Christian Fiction: All the Love?

Hi, everyone! Happy very, very belated New Year’s! I hope you guys are having a good 2019 so far. Mine is mixed– super excited for King of Scars, and mixed feels (some excited, but definitely some anxious– more on this in a second post!) on the news Leigh Bardugo and Netflix has announced, on their collaboration for a Grishaverse series (my take? This is either going to be really good, or an accidental nightmare. Depending on a lot of factors). That being said, I’ve been on social media a lot more lately than I initially planned, but then, things always go that way with me.

Couple of announcements, before getting to the post– Rothana’s review should be up sometime tomorrow, super excited about it. The MBTI posts will be on temporary hiatus, due to MBTIGuy dealing with some unforeseen medical complications (but is on the mend, as of right now. Keep praying, guys!). Lastly, there WILL be some minor spoilers in both my Rothana review and my King of Scars review.

And now, to this post.

As stated, been on social media a lot lately, and been following one highly-respected Christian blogger, homemaker, productivity inspiration, writer and basically the incarnate, 21st century version of the Proverbs 31 woman. (No, I am not kidding!) For the sake of her privacy, unless she requests otherwise, I am going to refer to her by her initials only, “P.M.”. Ordinarily, I agree with P.M. on many, many things (Theologically, etc.  Well-rounded woman of God, been a part of multiple denominations, including Baptist and Presbyterian, and actually does have some Pres, Calvinist and RP friends! She’s much more Arminian, though. 🙂 She provides an egalitarian perspective to that of my college’s complementarian one. Me? I see pros and cons to both sides, and am officially somewhere in between– not as a compromise to both sides, but because I genuinely don’t wholly agree agree with either, and see both having very valid points. ). However, I do disagree with her on one major thing– fiction literature, especially YA, is bad for your mind. She especially rags on anything romance-y, due to it vastly raising expectations of real-life people to expect others to behave in a manner similar to, well, fictitious characters. Since she had a past history of coming through struggling romantically, sexually with literature she rightfully says she shouldn’t have read in her younger years (cough… sensually explicit… stuff…), says it actually initially put a damper on her marriage. Now, some fictional literature she is fine with, like LOTR and The Chronicles of Narnia, but she is highly wary of most fiction, especially “Christian fiction”. Why? It’s namely because “Christian fiction” is almost exclusively romantic fiction. I kid you not– when I walk into my growing Church library, the expanding titles are all romance-based, or Amish-romance based. Same with most books in a Christian bookstore catalog. I can think of only three exceptions to this– Ted Dekker, Frank Perretti, and Lynn Austin. Yes, all three sometimes include some romance, when it’s actually relevant, but is usually portrayed fairly realistically. But she’s not overly fond of Dekker, and tends to blanket the rest– secular and Christian–with unfair statements. But say, not all fiction is damaging. In fact, Tolkien didn’t necessarily consider his stories classic “Christianese,” per say, but used his stories to glorify God,

“Are The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Christian stories? The stories don’t mention God or Jesus; but J.R.R. Tolkien, the author, was a Christian. Asked to describe himself, Tolkien gave a quick summary and then added, “Or more important, I am a Christian (which can be deduced from my stories).” If we pay attention when reading his works, we can tell that Tolkien was a person of faith.

“Philosopher Jacques Maritain wrote, “If you want to make a Christian work, then be Christian, and simply try to make a beautiful work, into which your heart will pass; do not try to “make Christian”.” Too often, Christians think that what they create should have an obvious spiritual meaning. But Tolkien believed that in the act of creating, we participate in the work of God. God is a Creator and has made us to be what Tolkien called “sub-creators,” which is one of the primary callings of the human heart.

“Tolkien did not set out to write Christian stories. He set out to write stories that gave him joy. He wrote to the glory of God; in doing so, his faith shone through.” (Arthur, Sarah. “Following Your Joy: The Hobbit and God’s Call on Your Life”. Once Upon a Time Ed. Devozine. Nov-Dec. 2013.)

