Suffering is Not the End…

The last month and a half has been harder.  Some due to it being the holidays.  Some due to other circumstances going on around me.  But mostly due to what goes on internally in my mind.  Now, we all know that I enjoy personality tests, but only when they help us understand ourselves more and not just be a place to box someone in.  Thus, reading about INFJ’s has been helpful as of late.  Things I have read that have made me laugh because they are so true of me, but really have help get some levity to the far too often brevity…

“creative, smart, focus on fantasy more than reality, attracted to sad things, fears doing the wrong thing, observer, avoidant…” –similarminds.com on the INJF.  Oh look – attracted to sad things…makes a little more sense that my default is to go inside my mind and think about heavier things that are sad.  I always want to talk about heavy things – and hate the mundane chat.  I am guilty of thinking I am better because I think about real things – but I am not.  All I am is prideful, and that is sick and messed up.  Jesus had to die for my pride.

“Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement.”
personalitypage.com on the INFJ.  I think it is not easy because the way we are wired does not make it easy – hello, attracted to sad things will bring more hardship.

“INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people — a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious “soul mates.” While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent “givers.” As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood — particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type.” –typelogic.com.  Okay, that was a long paragraph – but so insightful for me in light of how I have been the last few months.

And there was another quote that I found about the INFJ, but cannot find it now as I write this.  So let me summarize, it went a little like this, “INFJ’s are hard to lead.”  Oh my, how so many people could attest to that statement.  It went on to explain that the INFJ can be led, it is just not always easy to do.  Far too accurate.  Sanctification needed?  Yes.  (Will not get on my lovely little soapbox here, but this is part of my driving force why I love my independence in singleness.  Do I idolize?  Yes, sadly I do.  Not all the time, but I know I cling to that far more than the cross and trusting God.  Work in progress.  Thankful God is doing the work and enabling me by the Holy Spirit to be proactive in this fight.)

So what really got me thinking about this?  Well, this morning I was reading Romans 5:1-11 because a friend who cares for my soul pointed me there.  He saw how depressed I have been and wanted to offer me some hope, but more wanted to point me back to truth.  The reality is as believers we will suffer this side of heaven – no way around that.  It will look different for each of us.  Suffering is not the end though – that is what I far too often forget.  And it leaves me so defeated.  I look at the non-believers and get so confused because they seem to have more joy than I do.  Then it hit me this morning – that is because their joy is here and now, in the moment – so they do have joy in the moment, but it is not lasting.  For believers – we have had our eyes opened to the reality of this world and see that real lasting joy is not here.  Thus, I can enjoy things but they are mere shadows.  Now, not all believers are depressed, in fact I would argue that we shouldn’t be – some of us are still just really learning how to rejoice in suffering (hi, prone to sad things…may be starting a few steps back on this one than the person that is king or queen of optimism…).  Suffering produces endurance.  That is so true – the more we go through the stronger we are.  But this is not because of what we have done – it is because of what He has done for us – and what He has given us the grace and strength to walk through.  Endurance produces character.  And character produces hope – hope in God.  Not hope in ourselves.  That is where the Christian and non-Christian disagree.

These are still thoughts that are formulating, but I just had to get them out of my mind and thought I might as well share them here.  If you have any thoughts, please share them.  If you have anything encouraging for me – or any of the other readers, please share them.  Thankful that I can be honest here (I do love fashion, but that is just a sliver of what I really think about daily.  It is just a way to express my love for beautiful things…).

Happy New Year, friends!

Much love,

B

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Personality What?!

Personality tests are helpful.  They are interesting.  But they are not everything, nor are they everything about a person.  They give us insight to better understand how a person thinks, processes through life, responds to situations, approaches situations, and why they act a certain way in public.  However, where we limit ourselves is when we think that the personality test gives us a complete understanding of why people do the things they do.  They don’t.  There is so much more you have to factor in, such as belief system, worldview, personal upbringing and background, current life stage, circumstances being faced with, etc…

Personality tests should not put someone in a box.  (I say this because I am guilty of far too quickly thinking I understand someone because I know what their four little letters from Myers Briggs stands for, when in all actuality I am only beginning to scratch the surface at getting to know him or her).  Personality tests should be used to help us get to know someone, and lead to more questions and allow you to go deeper.  Not every ISTJ or ENFP is exactly the same.  Not every ISTJ stays an ISTJ (I would know…once was an ISTJ and now am an INTJ/INFJ depending on the setting).  Where we are in life affects the test results – there is no way around that, or at least for most of us there is no way around that, but then again maybe I am just to much of a chameleon.  

