Truth: The INFJ Files

Thursday, May 17, 2012 20 Comments A+ a-



After going to bed late, I woke early this morning due to an odd dream that wouldn't let me go back to sleep. Dislike! Feeling a little bleary-eyed, but I'm determined to plug away at this article.

Today, let's explore the issue of discerning truth:

More than any other type, INFJs tend to feel that much of their intellectual work is being done for them, the product of which can feel like nothing less than a divinely bestowed gift. Consequently, INFJs do not feel the need to consult outside sources when it comes to discerning truth. Nor do they rely on a preexisting method or framework as other types might. They trust their Ni to provide whatever information is necessary to understand a given problem or situation.

I'm not certain how Dr. Drenth meant to define "truth" in this paragraph. Did he mean personal truth? Scientific truth? Spiritual truth? The definition of truth is a tricky thing. What might be true for one person may not be for another, and we should probably treat it as subjective.
Scully & Mulder, checking
out my article for the Truth :-)

I also find it interesting that he uses the terms 'intellectual work' and 'divinely bestowed gift' in the same sentence. They strike me as opposing forces, like Mulder and Scully hashing out the X-Files to discover if the truth is really out there. Mulder was a feeler, Scully a thinker. They came at problems from opposite ends, but in the end they found what they were looking for. Or it found them.

Okay, moving on...

When I was young, my parents gave me a set of books for Christmas, penned by L.M. Montgomery. It was the Anne of Green Gables series, which every girl I knew seemed to have read or was reading. I loved them and still cherish them today. But later on, when I'd finished them, my parents gave me another set. Same author, different heroine. The Emily series.

Emily was cut from a different cloth than Anne, and I felt an immediate connection with this new character. Anne always seemed so...impossibly good. Emily, though, had several self-destructive flaws. More than that, she was a writer and--I strongly suspect--an INFJ. Because of this, I related to her much more than Anne. According to the first book, as a child Emily had always felt that she lived very close to an invisible world of unearthly beauty. Occasionally the curtain between the two worlds would flutter, and she would catch a glimpse of what lay beyond. Her goal was to take that glimpse and share it through stories and poetry. Sometimes she described her creative impulse as something 'speaking through' her.

I remember feeling that way growing up. I'd say or write things that startled my friends and family. I'd journal a speculation and then discover it to be true once some scandal at school was uncovered. At the time, I didn't know how I knew things, just that I knew them. And it freaked people out. So I learned to hide it.


But was it a divine gift, or just a sensitive Ni? Good question. I'd be curious to know how other INFJs viewed their childhood ability to discern truth.

Just like Mulder, I do have an intense desire to FIND truth. Whether I'm researching a topic or reading the Bible, there never seems to be enough information for me. My right brain takes off in leaps and bounds, trying to make connections and uncover ulterior motives. This might come from the fear of being deceived by appearances, which is also an INFJ tendency. One thing I've noticed is that most people really don't want to know the truth. They're happy with what they think is real and get terribly defensive if you try to upset their hold on reality. Whereas I hunt like mad for truth, welcoming honest challenges and dodging the crap that often accompanies them. If it's out there, I'll do my best to find it (insert X-Files theme song here).

Regarding outside sources and frameworks--those are actually important to me. I might feel that I 'know' something, but I'd still research it before I handed it over to other people, because they would need more than my 'feelings' as proof. And I tend to use my faith as a framework. It's part of that bedrock core inside me that I bounce things off of.

Because of my Christian faith and tendency toward research, perhaps I'm a little more guarded than the typical INFJ. As a child of God, I'm unwilling to open myself up to evil spirits in the name of imagination and creativity. The Holy Spirit is the only spirit for me! I do often wonder if the things I write come from Him. So many times, I feel inspired and will produce something with little to no effort. When I'm done, I wonder how I did it. If I'm at all divinely inspired, He gets full credit.

That brings up an odd question - if being an INFJ is rare, how much rarer is it to be an INFJ Christian? That might be interesting to post about in the future!

I'm not sure if I got anywhere with this paragraph. If anyone has other thoughts, I'd love to hear them...

Next up, a look at our daring inner worlds and the visual nature of our minds. Ought to be fun, especially if I can get adequate sleep beforehand!