Just like Tolkien, we, as Image Bearers, are called to be what my Humanities classes affectionately refer to as, “culture makers.” We literally make culture to the glory of God, guys. That is our intent. We can show God’s love through a song or a painting, inspire others with our words or a movie, make a change for Him, for better, push and challenge ourselves and others to do our best for our Abba, our Creator. The problem only comes when we factor in our downfall, sin, and our own selfish desires, like greed, pride, lustful desire/fantasy, and purely wanting to make a name. Out of the right context, being a culture maker can be extremely damaging to society as a whole, as we’ve seen so many times. This is why P.M. is against much of the whole “Christian fiction literature” culture– even while being meant well, many romance authors tend to project romantic godly and often unrealistic ideals onto their characters, making them behave unrealistically, and upsetting readers when it doesn’t go the same way in real life. Real people are not whole, perfect– it’s why we need a Savior. The authors may not intend to do that, but it is wise to consciously form a habit of checking yourself while writing, and holding yourself accountable. After all, God could use you to influence and help others to help glorify Him– that is a lot of power and responsibility, and we must utilize wisely.

When all is said and done, fiction, Christian or secular, is like the Force from Star Wars; by itself, it is not good or evil. It all depends on the wielder– and the wielder’s intentions with it.

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Works Cited:

Arthur, Sarah. “Following Your Joy: The Hobbit and God’s Call on Your Life”. Devozine. “Once Upon a Time” devotional section, weekend section. Nov-Dec. 2013.

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A Few New Years Ago

A few

New Years ago,

You possess’d

A piece of my heart

Even though

Physically

We were far

Apart.

 

We met online,  you

Could say I was

Smitten;

I guarded my

Heart, but guess

Every word

Written

Fooled me once,

Twice,

Thrice.

 

A few

New Years ago,

You possess’d

A piece of my heart

Even though

Physically

We were far

Apart.

 

Although you’re

Gone, you

Disapparated from

My life,

Your influence haunts

Me still,

Causing me strife;

I know a man from

Work,

Similar to you,

Who’d love to take

Me in his arms,

To call me his “Boo”–

He has a flower between

His fingers already,

But that should not matter,

They’re only going

Steady.

 

A few

New Years ago,

You possess’d

A piece of my heart

Even though

Physically

We were far

Apart.

 

Man alive, I’d assum’d

You were the only

One

Who was in tune

With me;

But me? I guess

I was only there

To be comforting

You; running

My fingers through

Virtual hair.

I s’ppose I should

Count myself

more than

Bless’d

To have you let

Me be.

 

A few

New Years ago,

You possess’d

A piece of my heart

Even though

Physically

We were far

Apart.

 

You painted a handsome,

“Understanding,”

Face

On sinfulness, shock and

Shameful disgrace;

Your cover

Blown, you then

Finger-point–

Fine, I’ll

Leave,

And would soon rather

Anoint

My True Someone Special.

You accuse,

His Grace redeems,

You caged me,

He set me free,

You pinned blame on me with

Words as sharp as tacks,

He freed me from shame

With whip lashes

On His back.

It does not matter

What I’ve done.

It only matters

Who I’ve since become.

 

A few

New Years ago,

You possess’d

A piece of my heart

Even though

Physically

We were far

Apart.

This New Year, I’ve left you since,

I’ve done more than my time,

More than my share

Of penance; 

I’ve hidden my heart, 

Guarded it better,

Saved it for the One

Who freed me from my

Fetters. 

 

_____________________________________

Author’s Note: The song, “Last Christmas,” inspired me strongly this season, particularly Britt Nicole’s cover of the song. I’d work and hear it over the loudspeaker again and again, and could relate very strongly to the lyrics. But, not wanting to swipe the song and just give it a few tweaks (copyright and all), decided to do my own lil completely new but still inspired poetry piece based off of what feelings, thoughts, and personal experiences I could relate to from the song. Needlesstosay, mine’s probably the more, “Gospel-oriented,” version, in a way. 😉 

An Attitude of Gratitude

(Quick updates: This weekend, you’ll be getting two blog posts, one is much anticipated tomorrow– something I’ve been badgering a certain someone over for years–and a special surprise I’ll be hinting at over Instagram; the other will be either a MBTI type post or a Shadow Functions post!)