I love personality tests – many of you know that.  As I tend to talk about them, well far too often, or so it seems.  Recently though, it seems I am not the only one talking about them, nor am I the only one who feels we may be talking about them too much in a not so helpful way.  Not everyone likes personality tests, and that is okay.  Not everyone has a lot of knowledge on personality tests, and that, too, is okay.  So, if we find ourselves talking about them – we need to make sure that we aren’t being exclusive in conversation, especially since it is a topic that is really intended to help include everyone and better understand one another.  It really can sound like a foreign language when you start throwing letters out, whether you are talking Myers Briggs or DISC test, or words like “Whoo” when referring to Strength FInders 2.0 – if you don’t explain what you are talking about you will lose people.  Quickly.

I think we should get to know one another.  I think personality tests aid in helping us do that.  I think they help us better understnad ourselves.  In fact, if you haven’t taken a Myers Briggs, I highly suggest you do and go here to take it.  But don’t stop there.  Let this insight to one another help you to see how we each reflect Christ in different ways.  You will show me Christ in different ways than I will show you.  That is the beauty of living in community.  So, keep talking about personality tests, just be careful to not make them ultimate.  I know I am fighting to do that, though it is hard because I find them fascinating. 

By no means am I an expert on this topic or innocent in this area.  These are just some of my more recent thoughts on the matter as they have been coming up and I have not spoken up to share my thoughts (guess that is the introvert in me coming out…or more making me retreat…).  So, I wanted to take the time to scratch them out here.  What are your thoughts on personality tests?  Helpful, err no?!

Would love your input, friends.

Much love,

B

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Decay…

“There is nothing, naturally speaking, that makes us lose heart quicker than decay—the decay of bodily beauty, of natural life, of friendship, of associations, all these things make a man lose heart; but Paul says when we are trusting in Jesus Christ these things do not find us discouraged, light comes through them.”

-OSWALD CHAMBERS

This quote was so helpful for me – becasue it is so true.  We always love things when we first see them, but as we get used to them our affection starts to fade, leaving us wanting more or longing for the next best thing.  This is our natural disposition as sinners.  We are wasting away, everything in this world is decaying – and none of it will ever fully satisfy us.  However, like Oswald mentioned above, Jesus gives us hope and in Him we find fullness of joy.  The beauty of the world should be enjoyed, but it is not meant to be an end in and of itself, it is rather meant to be a shadow that points us back to Jesus – who will not ever decay and is true beauty Himself.  And that, keeps me from loosing heart in a world that is fading away.

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Tradition…

Today is the annual event of the release of Cities 97 Sampler.  This year marks the 22nd anniversary.  They only make a limited amount to be sold at the Target stores in the metro area.  They sell out the day they are released, and at some stores they sell out before the doors even open.  Meaning, if you do not wake up early and stand out in the cold waiting in line you will be out of luck.  That is not a risk I am willing to take, and thankfully every year I have had a friend to accompany me and stand in the brisk Minnesota morning with me.  It helps the time pass by as we talk about life, what we are learning, what we are sifting through, processing thoughts of potential future options, and music…wonderful music, specifically that which we will have in our hand once we are inside in the warmth. 

Now, this is only the second year I have actually personally gone out to get the sampler, but it is going to have to be a tradition.  It is just too good to pass up if you ask me.  What they do to make this cd is take music recorded in the Cities 97 Studio C or at the Basilica Block Party (put on by Cities every July) by artists that travel through Minneapolis.  They are amazingly talented musicians that are true artists, and that is evident by the fact when you take all the fancy producing away they still sound amazing…and in some cases, even sound better.  I love good live music, thus I love this cd every year.  It even sounds better playing nice and loud in my new car (which is still setting in that I really have a new car and it is not a rental or anything…).

Ash & B...proud owners of Sampler 22

So, that is my mid-November tradition.  Do you have fun little traditions to look forward to throughout the year?

Much love,

B

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We All Need a Little R & R…

Everyone needs it, but it is not always easy to come by.  Why is that?  Why is our culture so driven by busyness?  The Lord gave us rest.  It is good for us.  And we need it to survive.  I am thankful that rest is mine to take as a daughter of grace – that I can come to Him when I am burdened and heavy laden, and He will give my soul rest.  Does it take away the pain or heaviness of life?  No.  But does it remind me that I am not in control, He is and He will not leave me – or any of His other children that I cannot fix but only weep with – or forsake us?  Yes.  That has been a sweet place for me to go recently.  I am thankful that we were not meant to fight this battle alone and that I get to be there for others, but it is so easy to let others burdens start really weighing me down – and that can get draining and life sucking if I let it stop there.  I need to bring those to the cross, I need to point these others to the cross – because that is what will give them comfort – not anything in and of myself.

The Perfect Combination...

