Getting asked for help by strangers.

This morning I was asked by an stranger that seemed to only speak English for help with his phone because the message app on his iPhone wouldn’t rotate the screen. He asked if I had an iPhone in my hand prior to him stating his problem. I helped him out with his problem by telling him how to close the app and open it again to reset the app and solve the problem. We both realized that he had not closed any apps from his phone and proceeded to close all of his apps. I shared info about what happens when we close apps in that manner. He stopped right away. He thanked me and went on with his life.

At this point in my life I am not surprised that strangers ask for help with things because of how often it happens. But I wonder how I as an INTJ get asked questions by strangers when I always give the non verbal message of wanting to have as little social contact as possible.

I guess that part of the rationale of those people is that I am viewed as someone who can help them fix their problem. Whether is in IT, English-Spanish/Spanish-English translation, fashion advice, or how to get from where we are at to where they want to go, I get approached by strangers who want my input in solving there problems.

When I was in college, I was asked by a freshman in the first week of my third or fourth year in college how to get to a particular class. He let me know that I looked like someone nice that wouldn’t rat him out and get him the freshman treatment at the university.

If I think of the feedback that I get when these moments happen, I would have to conclude that I get asked for things because I am approachable and seem to know enough to help them out or point them in the right direction.

I am not sure if this is something that happens to INTJs or it’s just something that happens to me. I don’t know if this is something that is part of the impression that the INTJ personality exudes or if this has more to do with what being the light of Jesus means.

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My journey towards self understanding as a Christian INTJ

Before I found out that I was an INTJ, I felt really misunderstood by everyone… including myself. I felt different than everyone else, but I didn’t know why, how, and to what extent. I knew that I strived for something different and that my thought process was different than anyone else. Because of how misunderstood I was, I had engrained in my brain that who I felt that I was as a Christian and as a person is unnacceptable. I felt the need to create a persona that might be still active today.

Part of my process of my Christian walk has been accepting and embracing who God created me to be and the INTJ personality that God put in me. That process has taken years. Now I feel empowered as myself. In ministry, though, I feel stagnant. I don’t feel that I am at the pinnacle of what I can be.

Something that I have always done is look for evidence that the theories that I come up with are plausible and good. I have found some models of who I want to be in my physical surroundings. Yet I can’t identify with the core of who they are because their personalities are different. That’s why I have had to look for those models online. The models that have had the biggest impact on me- Shawn Bolz, Marc Gungor, John Paul Jackson, Steve Ciccolanti, among others- have shown me aspects of who I want to be as a whole, have shown what is like to be successful with those particular traits, and have increased my faith of what is possible for me. I also ry to find descriptions other people place on what is like to be a Christian INTJ. When I read them, I feel understood.

Today, my journey is not as much about understanding who I am but finding out how to come into the fullness of what I am called to. It’s about understanding how the pieces are supposed to come together. It’s about being a model to a new generation of young people trying to find their way in church. It’s about modeling what is possible for Christians, not just INTJs or people who feel weird in the church.

INTJ friendships

I as an INTJ avoid calling someone a friend, because the tittle of friend means that I am responsible for maintaining the interaction egalitarian. It means that I am responsible for the other person’s wellbeing at certain points in the relationship. I am not willing to do that with all people. This means that I can be other people’s friends without them being my friend.

I as an INTJ view friendships as investments. To be able to create and maintain a friendship I have to deposit/invest time, energy, and money (if applicable). I feel somewhat responsible for keeping track of the checks and balances to make sure that not only everything is even but both parties are satisfied with the state of the friendship and where is it going.

I as an INTJ view a friend as someone who has earned access to parts of myself that is off limits to most people. In fact, people can be around me for years and never get to this level. Why? Because I consider access to information part of what I invest in a friendship. If I take time to explain how I work and what I feel, it means that I consider you valuable enough for me to try something that is not normal to me.

As an INTJ, I take a really long time to admit that someone is a friend. It has to be catalized by an event or feeling that makes me realize that a person has been a friend for a while but I haven’t taken the time to realize it. Once someone becomes a friend, my attitude towards them changes because I know that I have to be willing to do things that I would normally not do with them. I have to be alert and understand when I am expected to make time for them and when do I have to tell them what they need to hear.