 

This past Sunday morning, my pastor remarked on the obvious: Thanksgiving was all but dead to America. He joked about once writing a eulogy about how it started off strong in the 18th and 19th centuries, got severely ill and on the verge of death by the 20th century, and finally, died in the 21st century due to being smothered in an avalanche of Christmas décor, and Halloween candy and costumes.

We may joke about Thanksgiving not having much of a say anymore– at least, as far as the American public and most commercial sales are concerned– but it goes far deeper than the surface, to an underlying problem we’ve had for a while. And while this rings a familiar tone in the ear of some of my fellow Americans, I think the whole world could use a good, healthy dose of truth, too.

A while back, in July, I posted again about why I think we should pray for America– not to be blessed, as we are so fervently encouraged to do, but to be humbled and healed. See, we have a similar problem to ancient Israel– when the going gets tough, we turn to our chapels and prayer out of desperation. But the instant everything’s peaches and cream in life, our ego starts to swell. We credit ourselves for our successes, our blessings, and in doing so dismiss our loving Benefactor– before the cycle starts all over again. America often lacks humility, and it lacks gratitude for the One Who founded it to begin with, Who crafted the land with such care, raised flora and fauna into being for nourishment, enjoyment and resources, who provided a way for people to reach the land and settle– He certainly didn’t have to. He did it because He loved them, as He loves us, and because He provided what they needed. Note: NOT wanted. Needed, according to His will.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again: We often treat God like a cosmic Santa (oh, sickeningly sweet irony), making a mile-long list of greedy gimmes and things we don’t necessarily need but oh, how we WANTS IT, PRECIOUS.

*Ahem.*

Anyways, I’m inferring by the “we” that I’m certainly not just pointing the finger to America, but to myself, as well. God’s recently been nudging me (pretty consistently, might I add… ) on abandoning “desires of the flesh,” so I can draw closer to Him, and thus help to fulfill what He wants for my life (which I may or may not discuss later on– you guys might think me a bit crazy as it is xD). In that search for a more in-depth revelation on how exactly to “abandon the desires of the flesh,” I stumbled upon this verse, in James 4:2-3, which kind of smacked me upside the noggin:

“…You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (NIV)

(This is the passage that comes directly before saying that “friendship with the world is enmity with God,” too… :/ )

Wow.

It struck me right between the eyes, because lately, I’ve been very much the materialist, for an INFJ. I’ve been buying bookish stuff out the kazoo, and I think this was God’s wake-up call for me to slam on the brakes before I overspent or over-prioritized that, or worse, ASAP.

But, look what it says after calling them out on sin, in James 4:6-10:

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says,

“God opposes the proud

but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter into mourning and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (NIV)

Whoa and whoooooaaaa. Humility. God is calling me to be humble. God is calling US to be humble. God is calling us to repent of our sin, to recognize the depth of the pain that it causes Him and others (and often us), and to be genuinely remorseful about it. I think I’ve only been deeply remorseful about one major sin in my life, sadly, and it wasn’t the materialism that plagues my life now. I believe that America is even more deeply entrenched in materialism than I am, but I don’t think it’s too late. As controversial as I am or seem, I do love my country. Do I hate lies? Yes. Do I loathe propaganda? Also yes. But I care about my country, and I want to help it out of its spiritual mire; I can do so by encouraging it– and others– to turn to God for aid, and humble themselves, seeking Him.

