Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lover, Warrior, Watcher, Believer

G'morning, folks. Feeling a little groggy today and not sure why. Yesterday I was up early and full of energy. Today not so much. My energy levels fluctuate wildly sometimes. I can't tell if it's an INFJ thing, a woman thing, or just me. Whatever it is, I might need a little more coffee than usual today :-)

Recently I had a reader suggest a post about INFJ Christians. I do recall wanting to write about it, because I felt it might be a rare position to be in. But given that many INFJs seem to be drawn to ministry, maybe it's not so rare after all.

Before you can write anything about being a Christian, though, you really need to define the word. I've noticed that when I tell people I'm an INFJ, they say "huh?" But when I tell people I'm a Christian, they don't ask questions...because they already have an idea of what it means. That isn't always a good thing.

If you went out on the street and asked 100 people "What is a Christian?" you'd probably get a wide variety of responses with a little overlap. Thanks to mainstream media and movies, a lot of people have an inaccurate view. These days anyone can call himself a Christian. All you have to do is go to church once a week. Or say you believe in God. Or hang out with other people who call themselves Christians.

We all know what an INFJ is. But what is a Christian?

Did you guys know that back in the days of the New Testament, people who followed Jesus called themselves members of "The Way?" It's true. The term "Christian" was actually derogatory, used by skeptics and religious leaders to describe people dedicated to Christ. They thought it was a cult, or a passing fad. I can picture them sitting on their front porches, whispering about those "Christians" the same way we'd do today about the latest religious craze.

Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint Community Church in Georgia, has a great sermon series on what it means to be a Christian. I watched the first couple of videos and found them entertaining. According to Andy, being a Christian is fairly easy these days...because if you open the Bible, you don't see very many instructions for them. The term is used maybe three or four times. So you can act just about any way you like and still label yourself a Christian. I'm sure this is one reason people have such a poor viewpoint of us.

So how do I post about being an INFJ Christian when INFJ is clearly definable and Christian is not?

Good question.

Honestly I don't even like the term "Christian." It conjures up too many negative responses in people and gives them the wrong impression of me. I'm not a do-gooder or a preacher. I'm not out to convert X number of people every week to meet some quota. I attend a church, but I'm not a member of any denomination and am really not interested in man-made rules and regulations on how to be a good Christian in my home and community.

For me, like any INFJ, it's about relationship. Connecting in a meaningful way. And seeing the world for what it really is and not how it appears on the surface. Getting to the truth of things and using that perspective to shape my bedrock core. It's about magic and mystery, warfare and conspiracy theory, and drawing lines in the sand. Choosing a side, picking up my sword and saying "bring it."

All of those things are part of my walk with Christ. That might surprise you. You might think he's boring...a wishy-washy prophet from olden times who pissed off the religious leaders of the day and ended up suffering one of the worst forms of death known to man (those Romans knew how to torture people, that's for sure). But I can tell you that if you don't know him, you don't have the right picture of who he really is. I posted once that he's an angel and a badass, and I believe it with all my heart.

Do you remember what it was like when one of your close friends fell in love? Do you remember the changes in that person? Maybe she smiled more often, or updated her hairstyle. She might have dropped a bad habit or picked up a new one that her love interest was engaged in. That love changed her. Improved her. Motivated her to be the best woman she could be.

Well, that's the only way I can describe how I feel about Christ. To know him is to fall in love. Deeply - which is the only way an INFJ can. And I think being an INFJ is a clear advantage when it comes to knowing Christ. We can feel him and sense his presence in a unique way. The Bible depicts him as a brilliant, sensitive and misunderstood individual. We are well equipped to model the same compassion, intuition and creativity that he did on this earth (and is still doing today). Because of this, I find it difficult to separate my INFJness and my faith. It seems like I've felt the presence of God my whole life. I always believed in something greater than myself. I just didn't know what I was believing in until I met my one true love :-)

So I really don't know that I would label myself a Christian the way others do. I'd rather call myself an INFJ who's in a relationship with Christ. I'm in love - and that love changes me. I'm oppressed by enemies - and they never stop coming after me. I'm in a war - and I fight for truth (which always sets us free).

I'm a lover, a warrior, a watcher, and a believer. :-)

Wishing you a day filled with hope and peace,

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  1. Thanks for the post. I'm a Christian and an INFJ and am having great fun exploring both of these aspects of my life. Trying to get my head around INFJ intuition in a Christian context at present!

    1. Hi, Colin! It's interesting being both a Christian and an INFJ, isn't it? I find the two aspects will intersect and connect even as they are walking side by side. Rarely am I able to separate them, because they're so closely intertwined.

      In May I wrote a post called "A Terrible Privilege" that addresses the topic of intuition. Check it out in the blog archive to the right if you'd like. In the comment section, I answered a reader by saying that I think intuition/insight is a divine gift. It helps us navigate the physical world with amazing mental dexterity. I also believe it makes us very sensitive to the supernatural world and opens the door to hearing God (or His enemies, if that's the route we take). This is just my opinion, of course.

      So glad you stopped in - hope your exploring brings you the answers, peace and truth you're looking for :-)

    2. I've been wondering about this too! I'm such a strong INFJ intuitive and i've been thinking that HAS to help me hear the holy spirit, get visions, words from god etc. And just to, yeah, sense the holy spirit and spiritual presence. The thinkers tend to question whether they've heard God or not, but I just 'know' that it was him. I've never really found it hard to distinguish between god's voice and my own thoughts. Haha INFJ rambling..

    3. I really admire your ability to hear God and know it's Him. My brain gets in the way at times and blurs the line between my imagination and the voice of the Holy Spirit...it's the result of growing up around so many thinkers who didn't understand my Ni/Fe and tried to squash it. Keep listening to Him and developing that relationship, cuz it's one that will never fail you :-)

    4. That explains my struggle in trying to distinguish the difference between the sound of my voice and the Lord's voice. Sometimes I wish I could shut out and up my thoughts so I can hear The Holy Spirit more clearer.

    5. I struggle with that, too. I was once told that God gives us "impressions" and that's how we should know He's talking. I was like...wait, my INFJ intuition does the same thing. How am I supposed to know the difference? Seriously, there are times when I can't tell them apart, so I just smile and go with the flow.