Although I don't make it a habit to frequent such bastions of retail commerce and chain franchises, I've been in a few here and there. I've been to some of the smaller ones growing up in my home town, I've visited them here and there as the need arose living wherever we were, and I've even been in some of the larger ones in the United States while travelling on business.
I am by no means a "Mall Expert", but I have noticed a few things that are common to all of them.
One feature they all share are both unavoidable and ubiquitous. Sometimes a simple sheet of plastic, sometimes a lighted kiosk, and sometimes a full-blown interactive multimedia experience.
The map. Those indispensable visual vanguards that lay out every store, restraint, exit, stairwell, restroom, and every other highlight or point of interest contained in those gilded walls. (And, if you find a really good one, they may even give you the infinitely helpful "You are here" marker). They can be immensely helpful to determine your position in relation to landmarks and shops; they show you where you can go, but lack one very important piece of information, (but we'll get to that later...)
I've recently completed a class on an introduction to psychology. It was quite interesting to hear many of the theories of behavior and the people and historical events and popular ideas that influenced them. (It was really interesting to compare and contrast what was being taught to the teachings of the Gospel, especially Elder Maxwell's thoughts on the Gospel and behavioral sciences).
One of the topics that was covered was the study of personality and personality development. The class reviewed the different theories and aspects of personalities and personality development, as well as talking about the authors of the different approaches and the historical and academic background that may have influenced them and their ideas.
One of the last sections was talking about the methods and tests that have been developed to assess
and categorize personality and personality traits. We covered shallow but broad overview of the major types of personality tests and their pluses / minuses from Rorschach inkblots to Myers-Briggs Inventories. There are many more that I've seen or heard about dealing with colors, or seasons, or "Which Disney movie are you" or other such things that pop-up on Facebook here and there. I've taken a few of these before, some as part of corporate team-building exercises, some as related to different activities in academic circles, some as part of career counseling and job searches, and some just out of curiosity. They all seem to be somewhat accurate and highlight traits that I have noticed in myself, or patterns of behaviors that I have seen in myself, (although didn't always tell the whole story). It has also been interesting to compare with others that I took the same test with and see how accurate theirs was compared to things I have seen in them.
Some of the tests included not just traits, but suggestions for what activities or interests someone with that personality may find an interest it, or situations that the personality profile may succeed in or find difficulty with. The information was interesting, and in some instances aligned with what I had noticed as common to people with the identified personality types. Something, however, was missing, and although I haven't done a totally exhaustive search of all these different tests and assessments, didn't seem to be common among them.
A few months ago I was home alone for a week while the rest of my family had headed out to the beach for a vacation with the extended family. I had just started a new job and didn't have enough time-off accrued to join them, but while I was taking my own "fam-cation" I decided to do something that I hadn't done in a long time that I almost forgot was even possible - I went to see a movie. It wasn't in a dollar-theater, or rated G, or include a cast of purely animated cartoon characters, and there were no Disney-esque sound effects or sight gags, did not involve 12 trips to the bathroom, settling sibling disputes about who got to sit where or who was touching who, and did not require fending off countless requests for bags of fluffy white trans-fat laden sodium delivery systems or small vats of liquid mind altering and diabetes inducing chemical payloads that would require us to wipe out our 401(k) (or what's left of it) to afford to feed everyone. It was quite foreign but strangely familiar, like a long lost, forgotten dream.
I walked into the mall where the theatre was located, and while passing a gaggle of what must pass these days for "Southern Belles", I noticed the mall map, with it's multi-leveled diagrams with color-coordinated "zones" and locations of exits and bathrooms. I took a quick glance as I was walking by to get the "lay of the land" just in case I needed to make a hasty exit in case of fire or the ever increasing "active shooter" event, or just kill some time before the show and see what was close at hand. I scanned around and found a bright orange dot sticker followed by the words, "You Are Here", and the other landmarks of interest relative to my position.
