Around Christmas, my brother-in-law sent me a link to a personality test. Honestly, I’ve always been a sucker for those, so I decided to try it out. This one was a Myers-Briggs type. You know, the one with the four letters? I did one my first semester of college as part of my communications class a million (or 17) years ago. I hadn’t really been feeling much like my same self lately, so I was very curious to see what the results would be. Had my personality changed as I had grown and matured? Did it transform through the experiences of my life? I was a little nervous. I view my personality as the very core of my personal identity. It’s what makes me, me. And so, with a mix of excitement and trepidation, I started answering the comprehensive list of questions about myself.
It took me a good amount of time to go through them all (because I put a lot of thought into them) and one question has crossed my mind often since then: “You rarely worry about how your actions affect other people.” My initial thought was that I strongly agree because I don’t care what other people think about my choices, as in, I don’t let other people unduly influence me. I am my own person. But then there was this one: “You often feel as if you have to justify yourself to other people.” Obviously not. But it made me think about the first one more. And maybe it was in something else I read later, too, about my actual personality type. Because when it comes down to it, I do care about the effects my actions have on others, which is why I tend to think before I speak and act.
By now, I’m sure you’re dying to know my results. Good news. They were the same as in college. Hooray! I’m still me. I am an INFJ. That happens to be the rarest of the Myers-Briggs types, less than 1% of the population. Here’s what the letters stand for: I=Introverted, N=iNtuitive, F=Feeling, J=Judging. If you want to read all about what it means to be an “Advocate”, click on this link: 16personalities.com/infj-personality. While you’re there, you can also take your own free test. Maybe you’ll be an “Adventurer” like my brother-in-law, a “Commander” like my husband, an “Executive” like my father, or even an “Advocate” like me.
You’re probably wondering what brought this on five months after the fact. Well, this weekend I’m going to my first writers conference. I never wanted to go to one before. I like doing my own things by myself. (ahem, introvert, perfectionist, etc, etc.) BUT, I’m a Mormon. Have been my whole life and I have a deep, strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the things Jesus taught was a parable about talents. In an effort to share and further develop my talents, I have been doing new (and sometimes terrifying) things. For example, a couple weeks ago, I sang a solo during Sacrament Meeting in my ward (local congregation). It wasn’t the first time I’ve ever sung a solo (it’s a super rare thing for me to do, though), but it was the first time here. I usually share my musical talents by playing the piano. That way I don’t know that people are looking at me, and I can pretend that I’m not the center of attention. The next talent I needed to focus on developing was my writing. I’ve felt, for a very long time, directed by the Lord to write. (And just sharing that one sentence with you all is a huge deal for me. Did I mention that I’m an INFJ? An intensely personal person? I don’t like sharing my deep thoughts and feelings with others.) To write my books. Really whatever I imagine, because my imagination is a gift from God. I feel that it’s how I have been called to share my testimony of the Restored Gospel with the world.
But how could I do that if the only people who read my books, are the people who already know me? The people who know me already know how I feel about God. I have to find a way to reach a wider audience. Enter the dreaded writers conference. The thing I never wanted to do. In February, I found one that would be held twenty minutes away from where I live, for less than $300, including meals. Price and location were perfect. Dates were good. I looked at the schedule. Holy cow. People I’ve heard of. Presentations by authors whose names I remembered. (It’s possible that I read too many books and don’t remember the names of the authors that I read. I remember book titles.) Now I was actually excited. Now I wanted to go. All I had to do was wait a few days for our income tax refund to get in so I could pay for my registration. Dun dun dun. Devastation awaited me. The money came. Excited, I opened the website and clicked on the registration page…sorry. Registration is full. Please join the waitlist. I did. Immediately. And waited. And waited. And the money went to pay rent. (My husband is currently a car salesman which is an incredibly financially stressful job. I can tell you, the only way we have survived is because we always pay our tithing. And I mean that more this month than any other month before in my entire life. We paid our tithing on our latest paycheck just before rent would be due. And the amount of tithing left us short on rent. But that same night, finally someone bought my keyboard for that amount.) Now the money was gone. I was sure I wasn’t going. Then amazingly, after two months of waiting, after giving up hope, I got an email that a one-day slot had opened up. Even more amazing, there was money to pay for it. If I took that slot, my name would stay on the list in case a full two-day space opened. You better believe I jumped right on that as soon as possible. Then about a week and a half later, I got the news about a full slot being available. I was in!! I couldn’t believe it.
I don’t know what miracles or tender mercies the Lord has in store for me this weekend, but He definitely made it possible for me to attend my first writers conference. And if you don’t hear from me again for a while, just know that this INFJ is probably recovering from a weekend of peopling. 😉