Until then,
M.


20 comments

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persepolisse
AUTHOR
May 29, 2012 at 1:57 PM delete

Hi M! I found you over here!
That trait that Dr. Drenth mentions as wellas that behind your story almost derailed my pHD….I made a prediction based on fairly limited specific literature evidence + a deductive reasoning honed over a lifetime and weaving seemingly tenuously related areas that turned out to be true. To me the finding itself was the most important thing but I had a few members of my department attack me for being “unscientific.” Implying I wasn’t fit to enter in the hallowed halls of science. The most fascinating thing was that after my finding, there seemed to be a flood of high impact published research supporting what I had found….I think they are trying to decide between my being a witch or monumentally lucky

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Meridian
AUTHOR
May 30, 2012 at 8:20 AM delete

Hey, Perse! So glad to see you out here!

What an intriguing story - and a prime example of the tension that INFJs live in - how do we support what we 'know' to be true, unless there's scientific data to back it up? Sounds like you used some basic evidence, along with your 'spidey sense' and deductive reasoning to make connections (which is what we have a unique capability for). Your co-workers, who don't have your intuition, labeled you unscientific because you figured out (by an intuitive leap) what would normally take them many scientific steps. You have such an advantage. The trick is figuring out how to utilize it in the scientific arena :-)

Bet you felt vindicated when the flood of research came out! What is your PhD in, by the way??

I bet if we went back to the old days of Salem, many of the people who got hung for witchcraft were really just unsuspecting INFJs...

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persepolisse
AUTHOR
June 4, 2012 at 2:55 PM delete

It can be useful in the scientific arena actually - the big picture part especially. Actually this morning, I helped my advisor get past a huge block so he could write his grant. He had been puzzling over it for months and as he himself put it, he was pretty sure it was because he couldn't see the forest for the trees. I'm in biomedical research by the way. I'm looking at how breast cancer spreads to bone. He had never thrown out a problem like this to us (the lab) before, because he himself is a big picture person, but this was stumping him. I didn't even think about it because I had decided I couldn't spare the time when I'm so swamped but I woke up one morning with an idea, which he ultimately accepted.

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Meridian
AUTHOR
June 5, 2012 at 8:12 AM delete

So awesome that you were able to figure out what your advisor needed - and kind of cool that you 'woke up with' the idea. Isn't it neat how our brains continue to plug away at problems, even while we're asleep?

Biomed research...bet you have a lot of interesting stories...

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Tony Davies
AUTHOR
June 25, 2012 at 6:33 AM delete

um I'm an INFJ male AND christian. The truth is dominant intuition is precisely what I use to understand GOD and so I find it eminently suitable to be both christian AND INFJ. An INTJ would have MORE difficulty to be christian than INFJ as their Te would tend to require objective empirically verifiable data to prove the existence of GOD. The other reason INFJ is eminently suited to GOD thinking is that Fe is directed towards relationship and who else but GOD is the end of all relationships? Make sense?

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Meridian
AUTHOR
June 25, 2012 at 9:43 AM delete

Hi, Tony! An INFJ male Christian - wow, I think you must be the rarest of the rare :-)

You make perfect sense. I agree that dominant Ni plays a big part in faith. INFJs tend to use their Ni to build that bedrock core of "truth" over a long period of time, and very little can shake that foundation once it's established. And yes, we find value in deep, meaningful relationships. My relationship with Christ is my ultimate source...because unlike human beings, He never fails me.

But I don't consider faith and empirical evidence to be mutually exclusive. I find science fascinating and, in my opinion, God (the ultimate scientist Himself) left us quite a bit of physical evidence of His existence. After all, He knew that not all of us would be fortunate enough to have Fe. He had to leave something for the Te's, right? Lol!

If I had to choose between faith and empirical evidence, though, I'd choose faith. Evidence can be fleeting, tampered with, or disillusional (is that a real word? hmm...). My faith is firmly in Him and brings peace and hope like no scientific data ever could :-)

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Anonymous
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August 9, 2012 at 10:52 PM delete

Hey i'm an INFJ christian and would love to see a post on that! I've just recently found out my personality type, and it's really cool to see that there are some very intelligent INFJ's out there who can relate. Thanks for the post!

