May 18, 2009

i have heard people who don't agree with the whole concept of myers briggs, or strength finders, or the such. they say it confines and cheapens their identity to a finely structured box. and when i allow myself to pause and see things through their eyes, i can see the value of their opinion. as human nature so brokenly gleams, we are judgemental, discriminatory, and viciously kill all mystery in order to gather some form of knowledge (which if we pause to think about that, what we really crave is control, and knowledge can offer that in a diluted way).

however, i believe there is also transforming significance to these tests. they invite us to understand ourselves and others in a different light. i for one have benefited from them in a radical way. i am a sensor and a feeler. intuition only comes through my senses and thinking is built upon a foundation of emotion. these tests have opened my mind and heart to better discern the ways in which god works through me. it is as though i discovered a secret code to the journey of life and with it the scattered puzzle pieces are easier to fit together.

all this to say, if it were not for "personality tests" i may not be where i am today. 

"the whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of man's life, to get behind the facade of conventional gestures and attitudes which he presents to the world, and to bring out his inner spiritual freedom, his inmost truth, which is what we call the likeness of Christ in his soul." ~ thomas merton

in the fall i will begin studying at bethel. ultimately i'd like to study spiritual formation and pursue a life of spiritual direction.  this vocation parallels comfortably to the peculiar ways god created me. when i take an aerial view of what ignites passion within my soul, more than anything it is guiding people into the deep mystery of the triune god. the movements of his spirit are like the wind, who can tell where it will blow? but to pray and sit at the feet of jesus out of a desire to discern the untraceable paths of his spirit - whether for my own life, for our nation, for injustices around the globe, or in the lives of my students and friends; is a facet of ministry god has laid upon my heart. 

"a spiritual director is one who helps another to recognize and to follow the inspirations of grace in his life, in order to arrive at the end to which god is leading him." ~ thomas merton

it is a sad truth that spiritual directors get a bad rap within the church; as though this vocation is lesser than that of the pedestal dwelling theological scholar. over the centuries we have valued knowledge more than mystery, answers more than wonder, and control more than surrender. the beauty of a spiritual director (and theological scholars as well, do not misunderstand me)  is how they re-direct the mysticism and boundlessness of following after christ while encouraging the spiritual within the soul. 

i think it requires every one of our senses to discern the inspirations of grace in our lives. if my boss had never required us as a youth ministry staff to take tests of personality i may have never received understanding to the sensory based formation of my make-up. i would have shy'ed away from the prospect of spiritual direction because it's so rarely spoken of among the, as thomas merton names it, "normal religious". 

"in a word, he (the spiritual director) is only god's usher, and must lead souls in god's way, and not his own." ~ thomas merton

1 comment:

Kathy Mc said...

Dear Brianna,

You will always hold a special place in my heart. I have not seen you for awhile, but I want you to know that whenever I think of you, I smile and the words, loving, adventurous, strong, always come to mind. You go girl!! God gave us all a very special gift when you were born. Kathy Mc P.S. I hope this comment goes through, I think I did everything right this time computer-wise.