All this makes me think of times when I was actually blessed deeply by God, and did not take such things for granted. I was blessed all through my college years; God kept me safe and He kept me, for the most part, as sane as any student could be. He gave me the most amazing, knowledgeable and compassionate professors. I met so many wonderful students, and made quite a few friends and acquaintances, who I’ve been deeply privileged to know. He told me at the beginning of my Geneva journey that we were going to tackle this together, one day at a time, when I initially panicked, overwhelmed by it all. Later, in one of my first semesters as a sophomore, I broke down in an anxious frenzy, thinking I was a failure– I was no good academically, socially, and even genetically (I cannot give blood to donate, as I am cortisol deficient, but I have the universal donor type– cruel irony). I would have sobbed for hours those days, if it weren’t for classes to keep me busy. Then, one day, I felt God’s Spirit, Ruach, nudge me. Watch the Prince of Egypt. I frowned. I had no reason why I couldn’t, but saw no reason why He wanted me to. Watch the Prince of Egypt movie. It popped up a couple of times, so eventually I caved at the end of the day, popped in some Netflix in my own private little room (oh yes, I had it pretty made, sophomore year!), and, cuddling up with Eikon (my Zorua plushie), I watched to the part where Moses is almost arguing with God, about how he can’t, he can’t do it, he can’t lead God’s people, and God talks some sense into him, saying, with the beautiful Spirit-music in the background, that through him He’d do His wonders. In that moment, I heard Him speak to my soul, “You are not a failure. I made you. I love you. Through you, Olivia, I WILL work My wonders!” I was so struck, so taken aback, I started crying right then and there. That moment’s still remained with me to this day.

Later on, God blessed me in nearly all my academics, and was with me even as I went on my class trip to Israel. In fact, that was one of the consistent messages He constantly gave me, when I did my devos over there– ” I’m with you. I’m protecting you. Don’t be afraid.”
My usual response? “I’m not afraid.” I was ready, and willing, to go where He led us, where He led ME. One clear instance over there, of thanksgiving, was a total surprise. I was simply grateful and felt so privileged to BE there, in THE Holy Land– it felt so surreal. But God continued to surprise and bless me, even as I did not ask for the blessings outright. This continued even directly right after college, in little ways, and not always in material ways, either. However, I’ve come to realize that some of the material blessings are beginning to get to my head, and I need to humble myself like before, to seek God, repent, and focus on Him, not what He can do for/give me.

You see? If we don’t obsess about it, God does give us what we need. The trick is to take our eyes off our wants and our problems, and focus them on Him.

This is why I cringe about “health and wealth,” gospel; we shouldn’t automatically and constantly ask God to bless us, especially with material things. Our hearts and motives need to be in the right place, for starters, as the above Scripture states. And, like the Apostle Paul states,we need to learn to be content with what God has already given to us; additionally, we should not worry about needs/provisions, God always makes a way to provide for His children and Creations, be it us the Image Bearers or the smallest sparrow.

A Letter To Guilt-Tripped Victims

Dear Guilt-Tripped Victim,

Although it is highly likely you are a dominant or auxiliary Extraverted Feeler (ESFJ, ENFJ, INFJ, or ISFJ), there is also a fair chance you are a dominant or aux Introverted Feeler (ISFP, INFP, ESFP, or ENFP), too. Either way, you’ve been manipulated. Guilt-tripped into thinking things are your fault, when they really aren’t. People take advantage of your caring, good-natured feelery-ness and sometimes, your ability to give others the benefit of the doubt. You want to please them because you care, but because you don’t want to offend them by standing up to them, you doormat, instead. They stomp all over you, taking good measure to wipe their shoes clean of dirt and filth, grinding it both into you and all over you. They accuse you of being selfish if you can’t do something, “do it right,” or at least can’t do it right away, for them, simply because you are preoccupied or have other obligations. Sometimes they don’t even need to say anything, just shoot you a witheringly patronizing glare that breaks you up on the inside. You can’t bear the pressure, so you cave. “Oh, thank you!” they may say, with a hug for affirmation. You hug weakly in return, but only feel a small amount of satisfaction. You do the thing you were asked to do, and in the meantime, focus on trying not to feel resentful and frustrated, because hey, a good person should be entirely self-sacrificing, right?

Right?

Not if you’re constantly being pressured or bullied into things.

