Divine Wiring #2: The Driven Ones

You make a checklist. You check off the checklist.

The day cannot end unless the checklist is complete, and you'll struggle to sleep if one box isn't marked.

You are one of the proud SJ temperaments.

I love SJ's - primarily because I'm married to one - because they counterbalance all the NF's like me in the world. The SJ's are the driven, committed, and administratively-gifted folks who create processes and plans that make things happen. They are often the rational scientists, processing the world through tangible proof (taste, touch, see, smell) and they have an acute sense of right and wrong. They are often the ones who are out crusading for the truth.

The high sense of commitment is an SJ's most prized asset, but it can also kill them because they often use this phrase: "Someone has to do it, it might as well be me." They struggle with saying no, unplugging, and working as a team. They aren't anti-social, but sometimes their task-oriented nature leads them to overvalue the job and undervalue the co-workers.

So, what does an SJ do to harness their personality in shaping their lives around Christ? I'm so glad you asked...

  • Pray with a list. My favorite quote from Andrew Murray is, and I may butcher this, "The only failure in prayer is cessation." We've done damage by saying that any kind of form or structure in prayer is unholy or immature. SJ's need to structure their time with God so that they're able to move naturally into prayer. However, SJ's need to make sure that they experiment with more open-ended prayer from time to time so that they allow space for God to develop their "dark side."
  • Make community a spiritual discipline. Spiritual disciplines are activities we do in order to change that which we can't directly change on our own. SJ's can become individualized and closed off to others, which limits their ability to become more relational and sympathetic with others. A small group, discipleship triad, or mentorship could be a great place to train an SJ out of being an island of their own.
  • Remember "quality, not quantity" when reading the Bible. The SJ's typically like the "read the whole Bible in a year" plans because it has a daily assignment aspect and a sense of achievement at the end. However these reading plans rarely allow for people to spend adequate time reflecting on what each passage means to the life of a follower of Jesus. If you have to set a time limit, that's fine, but make sure to spend time with a manageable passage of Scripture - one that will allow you to think about the implications fully.
  • Learn to say "No." SJ's find themselves scooping up every job, task, and leadership responsibility they can because of their "if no one else will do it, I will" wiring. There has to be an active process for an SJ of discerning what fits their area of strength and setting priorities for themselves at work, home, and local church community. Setting time for a true Sabbath rest - a time (8 hours or so) of being disconnected from work responsibilities to "waste time" with God and family - will be key to balancing the powerful work ethic of the SJ and helping them experience the peace and rest that Jesus promises those who follow Him. The Sabbath reminds the SJ that despite what they may believe, it isn't their effort that keeps the world turning. It is God who does that work.

Next Wednesday, we'll deal with the scholarly NT's. Until then, peace friends.

If you missed the last post in this series, you can read it here