Wednesday, February 27, 2013

well that explains it

Who here has taken a personality test?

Ok, y'all can put your hands down.

My guess is that a large number of you have taken some kind of personality test at some point in your lives.  Whether its those all revealing ones from Seventeen magazine (What kind of girlfriend are you?) or something a bit deeper like finding out whether you are a beaver or a lion or a German shepherd or...something else.

I've kinda always been fascinated by those tests, always trying to find something that better explains me to myself.  I usually could agree with the tests I took...sort of. 

Last fall I came across a different test, one I had not ever taken - the Myers-Briggs.  I had heard of it in college but thought it was something that a psychologist administered, or someone with some high level of education.  However, you can take it online at

I turned out to be a INFJ.




Judging (yikes!)

It went on to explain more about this personality:

As with many other Judicial personality types, the INFJ enjoys structure and order. Though our intuition can cause our structure to fluctuate, we still thrive best when we can plan out the details of our situations and lives. Sometimes, however, spontaneity can occur outside of our control. This deeply shakes us and we often respond to this loss of control with anger and frustration.

Because we are introverts, INFJs are completely content being with just one person, whether a partner, friend or family member. When we make friends, it is usually for the long haul and it takes a lot to destroy a relationship.

INFJs are never happy with ourselves. No matter how much an INFJ has improved, there is always room to be better. Often times, we can struggle with relishing in our accomplishments since we continue to focus on where we have fallen short and how we could have done better. It can sometimes frustrate an INFJ to see others complacent with their current selves.

While many INFJs can practice and put on a good show, most of us struggle with social norms and routines, especially if we see little use for them. Since, as mentioned before, we find it difficult to put our thoughts into words, we can feel uncomfortable being in situations that cause us to interact in a spontaneous manner, such as meeting someone new.

INFJs spend most of our time thinking through deep and complex matters, therefore shallow and menial conversations of everyday life can confuse and frustrate us. Talks of the weather and local sports are exhausting for us. We would much rather ask for life stories, sincere problems of which we can offer solutions and therapy session-like conversations. When we ask "how are you," we mean it on the deepest and sincerest possible level.

INFJs have an amazing ability to think abstractly. In our minds, it is easy to see gray areas and blurred lines. While we tend to have strong principles and passions, an INFJ can usually see another persons point-of-view on any situation. Whenever there is a difference of opinion, an INFJ is very driven to ask questions and seek information about the opposing side in order to understand the different perspective. This part of our personality leads to deep compassion and always giving others the benefit of the doubt.

INFJs are known for being the most intuitive personality type. We "just know" a lot of information that we can never fully explain. Many sensing types and a few intuitive types cannot fully grasp our level of intuition and easily discredit our knowledge. Without any explanation as to why, we can feel the feelings of everyone around us as deeply as though they were our own.

The most misunderstood part of an INFJ is how we feel everything those around us feel. We do not sympathize. We do not empathize. We literally feel exactly what you feel. Even if you are trying to hide it or don't express your feelings, somehow we still know."

Along with our open-mindedness and compassion, our ability to intuitively feel and sense things around us is a large part of why we can help others so easily. We just know what is best for those around us even if we cannot articulate why.

And one more that really hit me:
INFJ is the rarest Myers-Briggs personality type accounting for less than 1% of the population. Because of this, we can feel misunderstood by many.

Oh, so that makes more sense now....I've always felt like the oddball.  Throughout all my school years I always felt like the odd girl out.  In elementary and middle school, I often felt aloneIn high school, I attributed it to my commitment to Christ (although I think that had something to do with it!) but now I see that maybe it had to do with my personality and how I've been put together.  Only 1% of the population is INFJ?  Alright, anyone else out there this type?  Let's chat.

After discovering my personality type, it spurred two different types of action within me - 


and commitment to change.  

This helped explain a few things about me; like the fact that I love routine and perfection and everything in it's place.  I have always felt socially awkward, and I probably always will.