I as an INTJ try to not expect something out of my friends that I am not willing to give. Which is why I am always evaluating myself to make sure that my expectations are realistic when compared to what I invest in the friendship.

I as an INTJ don’t look to have a friend that is only capable of having superficial conversations. I want my friends to be able to talk about anything and everything that can be talked about. I want my friends and I to be able to show the fullness of our sense of humors and to be able to be honest and transparent with each other. I want to be able for us to feel that we can show who we are and have that be respected and not judged by the other before, during, and after showing vulnerabilities. I want for respect for boundaries but also mutual agreement in how parameters can/will change over time. I believe that as trust grows and we as people grow we should slowly and intentionally sow how we want for the friendship to change. I want my friendships to have a solid foundation, which is why I mostly take a year to establish a friendship.

INTJ friendships are… calculated. There is an emotional side of it, but we as INTJs mainly tackle it from an intuitive and analytical perspective. Being a friend to an INTJ is not impossible, but it cannot be done superficially. Commitment and patience is required for a successfull friendship with an INTJ

Introverted depresion

Introverted depression. A term used in the book “Introverts in Church” to describe the state that introverts reach when they have endured intense long-lasting social event with no possibility of escape. It’s like we present some of the symptoms of depression, but it’s really that we are so tired that we loose the ability to get pleasure out of life. We get so sad and can become very irritated, depending on the manifestation of the introverted depression. We try to hide it, but people notice it. Been there, done that.

The best way to prevent introverted depresion, according to “Introverts in Church”, is to understand what your optimum life rhythm is and practice self care. By doing this you can be most useful to the world without incurring in harm to self.

 

What INTJs look for in models of Christianity.

Because we INTJs are only 2% of the population, we have a hard time finding models that show us that how we want to be as human beings. Most people are not like us, so we mostly get the manifestation of the traits that we want to have contextualized to another personality type. For the most part, that leaves us on our own to figure out how being ourselves looks on us.

This is made harder because most people we meet don’t understand what makes us us. Therefore, they make efforts to make us be more like them. They make campaigns to have us be a convert to what they are. We as INTJs learn at some point that what is best for us is to have discernment and a quiet rebellion so as to not loose ourselves in their attempts to change us. We are not always successful, but it benefits us to try.

The way that I as an INTJ have been able to find models of what I want to be and represent is to find the traits in different people. I look for the following things when I seek to find a model for who I want to be:

  1. It exists.
  2. The trait is good.
  3. That the trait is valuable.
  4. You can be successful with the trait.
  5. The people that have the trait are respected in their social circle.
  6. That I can adopt the trait successfully without loosing something fundamental about myself.

I have found that it is better to not limit myself to the people who are physically around you to find models for what I want to be as a person and as a Christian. This has allowed me to find people that are the most like me. It has broaden my horizons to what is possible that fits who I am/want to be.

Challenges of life as an INTJ.

We all faces challenges in this world because of the personality that we have. As an INTJ that looks for self-understanding, I want to be able to explain what’s behind my behaviors.

Greeting someone as an extrovert. We cannot physically greet someone but do so in our minds. No one cares about what we are able to do with our mind, though… so we are screwed.

Responding correctly to social cues. I have found myself in situations where things collectively change socially, gender segregation occurs or the group I’m in all decide to leave the area without saying a word, and I never get the memo. All of a sudden I find myself alone and confused trying to figure out what went wrong.

Reconciling what is on our mind with what my reality is. When I see myself doing something, I see myself as a rock star being successful. Then the moment passes and I realize that I am still a work in progress. Then I have to pick myself up and try again.

Trying to not get stuck in details that don’t matter. This one might be more of my challenge that representative of all INTJs, but I don’t know.

Maintaining humility. I have found myself thinking that I am better than I am and better at something than everyone else. I have found myself thinking that I am indispensable. Part of what I had to learn at my previous job was that this mentality causes more harm than good for everybody and I have to keep the healthy perspective of who I am and what my capabilities are.

Working with other people to accomplish a task. I like to go by myself to come up with ideas to complete a task or just do a task on my own. When I can’t do that, I feel that I am not working at my highest capacity.

