“I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful” – Psalm 139:14.
In 1975 I read the book ‘Spirit-Controlled Temperaments’ by Tim LaHaye. This was my first introduction to personality type, but certainly not my last. I have read and internalized many books and considered a number of theories and models during the past 45 years, all in an effort to understand myself and others better.
This is what I have learned so far:
My temperament is a combination of melancholy-choleric which means that I analyze myself and others and I am very goal oriented.
My Myers-Briggs type is ISFJ which means I am Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging, with a slight preference for the first three characteristics and a clear preference for Judging, that is making decisions.
My signature strengths in descending order on the Clifton StrengthsFinder are: Achiever, Intellection, Connectedness, Input and Focus.
My strongest areas of intelligence are Intrapersonal (self-knowledge) and Linguistic.
My DISC profile is Conscientiousness and secondarily Steadiness.
My spiritual gifts are teaching, discerning of spirits and words of wisdom, and my sacred pathways are Contemplation and Intellectual.
More recently I have studied the Enneagram which “is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.” The roots of this model date back to the 4th Century, but it has been codified and expounded more recently and adopted and applied in both business and spiritual contexts.
One of the core concepts of the Enneagram is that each type embodies both virtues and vices and that there is a redemptive path of integration or a destructive path of disintegration available to us depending on whether we embrace and develop our virtues or give in to our vices.
My Enneagram type is 1 The Perfectionist with 9 Peacemaker as my dominant wing. In brief, “ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake.” On the surface, you can probably see that there are opportunities for developing virtues or giving into vices for this type as well as any other type.
If you are interested in learning more about the Enneagram, I recommend the book ‘The Road Back to You’ by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. If you prefer auditory learning like me you might prefer the Audible version; if you are a visual learner, you might prefer the book, and if you are a kinesthetic learner you might prefer attending a workshop. There I go again talking about personality types and preferences!
Neither the Enneagram nor any of the other models or theories that I have mentioned are perfect or complete, but they are useful. They have helped me understand myself better as well as other people. They have also helped me understand what my purpose is now and hints of what might be in store for me in the future.
“now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12.
Michael worked in business for 40 years including 28 years as a systems engineer and project manager with IBM, and in various capacities for United Health Care, Grumman, and the YMCA. Michael has also served as a congregational and teaching leader in Minnesota, Arizona and New York. He earned a B.A. from Bethel University, and an M.A. in Human Resource Development from the University of St. Thomas. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC). He has also completed 15 marathons and 60 half-marathons in 10 different states. His passions are praying, reading, writing, crosswords, health, and fitness. He lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with his wife Cheryl. They have been married for 49 years.