ISFJ

Have you ever heard of the Myers-Briggs test? According to my best friend all throughout high school and college, Wikipedia, it is an "introspective self-report questionnaire claiming to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions."

I have taken this test at least five times, both the free, abridged version you can find online as well as the full questionnaire from the actual foundation, and I am consistently an ISFJ. Here are a few traits that are very true to me:

  1. "often meticulous to the point of perfectionism, and though they procrastinate, they can always be relied on to get the job done on time"
  2. "very imaginative, and use this quality as an accessory to empathy, observing others’ emotional states and seeing things from their perspective"
  3. "private and very sensitive, internalizing their feelings a great deal...lack of healthy emotional expression can lead to a lot of stress and frustration"
  4. "reluctant to change... they value traditions and history highly in their decisions. A situation sometimes needs to reach a breaking point before ISFJs are persuaded by circumstance, or the strong personality of a loved one, to alter course"
  5. "people with the ISFJ personality type are shy and a little protective of themselves, but they also need to be able to connect on a deeper emotional level...friends are made not by random encounters on a wild night out, but through comfortable and consistent contact, as in class or in the workplace where they have the time to get to know each other little by little"

Are you like me? There's a lot I can say about this but one thing that's on my mind right now is that I don't like change. I like it when things are familiar and I hate surprises. I'm truly a creature of habit. Have you ever heard of the Comfort Zone? Yeah, I've lived there my whole life and I'll probably end up retiring there. But it's not only that I don't like change, I'm also afraid of change. I get the same Iced Coffee with Soy Milk at Starbucks because I'm afraid if I try something new, I won't like it (example: the purple drink. gross. literally the taste of regret. is it a pretty color? sure). I watch The Office again and again because I'm afraid if I watch a new show and there's a sad episode, I won't know to skip it. These are silly little things that show my dislike for new things and change but often times, change isn't something you can control. 

"Change" is a broad term so let me give you a definition: a modification to a person's environment, situation, or physical/mental condition that results in circumstances that challenge their existing paradigms.

Here's a personal example..
In 2015-2016: I went from living with my mom and sister to living with my mom, sister, other sister, brother-in-law, and baby nephew. I moved houses. I graduated. I started working full time at a job different than I originally planned before graduation. My church moved to a different building in a different city. The set up changed. The community changed. My roles in ministry changed. My relationships with close friends changed.

There wasn't anything necessarily bad happening but it's just the fact that everything was so different. In a short span of time, things were so different to the point that I (of course) had an emotional breakdown. But after some counseling with some wise mentors, I learned, difficultly and reluctantly, to not be afraid of change.

You don't have to be an "ISFJ" like me to understand what it means to be afraid of change. Everyone can relate to the fear of change but I think what I wanted to get out there is that change isn't our enemy. Change is what can drive us to adapt, be better, discover things about yourself that you never knew or discover potential within yourself; it ultimately helps us grow. 

If you're like me and you have a difficult time adapting to change, that's ok. Some people are better at it than others and it's fine if you don't adapt to change as fast or gracefully as someone else. What I'm saying is to not be afraid of it. Change, whether it be good or bad, is an opportunity for growth. Circumstances around you can change drastically at any given time and you can't control it. But what you can control is your response. When unexpected change comes your way (when, not if), embrace it and welcome it like an old friend.