Life forces us to make decisions all the time. Should we go this way or that way? Take this job or that one? Choose this path or that one?

How do we know how to choose?

Today I’d like to invite you to consider the way your personhood can help you in your discernment process. If you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator, you know that it carries four categories of indication for each person’s make-up:

  • Introvert or Extrovert
  • Sensing or Intuitive
  • Thinking or Feeling
  • Perceiving or Judging

There are loads of resources available to explain each type indicator and to help you determine which indicators are your dominant preference. But today, I want to consider how these personality type indicators can be helpful to our processes of discernment.

“An Introvert and an Extrovert Walked Into a Bar . . .”

Let’s start with the difference between an introvert and an extrovert.

These categories speak to how each of us gains or loses energy. An introvert becomes weary from too much external stimulation and becomes energized and filled up through “down times” of solitude — times that allow them to think, reflect, and rest in the quiet. An extrovert finds that solitary, quiet activity a bit draining and becomes much more energized when around other people.

If you’re in a process of discernment, then, it can be very helpful to know yourself in terms of energy pulls. Depending on whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, which path will drain or pour in energy?

“A Thinker and a Feeler Had to Make a Decision . . .”

Now let’s consider the difference between a thinker and a feeler.

For someone who is a thinker, charting out a pro-and-con list for a particular decision-point they need to make can prove immensely clarifying and helpful. A thinker will also be helped along in their decision-making by conducting research or appealing to those with knowledge or experience related to the decision-point they’re considering.

Someone who is a feeler, on the other hand, might find themselves better served by noticing the emotive affect a particular decision casts upon them when they hold it inside themselves. They may also be helped by paying attention to the physical response in their body when weighing one decision over another.

Which Myers-Briggs type are you, and how might that reality about yourself shed light on the decision you are seeking to make? Has your personality preference type served you to discern a decision you needed to make in the past?

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Christianne Squires, M.A., is a writer and spiritual director who lives in Winter Park, FL, with her husband and their two cats. Called to work at the intersection of spiritual formation and digital connectivity, she maintains Still Forming, a website offering contemplative reflection and online spiritual direction to seekers around the world. In 2013, she was named a New Contemplative by Spiritual Directors International.

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