The movie was your average action-adventure sci-fi summer blockbuster. Nothing earth shattering, but just enough aliens, eye-candy, explosions, and shades of heroism to sell tickets and turn a profit. There was a great search for the enemy base that would help to defeat the alien attackers, once and for all; they could end all of the bloodshed and spare countless more lives if only they knew where to go and what to do once they got there, and that was the bulk of the movie's interest. It probably wasn't the best use of my evening, but it wasn't the worst.
On my way out I glanced back at the kiosk to avoid noticing a pair of hormone saturated teenagers getting a little to acquainted with each other. I saw the orange dot in relation to the rest of the floor plan. I thought about it for a bit, and thought back to the quest in the movie, and figured out what was missing.
It was all neutral. All paths were morally equal.
It offered no advice about selection, only how to get to what you've already selected, and limits you to what you see in proximity assuming that the only thing you need to find was what was already around you. It said "You are here", but didn't offer any guidance as to "Should you be here?" or "Where should you be instead?"
I think this is similar to personality profiles and assessments. They offer you a "you are here", and a list of things and activities that you may find in proximity to the preferences of your current personality, but also do not include any advice as to "should you be here?" or "Where should you be instead?" Now, there are listings of potential pitfalls that may be more likely or common with certain personality types or trains, such as a bad temper, potential for addition or troubles with interpersonal relationships or performing certain roles, but that's about it.
Most of what is included in the analysis of personalities seems to do with economics. It seems to focus on what you do well, what you find a great reward in as well as a great struggle with, and what things will seem to fit your personality. The bottom line seems to be - what activities and complementary personality types will be most compatible with where you are now, and where should you steer your life to find things that are copasetic with and will pose the least resistance to what makes you "tick".
Both the mall maps and the personality assessments lack the notion of change. When have you ever seen a kiosk at your local mall that says, "We do offer a few stores that sell popular music, but if you want something really uplifting go two blocks down and listen to the free concerts every night at 7:00pm", or "You're looking for some clothes that are the latest fashion, but you really need to go visit your grandmother and spend some time reading one of the classic novels and do some community service." How about, "I know that you're looking forward to the Philly-cheese-steak and curly fries at the food court, but how about a nice home-cooked meal using fresh, locally grown produce and fish caught yesterday?" (Not likely, I guess).
When was the last time someone took a personality profile and it included some sort of information on not just where you are now, but where you should go? Very little is said in what I saw as far as personality change. In fact, most of what I see around me are message of the defense of personality and lifestyle. Segregation is back in fashion, but it isn't about being based on race or nationality, but personality. Mantras of "love me for who I am" or "I was born this way and I'm proud of it" flood the airwaves and popular media outlets. The message is clear - all personalities are morally equal. The only real faux-pas is suggesting that one's personality is lacking or there is a need for change.
There's one problem here. Change isn't just something for a few with socially unacceptable behaviors like drug addicts or child molesters. Personality change is mandatory. For everyone. Period.
And not just little stuff, either. As C.S. Lewis so eloquently puts it in his book Mere Christianity, it's some pretty nasty business.
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."Joseph Smith described a process very similar.
"I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, … Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 304).
Here is what the LDS.ORG website has to say about "Conversion":
Conversion includes a change in behavior, but it goes beyond behavior; it is a change in our very nature. It is such a significant change that the Lord and His prophets refer to it as a rebirth, a change of heart, and a baptism of fire. The Lord said:
“Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
“And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (Mosiah 27:25–26).How can there be an actual "change of heart" or a change in our very nature without a change in personality? I think they are one in the same. The change that Christ requires of us to make may not be a total night-and-day shift, but just as Missionaries come to share truths to add to the truth that people already have, so to is shift of self to add those attributes and characteristics that Christ possesses that we still lack.
