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#13 Dealing with Difficult People by Charles J. Keating, 1984

My how times have changed. The author’s use of both “he” and “she” pronouns had me thankful that “they” don’t do that anymore. I’m waiting for the day when we do away with “quote marks” too. We’ve come a long way since 1984–my first full year of marriage–by the way.

My favorite chapter of the book was his thoughts on dealing with people in light of the Myers Briggs Personality Preference Inventory (MBTI). Reading this section greatly entertained my own personality preference. It’s the preference that wants to take every personality test out there and prove to myself–and others–that I really am a fun-loving, easy going person. I’m like my departed grandmother when she asked every visitor that ever entered her home, how old you think I am? But I do it with personality styles.

I’m a High I. Sanguine. Otter.   ENFP.

So, when my dear friend, Nancy, encouraged me to take a turn doing staff devotions, I decided to have a fun-filled MBTI party instead of preach something from the Old or New Testament. At this season in my life, I don’t feel called to expound on the Word of God to our pastors and staff. Not that I ever felt called to such a calling. My speed in this season is more touchy/feely kumbiyah-ish. Which I now realize makes others think we ENFPs don’t really have much of an intellect. But do you know how hard it can be to give a “talk” that looks like you just threw it together? Hours upon hours are spent over writing and re-writing. OK, maybe minutes upon minutes. Once in front of an audience that’s all I seem to want to do is enjoy, and tap into my inner-comic. You know, I think if I were brave and self-assured, I would have been a stand-up-comic. But I’m neither brave nor self-assured (that was obvious when I decided I shouldn’t jump on a trampoline at 60). But. Life’s not over. I do think the older I get, the braver I get, and not that I get self-assured, but perhaps I’d call it God-assured. That feeling you get when you know that you know God takes great delight in using you in His Kingdom advancing activities. Just this morning, as I was writing Him only, I remarked about feeling so very much a part of thy kingdom come. I do think that there are places on this earth where the already is far greater than the not yet. And I think I am living in such a place and time. I also think there are places on the earth today where there is very little of the already not actualized at all. [This already/not yet concept may foreign to some and if that is the case, please google it. I have not the energy or intellect (there it is) to explain it.]

But what if everyday, from here forward, we fell asleep reflecting on whether or not the day had been more filled with already or not yet? I like that idea.

But for now, back to Myers Briggs. This book had some great points on how to embrace the strengths in yourself and in others, and help us all to recognize how someone not like us, would like to be treated. It tells us how we prefer to embrace the world, embrace vocations and prefer to make decisions, among other things. If you don’t know your preferences, I highly recommend going to the internet and taking the test for free. You can google that too, of course.

Here’s some personal and perhaps helpful observations from my time thinking on such things:

  • It may be best to adjust your personality preference when talking with a person who you find difficult (or vice versa). Just the facts ma’am. Less is truly more when an ENFP is talking to an ISTJ.
  • Even though you may be a Perceiver (the spontaneous ones), you still may enjoy an organized home, and love to make lists just because you like being productive. You may also be much quicker at decision making than J’s (Judging).
  • And just because you are an extrovert it does not mean you are enjoyable to everybody. Some will find you completely obnoxious.
  • And just because you are an introvert doesn’t mean that you don’t socialize well. Some of my favorite people and closest friends are introverts. (Elisabeth! Share! Julia!)
  • Thinkers can be incredibly kind even though they don’t wear their heart on their sleeve like feelers seem to do.
  • You may have the same MBTI as another yet have a completely different personality. (I discovered that this week, made me giggle, and also made me think, the other person was saying in his head, You got to be kidding, I’m nothing like her?!)
  • If other ENFPs are anything like me, then we don’t have to finish anything well. Or even finish at all. We just stop and move on to something else. Kinda like this blog …

#14 The Question of God by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr., 2002


Can’t tell you how much I loved this book. But, I’m not so sure everyone would love it like I did. Especially if you are an atheist. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for the atheist worldview. Here’s an indication of that from the very first page:

Dr. Sigmund Freud Dies in Exile at 83. New York Times headline.

This book discuses the meaning of life based on the writings of Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis.

I’ll admit, I find Lewis hard to read, but reading about him or watching Shadowlands … well, you had me at hello. Perhaps I really am shallow.

While I remember liking Mere Christianity in spots, I never could get through Screwtape Letters or The Great Divorce. A required reading of The Abolition of Man was painful. Really. Even The Chronicles of Narnia have never drawn me in. But I am such a fan when other people interpret Lewis for me. Even a phrase of his can bring me to glorious heights. Like this one:

Everlasting Splendors.

It was John Ortberg however who led me there, when he said something like: We are in the process of becoming everlasting splendors.

That’s what this life, here and now, is supposed to be all about. Preparing us to be everlasting splendors so that we will rule and reign with the Creator of the Universe. Really! No eye can see — or ear can hear — what God is preparing for His children!

Perhaps the reason why I loved this book so much is that it showed me how someone as brilliant as Lewis embraces the truth of Jesus Christ and the Word of God so beautifully and intelligently. I can’t help but think that anyone who reads it would come away “wanting Christianity to be true” even if their minds still found it difficult to embrace.

I don’t like it when the world acts like Christians are backward, un-evolved bumpkins. That’s what Freud thinks of Christians, and if there is a God, he loves to hate him. But the problem with this is that when you choose to ignore or marginalize the God who created you, life loses its intended meaning. It’s often fame and fortune that one seeks to make them happy, and of course it doesn’t, and they end their days on earth filled with cynicism and despair. Yes, I believe that. Call me what you will.