Friday, April 24, 2009

Who Are You?

Who are you? How do you describe yourself to someone when they ask?
Do you mention your career, your family? I recently read a short reflection about a woman who died and ended up at the metaphoric gate of heaven with, of course, St. Peter. When asked who she was, she first said, “Mrs. Smith, wife of John, the attorney for the city of…”
St. Peter said, “I didn’t ask whose wife you were. Who are you?”
The woman answered, “I’m Mary, mother of John Jr., and Sarah”
St. Peter said, “I didn’t ask whose mother you were. Who are YOU?”
The woman was confused and couldn’t answer. She has identified herself through her relationships and her family, for so long, she couldn’t say who SHE was.
So, who are YOU?

At times, I’ve answered that question by a few words of personality self-description.. Are you familiar with the Myers Briggs test? It is a way of determining your personality preferences within 4 categories. Imagine 4 see-saws lined up together.
Each one has an extreme associated with the seat, and balance comes in the middle.
Extrovert and Introvert
Sensing and Intuiting
Thinking and Feeling
Judging and Perceiving
They are just words to describe certain characteristics that go together. I first tested as an ESTP.
You probably know me well enough to recognize I’m an extrovert, that’s the E and although some of the other letters change, that one stays the same. E
I must sit at the middle of the see-saw on the S and N, Sensing and Intuition. I test so close to the middle that a single answer to a question can swing me one way or the other.
I’m also close to the middle on the T and F, I tend to come down more toward the thinking seat than feeling, but it’s close.
The interesting feature is the J and P. I used to test as a P. P’s are always perceiving. (I’m sure I won’t give this category a full description so if you are well versed in MB, please forgive me.) P’s like to gather info from their surroundings. They tend to live in the moment and seize the day.
While J’s, “judges” sounds a bit harsh, J’s tend to plan in advance. They carry day-planners and keep to a schedule. They eat on time, not just when they are hungry. They have certain times of days for each thing that must be done and days of the week for certain tasks. Theirs is a well-ordered life.
In recent years I’ve tested as a J. Now if you know me as well as my husband you’d be shaking your head because you know at heart I’m a P and can get distracted by a task that can fill a day and disrupt any plans. But as a friend told me, “Nancy, you can’t get thru seminary, and work and raising a family without becoming a J, at least to some extent.” So, much of the time I’m a J, a planner.
If you ask me my plans for retirement, it’s to someday become a blissful P again.
Who are you?
Are you a planner, an introvert, do you feel your way thru the world, do you identify with logic, do you intuit what is going on or do you need to feel and touch to understand who you are and where you are?

John’s 1st letter has an answer for us. He says we are children of God and that is all the identity we need. Whether we are the life of the party or content to be alone, we are children of God. Whether we plan our days down to the last detail or live life on a whim, we are children of God. We are marked by God’s love for us!
Trans: We need a separate category that starts off the MB description that gives us a new set of letters GC, God’s Child, ENTJ, God’s Child INFP. Because this description of being God’s child is not one the world really understands. We need a book about it, and John’s letter may just do the trick.
See what love the Father (I prefer to use God but we need the parental image to understand John’s picture) See what love our PARENT has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
These are the thoughts I'm developing for Sunday with great and attributed help form Ronald Cole-Turner, professor of Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgy Theological Seminary.

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