Also look at the flip-side. Have you ever known someone who you watched turn to "the dark side", such as become engrossed in sin or an addiction? Were they able to engage in these activities or behaviors without having their natures altered? Have you noticed a change in their personality and the spirit they possess as they were "going south"? If sin has the impact of changing personality, then why can't we assume that aligning ourselves with our Savior must also have the same impact?
If all personalities and natures are morally equal, then this would just be a matter of preference, not principle. However, the Gospel of Christ is a gospel that contains absolute personally standards, irrespective of situation or circumstance. To truly worship Christ means to emulate Him - to become like Him in action, deed, and personality. Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
“Perfect worship is emulation. We honor those whom we imitate. The most perfect way of worship is to be holy as Jehovah is holy. It is to be pure as Christ is pure. It is to do the things that enable us to become like the Father. The course is one of obedience, of living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, of keeping the commandments."
“How do we worship the Lord? We do it by going from grace to grace, until we receive the fulness of the Father and are glorified in light and truth as is the case with our Pattern and Prototype, the Promised Messiah.” (The Promised Messiah, 568).
"The Father and the Son possess, in their fulness and perfection, all godly graces and all ennobling attributes. They have all charity, all love, and all mercy; they are the possessors of the fulness of judgment, the fulness of justice, and the fulness of truth; and so it is through every good thing. They are thus one, for if the Father has all charity and the Son likewise, they are thus alike where that attribute is concerned, and so it is with them where all uplifting and edifying attributes are concerned. And to the extent that we acquire charity or love or any godly attribute, we also dwell in God and he in us. ... "God is love," John writes, "and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 Jn. 4:16.) Also: "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." (1 Jn. 4:12.) Similarly, God is charity (meaning he is the personification and embodiment of this attribute), and he that dwelleth in charity (that is, possesses it) dwelleth in God, and he in him; and if we have charity one for another, then God dwelleth in us, and his charity is perfected in us. The same reasoning applies to all of the attributes of his nature."We are here to change our very nature, and alter our personalities and personality traits, not preserve them. The ones that are already somewhat Christ-like we refine and magnify. The ones that we lack we are to put aside anything that may block the development of, including other attributes, character traits, sins, transgressions, or habits that may block the development of what we are missing. This is one of the things the enabling power of the atonement is for. This is one of the reasons that Christ gives us mercy and grace. Without this "mighty change of heart", we are finished.
Christ told us to "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). Elder Maxwell expounds upon these words in one of his devotionals:
"The Greek rendering for 'perfect' is, by the way, 'complete, finished, fully developed.' After his atonement and resurrection, Jesus included himself as our pattern. “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect' (3 Nephi 12:48). One of the problems we have in the Church is that we consider perfection in abstraction, and it becomes too intimidating. But when we think of it in terms of the specific, cardinal attributes, and we strive to develop these in a steady process of self-improvement, it is quite a different matter.
"Ponder this ancient self-description with its focus on attributes:
"And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. [Exodus 34:6; emphasis added]
"When Jesus visited his hometown, the people wondered at his gracious words (see Luke 4:22). What is enjoined upon us is thus very specific. The specific qualities are made clear again and again in the scriptures. So is our need to follow the developmental path:
"For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. [John 13:15] And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them. [2 Nephi 31:9]
"These qualities are not only developmental destinations, but, meanwhile, if developed significantly, they also provide us with the balance urgently needed for traveling on the demanding narrow path! It is so easy to fall off one side or the other!
"The divine direction is clear: 'Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you' (3 Nephi 18:16).
"Too often when we seek to excuse ourselves, it is, ironically, 'the natural man' we are excusing. Yet scriptures inform us 'the natural man' is to be 'put off' (see Mosiah 3:19). 'He' certainly should not be 'kept on' because of a mistaken sense that the natural man constitutes our individuality."Not everything we do and feel comes from Heavenly Father or from the way we were in the pre-mortal existence. More of the way we behave is influenced by our biology (i.e. "natural man") and the way it interacts with our environment and cultures than we want to believe, (especially those who see themselves as "good people"). Even good deeds and service can be used to serve our biology. Look at Matthew chapter 19 - the rich young prince who wouldn't sell all he had to follow Christ. He had served and done good things all his life, but it wasn't enough. It was just enough to be able to obey outwardly but still allow his body to maintain control and preserve his personality and lifestyle instead of putting them on the alter.