Measuring success adequately. I have to work hard to measure how successful my life is. When I have been unemployed, I feel more like a failure than a success. When I have been employed, I feel more successful even though I am struggling at work and the job is leading to nowhere meaningful.

Having a generator is a privilege.

I was almost 2 months without being able to use the generator that my father had installed in the house I live and I don’t have electricity where I live. My generator needed a valve adjustment. It took 3 weeks to get someone to make an initial diagnosis. it took another 5 weeks for another person to correctly diagnose the problem and fix it. Having to deal with 5 weeks of “no electricity” unnecessarily got me pissed.

I tried not to show it because it doesn’t do anything good. But I also realized that having a generator is a privilege. There are so many people in the world that doesn’t have the head start that I have gotten and have bigger problems than I have. I am so grateful of the circumstance that God has put me in because I could have ended in a war zone. I have learned whenever God shows me my privilege that I need to be humble and be grateful for His grace.

I wish that I can get electricity soon. I won’t lie. I have battled with the desperation and helplessness of not being able to do anything about that situation. I know now that this experience made me appreciate what having a generator and having electricity means. I hope that I don’t forget to be grateful and humble for the privilege that I have.

What I learned from playing the card game of war.

Finding entertainment in a Puerto Rico post-Maria is a challenge. I found a deck of cards at my house and I started playing card games. Solitaire, black jack, and war… by myself. In playing War, I have learned several things:

  1. I don’t know what your resources are until I have gone through all of the cards on my deck.
  2. I have to win the game with what I got.
  3. Rigging the game doesn’t guarantee victory.
  4. Things can change in an instant. Keep being persistent
  5. It’s hard to be unbiased and not choose sides.

Intj’s ideal church ministry.

When I was younger, I would act on plays and do other public things. Yet I always felt a great level of discomfort when I was acting or singing in the altar. I realize now that even though the experiences were pivotal for my growth and sense of belonging to a group, what I was involved in wasn’t the areas where I was excellent at. 
Now that I’m older, have a graduate degree, and work experience, I have a better understanding of what things I want to be a part of in the church. I realized that I really like writing proposals for church initiatives. I believe that this is an area where I can put to use all I have learned and I can take advantage of the strengths of being an intj.

Ways INTJs reflect trust in someone.

  1. Giving them access to my most priced information. This is the one way that I can measure not only whether I trust the person, but how much do I trust them. Depending on what I share is how much I trust them. If I not only share what is going on but also how I feel about it, that means that there is ultimate trust in being vulnerable with you.
  2. Being okay with their physical contact. I as an INTJ don’t like physical contact… from the people I don’t trust. Even if I have interacted with them for more than a decade, the reality is that if I don’t trust them and/or I see them as a negative and annoying person I wouldn’t want them near me. People like my biological and adoptive father, for example, are people that I see as positive and trustworthy with my getting near them. They can get close and not feel repulsed by it. I can get close and trust that they know how… not to respond. I am still trying to train them to respond in an acceptable way.
  3. Willing to give them my time. Time is my most priced commodity. I like spending a lot of time by myself… away from annoying people. I need time to recharge and to live and be my full self. If I give someone my time or find myself willing to give someone my time, it means to me that I trust them to react the way I see fit and value what I am giving.
  4. Asking for their feedback. I always feel that I am better at figuring out what is the best for myself. My mother and my sister would impose what was best for me with no regard of my preferences and who I am as a person. This made me learn to trust no one. I have learned with time that feedback is important and it is most valuable if it’s in the context of trust. So if I ask for feedback, then it means that I think that the feedback is trustworthy because I think that the person is competent, has a pretty good understanding of who I am, and isn’t judgmental of who I am and what I stand for.
  5. I give them my most honest thoughts. Let’s be real. Most people don’t believe what I believe. I have had a history of having my thoughts being rejected by the people who were supposed to nurture me to become the best version of myself, so I learned to keep my most honest thoughts to myself. I know that I trust someone if I am willing to take the risk of sharing what I think. I don’t expect others to agree with me, even though it is a good feeling. I do expect to be treated with respect. The more I see that the other person does this on a consistent basis, the more I am willing to take the risk.