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Meridian
AUTHOR
August 10, 2012 at 9:30 AM delete

Hello there! I've been meaning to post about INFJ Christians...will try to come up with something in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the reminder! And God bless :-)

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Anonymous
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October 18, 2012 at 5:34 PM delete

I'm an INFJ. I used to be a Christian. Totally understand the appeal. But as a woman and straight ally I can no longer be a Christian and remain sane at the same time. I got over God. It just took 5 years. Not looking back. Wish more INFJs would do the same. INFJs seem to be attracted to the concept of God like a fly is to light in the dark. Think outside your personality type! Think for yourself! And don't settle for anything but the truth. The REAL truth.

Maybe there is a God. But I think we deserve a better one than the Christian God. Just saying. My morality is better than his.

And I will NOT be defined by what one woman did. It is just not going to happen.

Watch Glee.

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Meridian
AUTHOR
October 18, 2012 at 9:23 PM delete

Hello there! I really appreciate the honesty and candor of your reply. There are definitely times when I wrestle with doubt and wonder if I'm "outgrowing" God. I think--and this is just my personal opinion--that the reason INFJs are drawn to spirituality is because we sense its nearness. There's so much out there that I FEEL, but science can't yet explain...like the supernatural world, the tingling energy that often radiates from my hands, the eerie presence of evil, my dreams that occasionally come true, premonitions, coincidences...and if all that is possibly real, then I can't rule God out, either. Even if God himself seems remote or unconcerned, Jesus wasn't. He was the quintessential INFJ. So my faith endures ;-)

Hope you're finding this blog helpful. We're all individuals and entitled to our opinions as we seek out the Truth. I wish you the best of luck in your search!!

M.

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Sam
AUTHOR
July 22, 2013 at 3:34 AM delete

It's so refreshing to see that there are more people out there seeking the truth in everything(even though it's a subjective thing). I'm an INFJ male myself and Christian and i find this article very interesting.
I personally found out that as a INFJ it's quite hard for me to 'conquer' girls because i usually see their weakness and suffering and try to help them repair it and finally end up getting 'friendzoned'. What do you think i should do? Just wait or stop myself from trying to help them?. Also it seems that in the Bible, God 'adapted' himself to the mentality of the people in those times, so the sacrifices were needed because that was the only way to make people feel forgiven and accepted by their God. This are just a few scattered thoughts...

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Anonymous
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January 13, 2014 at 4:34 AM delete

i'm an INFJ. female. no longer belive in religion because nowadays many people doing murder in the name of god. there are so many war because of religion and i'm just over it. i believe god but i don't believe in violence people do because of having different belief (religion).
So many teror in my city, people died for nothing and i wish one day people realize that difference is natural. not to fight about.
i don't understand why people want things to be the same and declare war, commit self-bomb suicide. it is all because of religion. i had enough of it. i believe in peace and i believe that one day, we, human, can live together in harmony even though we different.

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Jessica
AUTHOR
January 9, 2015 at 9:28 AM delete

Hi, I am an INFJ, female and a Christian. I remember when I was little and just feeling filled with a gentle love and I had no doubt that it was Jesus. I remember letting that feeling kind of propel my thoughts and actions. I was pretty unguarded about it when I was little and some of the repercussions were painful. I remember learning to how to dig up facts to help present truth. I remember too, that knowing of things before others had any sense of realization that anything was about to happen. I lost touch with my faith for a few years, and when I did I kind of lost touch with my intuitive side. As I have gotten back in touch with God and my Christian faith I have felt trickles of the intuition coming back like water leaking from a breaking dam. And that warm glow of knowledge that things will work out even though outwardly you see things breaking. I don't know if that helps, but it really helped me to read your post.

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Meridian
AUTHOR
January 9, 2015 at 2:19 PM delete

Hi, Jessica - thanks for your comment. It resonates with me in many ways. I remember feeling that way as a child, too. Unfortunately, so many people prey on people with gentle love, and it usually ends up changing us (we build walls, thicken our skins, hold ourselves back, etc.).