Because we have lost our pre-mortal memory when we can down to this earth, we don't really remember what our "personalities" were like before - we can only see things as they are now. It is quite easy to become confused with what parts of our "self" came from our Holy Parentage, and what part comes from these tabernacles of clay that are made from the materials of a corrupt, fallen earth, and seek to feed and consume the things of this corrupt world. Elder Maxwell mentions this confusion when he observes that:
"We sometimes even defend our idiosyncrasies, as if these protrusions somehow constituted our individuality."That's why a "broken heart and a contrite spirit" and the development of meekness and humility are required of us by Christ. He already owns everything, so it is the only thing we really have any control, independence, or ownership of, and the only thing that we could give that matters in the long run. We can't change, unless we let Christ work within us to make the change possible, and that change can't take place unless we've softened things up with a "contrite spirit". On the flip-side, why are there so many "wo"s when He describes those who have a "stiff neck" or "hard heart"? Nothing can move. Nothing can change when it's locked down like Fort Knox.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave some insight to those who hide behind the belief that their personality is just the "way they were made"...
"Most of us are born with [or develop] thorns in the flesh, some more visible, some more serious than others. We all seem to have susceptibilities to one disorder or another, but whatever our susceptibilities, we have the will and the power to control our thoughts and our actions. This must be so. God has said that he holds us accountable for what we do and what we think, so our thoughts and actions must be controllable by our agency. Once we have reached the age or condition of accountability, the claim ‘I was born that way’ does not excuse actions or thoughts that fail to conform to the commandments of God. We need to learn how to live so that a weakness that is mortal will not prevent us from achieving the goal that is eternal."When Christ took upon Himself all our pains and afflictions, He also took upon Himself all our "personality quirks", so that just as He is able to succor those who experience pain and suffering, He can also succor those who have traits that are not conducive to living in an eternal Celestial culture. (i.e. - There are no excuses left.)
G.K. Chesterton, a renowned Christian writer, is not a mental health professional by any means, but he does make some interesting points about the effects of imbalance and what he terms "madness" in his book, "Orthodoxy". Maxwell explains this in relation to the principles of the Gospels:
"The doctrines of Jesus Christ are so powerful that any one of these doctrines, having been broken away from the rest, goes wild and mad, as G. K. Chesterton observed. The principle of love without the principles of justice and discipline goes wild. Any doctrine, unless it is woven into the fabric of orthodoxy, goes wild. The doctrines of the kingdom need each other just as the people of the kingdom need each other."Chesterton even goes on to describes how unbound virtue is more dangerous than vice, and how great minds who have gone "mad" wasn't because of a neurochemical imbalance, but that their plagued minds were caused by an imbalance where logic and reasoning was unchained from poetry and fantasy, (or visa-versa), or by virtues that were unbound from the complete set. (It is an interesting read, and since it was written so long ago it's now public domain and can easily be found online.)
So, if Gospel principles are so powerful that the only thing that can keep them in check is the rest of the Gospel principles, and if Christ is to be an example, not only in terms of the Gospel principles, but also in attitudes, behaviors, and traits, what does that say of the dangers of Christ-like personality traits being isolated as well? Remember that part about personality profiles being about economics and advising how to maximize the return on your personality type? Think about that - the message of "stick with what you're good at and ignore the rest because it isn't worth your time" seems to be asking for trouble if Christ-like attributes and virtues are so powerful that they need to be contained with the ones that we may not be very strong in or still need to develop. An imbalanced diet doesn't become balanced by eating more of the things you already each too much of, any less than a prison with too few guards doesn't become more secure by adding more inmates, (because inmates are easy to come by, but it's so hard and expensive to find good prison guards these days!)