People's emotions directly affect how I feel.  That one's a tough one for me.  I am surrounded by hormonal teenagers on a daily basis and I often take on the emotions that are flying around.  By better understanding this about myself, I can be more aware of when it is happening and work to control my emotions instead of letting then control me.

I encourage others to try this test out, see what it gives you.  If there is one thing we can realize from this, it is that God has created each of uniquely, but yet we are all created to show his Glory.  

Introvert or Extroverted

Feeling or Thinking

Perceptive or Judging 

Sensing or Intuitive

We were all made to praise Him and to have our lives reflect Him.

Can't say I am always succeeding in that one, but it is what I strive for.

How about you?  Who are you?  I'd love to hear! 

pictures courtesy of Owen Suvar 2012 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Through the eyes of a child

My grandpa is not doing well.  His health is failing and we do not know how much longer he will be with us.

I sat down the other day to explain this to our kids:

"Kids, we are going to take a quick trip to Illinois to see Grandpa and Grandma.  Grandpa isn't doing well and -"

Hannah interrupts me with a smile on her face and uplifted hands, "Is he going to heaven?!"

"Well, Grandpa does love Jesus and he is born again, so yes, he will be going to heaven."

At this point Hannah is almost giddy with excitement. "He will see Jesus, and be in heaven, and it will be so wonderful!"

I'm trying to hold myself together.  Her thrill of the thought of my grandpa having a wonderful time in heaven is almost too much for me. 

She gets it.

In her little 4 year old mind she sees how this life is just a passage.  This life has some joys and pleasures, but boy, heaven is where we should be looking to go.

With childlike anticipation.

The conversation continued along the lines of dying for a few more minutes but neither Owen or Hannah were distressed at the thought of being done with this earth.

Hannah ends the conversation with a sigh and a longing on her face, "How much longer do we have to wait until Jesus comes?!"

Hebrews 11:13-15 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come. With Jesus' help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name

Sunday, February 3, 2013

January Lookback

 If December was a month of struggling to surface in the waves of constant change, January was a chance to cling to a life preserver and take a few breaths of fresh air.  Who knows what February holds, but I thank God for January.

Birthdays.  Playing chess.  Reading books. Enjoying the snow.

*Deep breath* Sigh.  Loved it.  All of it.
Paul's 31st birthday on the 11th. 
 Paul designed and bought shirts for all of Cypress House: residents, Houseparent kids, and Houseparents.  I think they were a hit.
 I think the game ended in a tickle-fight so I guess it was a tie.
 Love that Owen is learning to read and that he enjoys it!
 Four family birthdays to celebrate with the Steffen's for January/February
 Two 3-year-olds.  The brunette...
 ...and the blond.
 The gift of a baby doll was a BIG hit.  Her name?  Summer Squirrel.
 Skating on the frozen reservoir...
 ...along with some hockey
and of course a meal cooked in the bathroom.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Birthday wish....a day late

Sorry I'm a day late posting this, Madeline.  Please don't take that as something against you.  We love you with all our hearts. 

You are our baby, and even as you grow older, you will still be our baby.  Sorry, it just comes with the territory of being the youngest.  But here we are, celebrating 3 years of energetic, rambunctious life.  You came into this world, a head of dark hair, a screaming package of 6lbs 3oz.

Having been born into and raised in the Gateway community, you are used to being around all sorts of people, mainly people 10+ years older than you.

That doesn't stop you from making friends.  You've got a smile for whoever will take it, and even for the ones who won't.

By growing up around people older than you I sometimes worry that you will grow up too fast, but you still carry your blankie around with you everywhere you go, and that thumb on your right hand is found in your mouth 80% of the time.

I love that you still want to cuddle and sometimes demand that I lay down on the couch with you.  Those moments are some of my favorites. 

You love anything small, and collect those things and call them your babies.  And although you are prone to throw things at people just for the fun of it, you do have a soft side that loves hugs and giving kisses.

Madeline, we love you, and are so glad you are a part of our family.  We pray that you grow up to love Jesus and desire to serve Him and follow Him and that your life would bring Him all the glory.

A very Happy Birthday, our little Madeline.