Not if you’re receiving threats of any kind to, “do as I say, or else.”

Not if you’re being disrespected.

And certainly not if you’re being persecuted/hounded down for your beliefs.

You see, I’ve been there. With a few certain people I thought were my friends (most are, but a very small handful aren’t). And even my folks. They guilt trip and manipulate to get what they want, and they take advantage of your kindness and wanting to help. Now, this does not mean that you should never be kind to others, or want to help them. And you should still be a bit guarded. But this also means you need to have a healthy sense of yourself in Christ, how you are valued in His sight, and how He never compromised. When the crowds became too much for Him at certain times, He went off to the mountains, alone, to talk with His Father (God). We would do well to learn from His example. Take time for yourself, take time for Jesus, ask Him what to do. And remember, even though God wants us to serve others, He certainly doesn’t want us to be total doormats– and most importantly, when it boils down to it, He wants us to serve Him first and foremost. We often do that by serving others, of course, but when it crosses a line– say, if said others basically grill it into your head that you should listen to them and no one else– you need to be strong and take a stand.

Dear ones, I’ll be praying for you. We can do this, with Christ’s help. And we can make this stand together.

 

Blessings,

L4G

MBTI: The Empathetic ESFJs (And Brief Update!)

MBTI: The Empathetic ESFJs (And Brief Update!)

Hi, everyone! Happy NaNoWriMo!! (National Writing Month) In celebration, I’ll try to do a minimum of 2-3 posts a week– the usual MBTI type post, PLUS an additional post or two. (At least one will be about MBTI stack-ups, and another on Shadow functions) The others may be mini-sermons, poetry, or book reviews (I still need to do several, including The Illuminae Files, the Warcross duology, and, when I finish them, Children of Blood and Bone and Crime and Punishment.  But also currently rereading Halayda in prep for Rothana, which’ll release later this month, and am going along with the FierceReads readalong–or reread, in my case– of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, a personal favorite of mine, in preparation for King of Scars in late January.). But we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them!

Today, I’d like to talk to you about the engaging and, as the title says, very empathetic ESFJs. This is probably one of my favorite non-iNtuitive types, along with ISTP and ISFJ at times, and probably because one of my closest and dearest friends is an ESFJ– the older sister of the aforementioned INTJ twins I brought up in my INTJ post. She characteristically embodies most healthy ESFJs as a whole– naturally social, a people person, sweet, deeply caring and invested in loved ones, loyal, empathetic, nurturing. ESFJs are normally kind-hearted and optimistic, unwilling to hurt others’ feelings (which could be good or bad, depending on the situation. Which they are passionate about doing something, they can be very hardworking, with just a dash of perfectionism sprinkled in.

Here’s how the ESFJ Stacks Up:

Fe(Extraverted Feeling): Conscious function, group-oriented. This is the function that may prematurely judge and cause ESFJs to outright state their beliefs/feelings on a matter, but since they also value harmony and the group’s needs often before their own, this part of the Fe may be suppressed. Fe helps greatly with their social lives and empathy, allowing them to read and relate to people a good deal. ESFJs are often emotionally intelligent. Depending on who they’re with, an ESFJ can show a cheerful, upbeat persona (often around strangers/in public), or let their guard down and show true feelings show (close family and friends). Because they tend to wear their hearts more on their sleeves, however, sometimes this Feeler type is dubbed as a bit “dramatic,” by Thinker or Fi-using types, the amount of emotional expression used for each situation is usually quite appropriate. In fact, if given enough time, they may even use their Perceiving functions to help tweak and refine their responses and judgements. Unlike Fi-users, ESFJs are more uncomfortable with trying to sort their emotions more inwardly and independently, and often look to their Auxiliary Si to help out.