Elder Maxwell tells us that these attributes are not interchangeable, they must be sufficiently developed individually.
"In the exchange between Jesus and a righteous young man [in Mathew 19], we see how one missing quality cannot be fully compensated for, even by other qualities, however praiseworthy.
"... In this instance the missing meekness prevented a submissive response by the young man; this deficiency altered his decision and the consequences flowing there from.
"There appears to be “no other way” to learn certain things except through the relevant, clinical experiences. Happily, the commandment “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29) carries an accompanying and compensating promise from Jesus—“and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” This is a very special form of rest. It surely includes the rest resulting from the shedding of certain needless burdens: fatiguing insincerity, exhausting hypocrisy, and the strength-sapping quest for recognition, praise, and power. Those of us who fall short, in one way or another, often do so because we carry such unnecessary and heavy baggage. Being thus overloaded, we sometimes stumble and then feel sorry for ourselves.
"We need not carry such baggage. However, when we’re not meek, we resist the informing voice of conscience and feedback from family, leaders, and friends. Whether from preoccupation or pride, the warning signals go unnoticed or unheeded. However, if sufficient meekness is in us, it will not only help us to jettison unneeded burdens, but will also keep us from becoming mired in the ooze of self-pity."Not only must we develop all the qualities of Christ's personality, we also need to shed those things that weigh us down, and block or hamper the further nurturing of those we stand in need of.
If madness does come by imbalance, like Chesterton suggests, then maybe the reason we have a growing problem with what people consider "mental health" issues isn't because we need more Prozac, but because we need less advice to stick with our personality strengths and ignore what we haven't yet developed for find difficult to incorporate, as well as lighten the load by shedding those burdens of self that further throw us off balance.
When we are told in the scriptures to "lose ourselves that we may find ourselves", He is speaking of losing "ourselves" (i.e. our personalities, traits, attributes, and characteristics as we know them now), that we may find the "ourselves" that is as Christ and Heavenly Father are, including the full set of virtues, attributes, traits, and characteristics that They possess. It is the whole reason that we all chose to come down here to this earth, and it is the only way back to where we came from and belong.
This is why humility is so important. Humility recognizes that one cannot rely on himself the way he is, and allows doubt to be placed on one's own current state in terms of his destination in terms of God's personality. This, however, has been corrupted and twisted as late. Chesterton, again in Orthodoxy, notes:
"What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert--himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt - the Divine Reason. . . . The new skeptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. . . . There is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it's practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. . . . The old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which makes him stop working altogether. . . . We are on the road to producing a race of man too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table."Without true humility, we both cement and loosen the wrong things that need to change. We preserve that part of ourselves that must be cast off, and weaken our faith in that which is eternal and unchanging, which also diminishes our other grasp of virtues such as faith, hope, and charity. No true humility, no change, no aligning ourselves to Heavenly Father by emulating Christ, and no progression, period.
Don't get me wrong - being "perfect" (i.e. complete) in personality as Christ is doesn't mean we're some clones and we think of everything the same and have no difference in style or preference. Not at all. There is still great room for individuality and expression of what really makes us unique, but in matters of principles, we are one, as Christ and Heavenly Father are one. Sin and self-centeredness ultimately ends in uniformity and conformity, not true self-expression.
Also, let's not be naïve about the cost of this change. The rich young prince had a glimpse of what that cost would involve, in terms of economics as well as social standing, luxuries, creature comforts, etc. We must sacrifice our desire for low pressure situations, ease of what we already do well or have a knack for, maximizing our career development, and other opportunities that play to our strengths. If we stick to what we are already strong in, then we are in danger of letting our "strengths be our downfall" as Elder Oaks put it.
