborhood StuffMart: “What’s it mean?!?!”
In answer to that, here’s the breakdown of how it looks in real life: [WARNING: This is definitely naval-gazing, so if that kind of thing turns you off or if you really don’t care to know all the nuances of my personality, you definitely DON’T want to read any further!]
I’m an introvert. This always surprises people, because I talk a lot. But, every time I have taken the test over the past 15 or so years, I test strongly as an I. I like people, but I like them in small numbers–like one at a time or maybe 2. With very close friends or among family, I can handle being with 5 or 6 other people(which, since most of my friends have several children, too, is often a much higher number–I guess knowing everyone well makes it better. Now that I think about it, most of the times I’ve been in groups with a couple of other families and not been overwhelmed, most of them were also introverts!) Among new acquaintances, three people can overwhelm me. I don’t like to talk to strangers and I’m a total wallflower at women’s retreats and the like.
Being around lots of people drains me, and I need time alone or in the company of one close friend to recharge. Books are great friends to me, because they don’t overwhelm me, and I have time to think about what’s being said before I have to respond to anybody about it. There are times when I feel alone while facing a difficulty, in the sense that no one else can actually walk through it for me. But, I can hardly ever think of a time in my life when I’ve been lonely.
The S part of me–I am very rooted in the here and now–what I can see, hear, taste. On the one hand, I take in and remember a lot of details. On the other, it tends to be mainly one sense at a time. For example, if I’m really thirsty, I honestly don’t know if I’m hungry or not. It also means, Tell me what to do, and I’ll be glad to do it. But I probably won’t instinctively or intuitively know. This is changing over the years, because with my emotional memory (if I’ve felt something, I’ll remember it) and my systemized way of storing up things I’ve concretely experienced, I can draw on the past to get a pretty accurate feel for how to act in new situations.*
As a feeler–well, the bottom line is that I reason emotionally. And it’s taken me a long time to be able to recognize and admit that. It doesn’t mean I don’t or can’t think. It just means that before something becomes a thought, I feel it. I’ve spent a lot of energy in my life trying to figure out the logic that supports what I know through feeling and then verbalize it in rational language. As a result, I can sort of operate from a thinking mode, but on some level, it’s still always tied into feeling.** Even if I’m learning something which is more “heady”, in order for it to stick, I have to feel it. Once I feel it, it’s as good as memorized.
When I look at myself, I do not think I look very much like a J, because I’m not very neat or highly organized as many Js tend to be. However, I do crave predictability. And I like systems. I delight in consistency within systems. When I think about my linguistics classes, tagmemics still gives me a sense of awe and beauty. I doubt I’ll ever forget what it felt like to see a whole line of adjectives laid out neatly in categories reflecting the way we naturally order them.
I always loved diagramming in school, and tagmemics was like diagramming on steroids for me! I think the semester I took it was the last that it was taught at the school I attended. And I remember being very sad as I looked at the new system that had taken its place. It was simplified, but it seemed so–I don’t know–postmodern or something (not that I knew what postmodern was at the time, and not that I’m anti-post-modern. I appreciate, for example, the space postmodernism makes for my way of operating with feelings. It’s just the new system seemed less–systematic.)
The other thing about being a J (and, I think particularly an SFJ) is that my brain is always seeking to make connections, striving to see how things fit together. I read about things or talk to people, and my brain doesn’t just process it by itself. I process it by seeing how it connects to all the other people or things or thoughts in my life. That also reinforces the emotional memory and the cognitive hooks I use to recall things with, because each new feeling and experience is filed in multiple categories–connected and cross-referenced many times over.
Back to the original question that prompted this wordy post: Is there a connection between my personality and the Bible versions I like? I’ll leave that to Wayne to figure out, but here’s the data. I’m an ISFJ, and I like NLT best of all. But I don’t like to be very far from something more literal like NASB, ESV or NKJV. Here’s what I said in the comments on the Better Bible Blog post on this topic:
the IF part of me is totally addicted to NLT–it’s the Bible where I get the feel for what is being said(without it seeming like the meaning has been messed with too much). The SJ part of me that appreciates precision and more literal sounding structures prefers things like NASB and ESV style. I would never make it through any other book written like the NASB or ESV, though. It’s just that with the Bible I fight this balance to feel what’s being said (because that’s the only way I can internalize it and remember it) and wanting to know, “Is that REALLY what it said in the original?”
I look forward to hearing Wayne’s conclusions.
* I found this interesting quote about why ISFJs sometimes look intuitive: “This means that, not only within the world of objects, but also in their relationships with people, ISFJs are gifted with the ability to recognize and understand the comfort and surroundings suitable to a secure and pleasing existence. And they can do this with a decisiveness which might make others wonder if the ISFJ was not in fact getting their answers from some form of intuitive understanding rather than what is really a vast library of carefully related memory images and value judgments.” I have found this to be true of me–even when I look more intuitive than I used to be, I am actually just drawing from a larger bank of life experiences and relationships.
**Dave Warnock talks about a similar thing, but coming from the opposite direction: …I know that I tend to apply F in a logical way. In some sense I have decided through T that the F is important and therefore think carefully about F, that boosts the score here somewhat more than it should be. I would personally see these as almost 50/50.