Si (Introverted Sensing): Unconscious/subconscious function. As an Aux function, Si helps copilot the ESFJ’s worldview and interaction system with Fe. Being a “traditionalist” function, ESFJs tend to rely on past experience to help them get through more emotional ordeals, and ground them better. Additionally, Si causes them to quickly becomes creatures of habit– the more often an ESFJ does something, the harder the habit is for them to break (which, again, can be a good OR bad thing). For instance, if the ESFJ was immersed in a certain worldview of politics and religion as a child, it is highly likely they will continue down that path as an adult– something many parents may take delight in with raising ESFJ children. However, this can in certain instances lead them to be more stubborn and less “open-minded” to certain individuals, so Si must be utilized well with Fe to balance out experience with emotions and values.

Ne (Extraverted iNtuition): Conscious function. As a Perceiving function, it is similar to Se (Extraverted Sensing) and encourages sensory and physical novelty; however, unlike Se, it tends to be more creative, actively brainstorm, make connections and explore all options. ESFJs frequently have a love-hate relationship with their Tertiary Ne; on one side of the fence, it encourages their creativity for their passions and a sense of wittiness. They often use the creativity in artsy-type things, or crafts, sometimes as a means of helping others or teaching others. (I see this often in aforementioned bestie– she has the creativity and skills of any good cosmetologist, and is not only all too happy to do my hair and nails for me when spending the night, she is utterly AMAZING at what she does. Giving and creativity are a dual winning combo!)

On the other side, however, ESFJs can come to resent their Ne when it inserts a sense of uncertainty into their worldviews. They like their beliefs to be firmly founded on, more unquestionable, and abstract analysis is not usually their strong suit.

Ti (Introverted Thinking): Subconscious/unconscious function. Due to their Ti being their “Inferior function,” ESFJs can struggle with making making inner, logical side. This does not mean they can’t be intuitively aware of it, however, and be in pursuit of it–but they have the tendency to be more naturally aware of understanding and helping others, rather than themselves. However, this does not mean they’ll stop try to bridge the gap between their Dominant Fe and their Inferior Ti, and reach a sense of wholeness and balance– quite a gap to cover. They will often attempt to utilize Ti in showing how logical their ideas can be (Ti) to others, as a means of affirmation (Fe– group-oriented). The more people they convince, the more THEY are convinced their ideas are logically sound. It can even get to the point where an ESFJ’s quest to seek and cling to their Ti can lead to seeming a bit like IxTPs, although they will not be as experienced in using Ti as the Ti-Dominants are. In these instances, they will make themselves out to be highly logical, competent, independent and self-sufficient, perhaps even pouring over non-fiction to understand their Ti better, and praise independent thought. These more “logical pursers” may even start to believe themselves introverts, because of a desire for inner control (because they are already masters at outer control, and influencing or helping others) and helping others. For this, it is recommended that a healthy ESFJ (who wants to connect with Ti better) overlap self-identity with their relationships and community; better yet, involve others in the quest for their self-identity and independence.

An unhealthy ESFJ, as is the case with some Fe Doms and Auxes (including INFJs like myself) can use their influence to manipulate, control, or even harm others, depending on what they see fit as benefiting the group/the whole. One negative stereotype of ESFJs include the high school, “queen bee,” but fortunately, I haven’t run into that experience in real life, and only have experienced the very positive side of ESFJs. 🙂

As a whole, though, the healthy version of the type is considered loyal, hardworking, supportive, warm, and deeply caring. If they seem “controlling,” at all, it’s often due to caring about that person and their situation, and genuinely wanting to help (as I often see in my bestie!). They usually make great parents, teachers, siblings, and friends.

Famous/historical ESFJs: Celine Dion, Ed Sheeran, William McKinley, Prince William, Barbara Walters, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Andrew Carnegie, Larry King, Andy Rooney

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Sources:

https://www.thefamouspeople.com/esfj.php

https://eu.themyersbriggs.com/en-IE/tools/MBTI/MBTI-personality-Types/ESFJ

https://www.ranker.com/list/historical-figures-meyers-briggs-types/genevieve-carlton

https://www.personalityclub.com/blog/famous-esfj/

https://personalityjunkie.com/esfj-type-profile/

 

Image Source:

https://www.parismatch.com/People/Whitney-Houston-1243811

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What I Learned in Having Sensor Parents

 

So I know some of you may have heard me gripe about Sensors not understanding Intuitives like me, a few times. It is a well-known fact in my household that I am the only Intuitive, and thus considered an oddity (although we do love each other dearly). At first glance, it seems I’ve little in common with my folks, aside from a weird sense of sarcasm, my Mom’s ditziness, and my Father’s obstinate ways. They like the concrete and real; I like the abstract, the daydreams, the theoretical. They value common sense; they claim I have none (or little, at least).