It's interesting that you felt you lost touch with your intuition when you backed away from faith. I've experienced that as well, and I wonder if it's because Christianity is supportive of Godly intuition? When I was deeply entrenched in a charismatic church, I felt my intuition was hot and spot-on. Not so much now, because I don't have a church home and am not constantly surrounded by people who took my intuitive word as Godly truth. Will it come back when I find a new church? I don't know. But it's something to think about.

So glad the post helped...take care and stay in touch!

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Jessica
AUTHOR
January 9, 2015 at 6:06 PM delete

I know what you mean about not having a church home and being surrounded by it. The fellowship. My preacher quit recently and I really haven't felt the same vibe from the new preacher. I don't know, his sermons are just on a more negative bent. I just feel like I get more out of sermons that are more about forgiveness and fellowship. The sense that we are one people that we all have hurts and that we just want to be acknowledged. The sermons that state we can become better with faith and by helping each other stand back on our feet. I think the feeling will come back when you find a new church. I just remember when the music touched the congregation, that you kind of just feel it or when the message was particularly strong. But, I have felt the intuitive side come out in me when I am in nature by myself and also when I am at my most positive and purposely optimistic. Sorry if I rambled a bit, I hope what I said helps you a little or someone else.

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Meridian
AUTHOR
January 9, 2015 at 7:07 PM delete

It does help! Thank you so much for taking the time to express your thoughts. They are lovely and wise and much appreciated. :)

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June 18, 2015 at 10:31 PM delete

First of all I just want to say that I am so glad to have found your blog. It is like a breath of fresh air to know that I am not alone. Some of the other online INFJ blogs and groups stay specifically with what it means to be an INFJ as far as by definition, but do not relate or share how that looks for them in life. I especially needed the Christian component. This post is very similar to something I wrote about yesterday based on the Stephen Covey quote "We see the world not as it is, but as we are" and I elaborated on that by saying that we live with the stories we tell ourselves and that becomes our reality. Sometimes I feel like I get "spiritual eyes" and every so often catch glimpses of what the world actually looks like outside my own frame of reference. This especially happens to me in dreams every once in a great while. In fact, that's how I found this post because I Googled "INFJ Christian Dreams", and this is where I landed. I really enjoyed this post and can definitely identify. As far as the rarity of being an INFJ Christian, I haven't given it much thought, however, some of the online sites I've been on for INFJs it seems that those who are not Christian, seem to have some other deep spiritual (often dark and scary) thought processes. With there being so few INFJs in the world, I don't know what to make of that. My INFJ bizarre imagination has some theories too crazy to share, but I'm going to take the sane human route and just say it is curious, but it is what it is.

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Anonymous
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February 12, 2016 at 5:44 AM delete

I'm a female INFJ Christian. There is a God and he uses us to protect the innocent and the meek.

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Aundrea
AUTHOR
October 12, 2016 at 11:34 AM delete

Hi M,

So glad that I found your site! I am a female INFJ. I've been on a sort of quest for the past few years, trying to figure out myself and my beliefs. I took the Myers Briggs test and that really helped me understand myself a ton! I grew up christian, and never questioned my faith until a few years back. Maybe at some point you just get to an age where you question what you have been living and believing. For me it came in my mid 30s. Through all of the searching I relied heavily on my intuition, and could never shake the feeling that the God that I grew up believing in is real, and that He is present in everything. I feel like being an INFJ is actually helpful in feeling connected to Him. I've never thought of it as being a negative to my faith. I think it helps us dig deeper. I think as an INFJ we can't just go through the motions of something we have been taught. We need to know it and feel it to our core. I can relate to the feelings others have had as a child. I felt so close to Him! As I've gotten older I struggle through all of the muck that the world throws at us to get back to that feeling, and still get to experience it in the quiet moments. Anyway, I just wanted to share with you that I am glad that out of all of the INFJ sites out there, I found yours! :)

Aundrea

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Meridian
AUTHOR
October 12, 2016 at 12:20 PM delete

Hey there...thank you! I'm so glad you found the Cafe, too! And I agree that being an INFJ gives us an advantage when seeking spirituality and God's presence. I can never deny the intuitive feeling that He exists, no matter how deep I dig or how many religious theories I reject. But I can't go through the motions, either, so I just keep searching, lol. Thank you for your insights, and I hope you enjoy the articles out here. Keep in touch! :)

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