I am an introvert.  So, when I am craving some refreshment, my go to is solid alone time – whether that be laying in the dark listening to loud music or going to my favorite, Spyhouse, with my portable office (aka about 5 books, Bible, journal, iPod, computer and Vogue) and getting a cup of coffee and sitting for a few hours – I get away and just be.  I try to fight for this time at least one solid chunck a week, but it is not always easy – but totally worth fighting to guard – and I say that from learning the hard way.  I am thankful for my R & R and do not care if that makes me look like less of an American because I do not have drive that keeps me going 24/7 – it keeps me from going completely insane.

What do you do to get some quality R & R?

Much love,

B

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It’s Been Too Long…

Sorry, friends!  I feel bad for neglecting you.  I have been busy with life and updating B. in the Know but failed to update here what is actually going on in my life.  The month of October flew by for me.  Probably because I was busy celebrating my birthday all month long – thanks to my wonderful friends and family for helping me stretch out the celebration and welcome in the new age of 25.  Honestly, does not feel different.  What feels different is that pretty much everything else in life has changed, so it is only fitting that my age changed, too – right?! 

I am keeping busy at work – in fact I have even gotten put on a new project where I am doing a lot more – I am the Fairview Connect Education Coordinator – sounds important, doesn’t it?!  I am quickly learning it is rather important – I do not know if they really want to be giving me this much control, but hey it is fun and challenging which makes work so much more enjoyable.  I think my perspective on work has also changed due to the help of Mr. Tim Keller as I read through and study Gospel in Life for small group.  I was seeing that I had an apathetic outlook on my job because it deals with the present and not so much the eternal, so I was failing at seeing its significance -but Keller has helped me see that I was having a very small view of work.  I am called to do this job to the glory of God – how do I know that?  God calls us to do everything to His glory and He has provided this job for me – therefore, I am right where He wants me.  So, I want to do my job well and see that it does have significance (I mean, I am in charge of making sure doctors, nurses and really the whole clinic is trained…for about 70 clinics…big task and important that they know how to do their job).

Something a little silly, but it is the simple things in life…I have a cube and I love that!  Seriously.  Though, it is looking a little bare at this point in time, so I need to spice it up a bit.  Anyone have some good ideas as to how to beautify a cube?  I would love suggestions.  It cannot be too extremem seeing as how I do share the cube with another woman, but she is open to me adding a little character to my side.  This is what it looks like thus far…

Very bare cube...

Outside of work and celebrating my birthday, October was filled with a lot of Theta activities (guess that is bound to happen with being on two Theta boards and in a Theta book club), intellectual discussions with friends, my “niece” turning two and styling her with skinnies and sparkly shoes, and a lot of reading.  It is funny how as I have gotten older that has really become one of my favorite things to do – so restful and refreshing.

Example of how many books I read at once...

Well, I better get going but please don’t forget to leave suggestions for my cube!

Much love,

B

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Peace…

Earlier this summer I read The Mortification of Sin by John Owen.  It was a wonderful book in the sense that it made you come to grips with your own sin and the importance of fighting against your sin the is waging war against your soul.  However, it was not the most encouraging book you may ever read.  Though, I would highly recommend it for a believer desiring to grow in their understanding of sin – but read it with someone else so you can process through it together and remind each other of the gospel as you walk through it.

After reading that my soul was in dire need to read a book that was straight gospel.  To remind me of the saving work that Jesus Christ did on the cross for my sinful self – and to remember that I am justified at the cross.  It is finished.  So, what did I read?  The Everlasting Righteousness by Horatius Bonar.

I just finished reading this wonderful book today.  It ministered to my soul so much.  Almost every page has things underlined or starred or notes next to something.  It stirred my thoughts.  It helped me understand the gospel at a deeper level.  But most importantly, it was a shadow that pointed me back to Jesus Christ and made me fall more in love with him.  I feel like I could share so many different quotes with you, but I am just going to post one (for now at least…), and it will be from the last chapter since that is the most current on my mind…

“The life of the justified should be a peaceful one.  Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, – the God of peace, and the God of all grace.  The world’s storms have not been stilled, nor our skies brightened, nor our enemies swept away; but the peace of God has come in and taken possession of the soul.” (page 194)

I love that whole quote, but especially the third sentence.  It reminds me a lot of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…So we do not lost heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  That passage in scripture and the quote both leave me smiling – even when tears may be streaming down my face as a result of the pain of this world and current circumstances – because they give me hope and remind me that one day I will be with Jesus in Heaven and that will be amazing.  And another thing that is sweet is that he knows the pain with me – I am not alone in it.  These truths give my soul peace in the middle of the storm.

Anyone else read The Everlasting Righteousness – what is one of your favorite quotes?

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