However, I will admit that Sensor parents have taught me a few things, among which are:

  1. Experience can be invaluable, and it can help to shape you into who you are. This is so very, very true. As a big picture-thinker, I can easily see how past experiences have a domino effect on both present and future circumstances and possibilities. For instance, as a child, I was encouraged to read. A lot. This eventually transformed into a love for writing as well (I clearly recall wanting to write an entire rendition of a “Magic Tree House” story on a single paper plate for my First-Grade class, and was genuinely annoyed that I did not have more paper to write on, and was forced to wrap up a single, rather incomplete, chapter on the back of my plate. 😦 ).
  2. Treasure the small, precious moments in life– take time to stop and smell the roses every once in a while. Often, I get too caught up in my own world, in my own daydreams and thoughts– which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in and of itself. But in doing that too often, I sometimes miss out on GOD’S world, and the beautiful Creation He’s created. While I don’t generally like using my Inferior Extraverted Sensing, my parents (particularly my mother) have coaxed it forward, causing me to be fairly impulsive at times, and more in the moment when need be– whether it’s appreciating Creation’s wonders, or preventing myself from wrecking while driving. (Oh yes– driving is definitely a Sensing user! As is my martial arts. 😉 ) It’s helped me appreciate blessed moments more, with and without loved ones (hey, an introvert’s gotta cope), and to savor that time more.

CaH1

Calvin is an Intuitive trapped in a Sensor world, with his Sensor buddy, Hobbes

3.  Sometimes, you need to (unfortunately) adult and use common sense. Common Sense is not usually specified to any particular function, but I’ll say, for the sake of argument, it’s likely a Te (Extraverted Thinking)-related function. For those not in the know, Te is NOT in my regular stack-up (which is Ni-Fe-Ti-Se); it happens to be a Shadow Function of mine– a MBTI topic we’ll get to in a bit. But all that to say, Te is not only a weaker function of mine, it is both very underused and unhealthy when I do attempt to use it (much more adept at using the more deep-thinking Ti, anyways), thus giving the illusion that I have no “Common Sense.” To quote a certain character from a certain comic strip:

Calvin1

Yup, this sums me up pretty well– while my folks look on in silent dismay, shaking their heads. But sometimes, I’ve learned, you do need to be sensible and responsible. You do need Common Sense. You do need to “adult”. It sucks at times, but it’s a part of life.

Are you an Intuitive? Did you grow up with Sensor parents? If so, what lessons did they teach you?

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Image Credit:

Google Images

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

Staying on the Path

Last rainy September, on our way home from Church one Sunday morning, my Mom and I nearly ran into a felled tree, in the middle of the road. This forced us to take a detour onto a back, narrow, very windy road, followed by several other possibly equally confounded and frustrated drivers.  It was extremely tiring, and unnerving because we didn’t know where we were going to end up, and the pressure seemed to only build up behind the long line of anxious drivers behind us. It was so tempting to drive off the main road, take a side road to try to take a short-cut, to put off the pressure of the long line of cars following behind us. And it didn’t help that we could only see a bit of the road, directly ahead of us, at a time– the rest was encapsulated in a dense fog.

But you know what? It reminded me of something.

(Yes, this is where I get up on my little soapbox and start to preach. A tiny bit.)