This also isn't something that can developed overnight, or even in a lifetime. I believe this perfection we are seeking is something that will take more years than I can think of and can only be done after we have all the time in the world to finish it. We must, however, get our start here on this earth during mortality, and show that we are on the path to becoming like Christ so that we may continue after we are resurrected and persist on this quest into the eternities until we reach the state that they are.
C.S. Lewis puts things in a light that I think explains this situation well:
"Imagine a lot of people who have always lived in the dark. You come and try to describe to them what light is like. You might tell them that if they come into the light that same light would fall on them all and they would all reflect it and thus become what
we call visible.
"Is it not quite possible that they would imagine that, since they were all receiving the same light, and all reacting to it in the same way (i.e., all reflecting it), they would all look alike? Whereas you and I know that the light will in fact bring out, or show up, how different they are. Or again, suppose a person who knew nothing about salt. You give him a pinch to taste and he experiences a particular strong, sharp taste. You then tell him that in your country people use salt in all their cookery. Might he not reply "In that case I suppose all your dishes taste exactly the same: because the taste of that stuff you have just given me is so strong that it will kill the taste of everything else."
"But you and I know that the real effect of salt is exactly the opposite. So far from killing the taste of the egg and the tripe and the cabbage, it actually brings it out. They do not show their real taste till you have added the salt. (Of course, as I warned you, this is not really a very good illustration, because you can, after all, kill the other tastes by putting in too much salt, whereas you cannot kill the taste of a human personality by putting in too much Christ. I am doing the best I can.)
"It is something like that with Christ and us. The more we get what we now call "ourselves" out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of Him that millions and millions of "little Christs," all different, will still be too few to express Him fully. He made them all. He invented—as an author invents characters in a novel—all the different men that you and I were intended to be. In that sense our real selves are all waiting for us in Him. It is no good trying to "be myself" without Him.
"The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. In fact what I so proudly call "Myself" becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop. What I call "My wishes" become merely the desires thrown up by my physical organism or pumped into me by other men's thoughts or even suggested to me by devils.
"Eggs and alcohol and a good night's sleep will be the real origins of what I flatter myself by regarding as my own highly personal and discriminating decision to make love to the girl opposite to me in the railway carriage. Propaganda will be the real origin of what I regard as my own personal political ideals, I am not, in my natural state, nearly so much of a person as I like to believe: most of what I call "me" can be very easily explained. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.
"At the beginning I said there were Personalities in God. I will go further now. There are no real personalities anywhere else.
"Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most "natural" men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.
"But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away "blindly" so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all.
"The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange?
"The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom.
"Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing.
"Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in."Please don't think I'm "anti personality assessment" or are against the study of psychology or personality development. Not at all. These tools, evaluations, and the theories of personality development, however, are very useful in the correct setting and context. Knowing where you are now in relation to where you need to go is immensely helpful in working with the Lord to make the necessary corrective changes. It is also helpful in understanding the mechanics of personality interactions between different personality types to communicate with others where they are in terms of their current traits and what things to avoid when interacting or trying to avoid potential pitfalls or stumbling blocks. It all comes back to the great dichotomy of discipleship - meet people where they are now and work around their stumbling blocks, but do now allow one's self to get stuck in the same place for too long nor allow one's stumbling blocks to hamper our individual progression.
So, next time you come up with an "ISFJ", a "Red", or the career personality profile says you should stick with accounting or you'd enjoy being a writer, take it with a grain of salt. Just like a transmitting radio antenna needs radials or a balanced ground to push the signal, you might also need some poetry classes to keep your penchant for logic and reason in check, or some business classes to keep that great American novel in your head from pulling you off balance. Maybe what you need isn't more of what you've already got, but more of what He has that you are still lacking.
"You are here" doesn't mean "You should stay here", and only the enabling power of the atonement can get you from where you are to where Heavenly Father knows you can and must be to return to Him and fulfill our ultimate purpose and design.