You see, this is where being an Intuitive is handy– we see unconscious connections, and we connect them all to the bigger picture. In this mini-sermon instance, that bigger picture is life itself, or rather, the Christian Life. We have no idea what the future holds for us, exactly– individually or as a group. Trees block a path God warns us not to go down. The road of Life is foggy, and it is impossible to know exactly where the next turn up ahead is if you can barely make out three feet in front of you.

Imagine this: You’re on a random road trip, one of those terrible surprise trips (I say terrible, being a planner myself) where the person taking you on the trip, the one person knowing the destination and how to get there, won’t tell you how you’re getting there. You have a notion of the destination, but again, it is foggy out, and you barely know which way to turn. Those promising shortcuts off the beaten path are starting to look more and more tempting as you get more and more lost in the middle of nowhere. Your friend, the one who suggested the trip and is riding shotgun with you, is being your human GPS, but it’s hard and is getting harder to hear him over all the noise– your cell is ringing, your artificial GPS is constantly repeating, “recalculating,” confusing you further, and the radio is blaring music. Your friend asks you to please turn off/down the radio, shut off/ignore the cell and the GPS, and simply listen to him– he knows exactly where you’re going, and how to get there. You are reluctant, however, to trust in just him. He asks if you trust him; you say you do. He says to pull over, get out, play “fire engine” (switch seats fast) and let him have the wheel. The wheel of YOUR car. Suddenly, you get nervous. What if he’s wrong? What if you get there late? What if you end up somewhere completely different than what he told you? What if… What if…

Some of you might be making connections already– if so, that is fantastic. 🙂

For those that haven’t, yet… The friend, obviously, is Jesus and Ruach, your Comforter, Savior, Counselor and Guide on Life’s weary travels to your destination, which is to be with God (many say, “heaven,” but technically it’s supposed to be wherever God is– especially since He’ll be creating a new heavens and a new earth in the future for us to live in!). The AI GPS, the radio blasting, and the cell phone? All earthly things, all things that can distract or mislead us from God (if you think about the soil parable, this would be the thorns and the seed). He has the ultimate map, and knows the way well– we need to trust him, and turn off that noise. There will be temptations, oh yes– seeming shortcuts to the top, to your destination, but these will often come at a price, and more often than not get you more lost.

The foggy road is your life– full of potential, but also full of uncertainty. You only see a bit of the road at the time, not the whole thing. The same’s true in life; we often live day-by-day, moment-by-moment, wallowing in simple predictability. We try to make the most of those moments, neglecting to think of what could be or what is to come, rather than what is. God shows us bits and pieces of the puzzle at a time, but when we stand back to see how some of them start to come together, we start to see the bigger picture of why He does things the way He does. We may not completely understand, but sometimes we don’t have to.

When I was 14, in the midst of the Swine Flu Craze, I became quite faint-headed and ill in the middle of the night. Concerned, I woke my mother, and she went to the kitchen to get me some medication; I followed. Next thing I know, I was waking up on the kitchen floor, my mom or dad asking me how many fingers they held up– I had passed out. Shocked, they took me to the ER, and since the docs automatically assumed I had Swine Flu like everyone else (to this day I doubt that was it; they misdiagnosed a lot of random cases that day as S.F.), they gave me what they had been giving everyone else, Tamaflu, and sent me home to recover. The next morning, I found my thighs and parts of my legs had broken out into hives; I had an allergic reaction to Tamaflu. (Now, when I was fairly young, I’d been tested for every common allergy on the market, save for Tamaflu and maybe a couple others, and they had all tested negative, except for extreme amounts of dust/dust mites) I had received a short-term scenario of what God saw, long term: Had I not been sick, I wouldn’t have gotten Mom. Had I not passed out, I wouldn’t have gone to the ER. Had I not gone to the ER, I would have not received the Tamaflu shot under the fairly ignorant assumption that I had Swine Flu, and thus would have never, ever discovered my allergy– which could have had devastating effects in the future. God works in mysterious ways, showing us what to do, piece by piece, bit by bit, but He always leads us out to the other end, just like Mom and I eventually got home safely, that same morning. All we need to do is literally let God take the steering wheel, not backseat drive, and trust in Him.