Thanksgiving…

First of all, I want to give a shout out to Starbucks for being open for these holidays (In PR almost everybody closes for special holidays).

For the last 8 Thanksgivings I have had to face the reality that I don’t have family that I can rely on. No extended family. My nuclear family is unstable during festivities. I also don’t count on the friends that I don’t really have to take me in as their own. So I never have any plans for thanksgiving. I just hope for the best.

Having that said, I try to take time to think about what I can/should thank God for. One thing that I do notice is that the things end up being selfish things. I’d be lying if I say that I don’t take things for granted. I don’t think about being thankful for things that are outside of my daily life. I’m not going to say that it is 100% wrong. It is part of human nature to have a limiting perspective. Yet sometimes, it is good to think about things outside of yourself and how that affects your daily life. I don’t think that it needs to be on Thanksgiving Day, but I understand that Thanksgiving Day serves as a sort of subconscious alarm to be thankful. Hey, one day is better than not taking any day to meditate and thank God for things and people and processes and results.

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What happens when an INTJ gets visibly pissed off.

Usually the rest of the world doesn’t get to see an INTJ pissed off. We INTJs pride ourselves in being these stoic cyborgs. Well… at least that is the illusion we want to keep. Sometimes, though, God decides to show His sense of humor and have something happen in our environment that makes us feel these weird thing called emotions.

When I as an INTJ get so pissed off that I can’t hide it anymore, I get aggressive. I never get into any physical altercation because I still have restraint, but my words get aggressive. I turn into a pissed off insult comic.

I as an INTJ already have a dark and cruel sense of humor. When I get pissed off, I tend to make a lot of Lewis Black type comedy sketches.

The biggest thing with my getting visibly pissed off is that there are two waves or phases of the emotion: the aggressive stage and the “crying because the anger emotion gets overwhelming” stage. I as an INTJ prefer to get physically aggressive than to break down like that and every time that it happens I get pissed off that God’s sense of humor made Him program me to have this type of response.

When an INTJ gets visibly pissed off no one really wants to handle it. Other people tend to tell me as an INTJ to calm down when I get angry. Externally I go from being okay to being mad pissed. Internally is where the brewing of anger happens. INTJ anger is like a non-ticking time bomb. Once you activate it, the countdown starts but you never know when the INTJ bomb will explode… and if you will ever see it.

If you get the INTJ visibly pissed off, deal with it! Don’t make the INTJ feel bad for having this strange thing you the rest of the world calls emotions. We already have a lot of negative thoughts when having an emotional outburst to have to also deal with your crappy thoughts.

Sometimes, the best way to deal with an INTJ when they show you they are pissed off is to just acknowledge the outburst and wait it out. INTJs, as much as we hate to admit it, are humans and are just as susceptible to emotional outbursts as the rest of humanity. Please treat us with mercy and without judgement. Please laugh when we turn our angry energy into an opportunity to make jokes because making jokes is better than giving the fullness of our raw emotion. Please help us stay within the God-approved anger expression boundaries and hold us accountable when we fall astray. Don’t ever tell us that the emotion is not okay. Understand that if we show you the fullness of our emotion, it means that we trust you enough to show the messiest side of our lives.

How does an INTJ show that you matter?

As an INTJ, I pride myself in not showing emotions… uncontrollably, I mean. We try to keep our emotions in check because we don’t want to express things without us understanding it first. Yet there are some things that the rest of humanity can look out for that show that we INTJs truly care about you.

  1. We make time for you. If you see that we INTJs are trying to plan to hang out, you can bet that we consider you important enough to plan moments to dedicate to you.
  2. We are present. If we make a concerted effort to not look at our phones (most of the time), you can be pretty sure that we care about you to make the time we give quality time.
  3. We make effort to quiet our inner world to focus on listening to you.
  4. We offer to help you with things that you need to get done.
  5. We feel… something… when you are going through a hard time.
  6. We visit you at the hospital when you are sick or rehabbing from injury.
  7. We listen to you when you let your feelings out.
  8. We explain our thought process to you.
  9. We share what we feel about something that is going on in our life.
  10. We try to keep a check and balances of the relationship to ensure that the relationship is balanced. (Never works in real life. We have to try, though.)
  11. We try to understand what the parameters of the relationship is and what are the expectations to be able to fulfill them as best we can.
  12. We seek intimacy and for the relationship to evolve at its due time.
  13. We enjoy your company.
  14. We are not grossed out when you get closer to our personal space.
  15. We respect you.
  16. We try to understand what makes you tick so that the relationship can work better.
  17. We ask questions to see what you think about a variety of topics.
  18. We share funny things that we found on the internet.
  19. We accommodate for your preferences.
  20. We say it… with a lot of resistance from our minds and bodies because we are not used to it.

INTJ rules for physical contact.

  1. Don’t put your hands on me… unless you earn it.
  2. If you dare put your hands on me, expect resistance or aggression.
  3. If you put your hands on me and then notice that I am avoiding you, you just earned being a representative of something negative that I don’t want to get myself exposed to you.
  4. If you are lucky to earn the privilege of me accepting physical contact from you, it doesn’t give you any permission to abuse it. Doing that will get you to square negative 1.
  5. If you earn the privilege of me accepting physical contact from you and I start allowing myself to engage in physical contact with you, don’t be shocked it if it awkward at first. I am not touchy feely. I have had a lifetime of withholding myself from engaging in physical contact because I don’t trust.
  6. Don’t screw up. Things with me are earned and have to be maintained, no matter how far we have come screw ups will have consequences and you will not like it.
  7. If you find that I progressively show signs of looking forward to engaging in physical contact with you, you have earned the highest privilege.

Birthday.

Today I turned 28. Birthdays are a bit bittersweet. I become officially a year older, and that is good. I have outlived the previous year. What is bitter isn’t becoming a year older. What is bitter is the realization of the fact that because I am not known enough most people don’t know that this day is my birthday. Because of the nature of my friendships, not even them know that today is my birthday.

So… no happy birthday… no cake… no celebration. Yeah, your family can do all these things… but with family to an extent doesn’t count. When friends do these things, there is a sense of feeling known and loved that no family does.

Facebook makes it easier because they get a notification on the day off. There is only one problem: I have few Facebook friends. There are some that message, most don’t.

Do I deserve it because I don’t tend to be good with these superficial things? Maybe. Do I still feel a little bit hurt that the people close to me don’t remember? Yeah. Do I think that this will matter after my life is done? No.

When a relationship doesn’t work anymore.

As an INTJ that sucks at understanding relationships intuitively, I have to take time (years even) to think things through to understand them. This week I finally figured (for now) what makes a relationship doesn’t work anymore. I have found that there are two things:

  1. The relationship got toxic beyond tolerance.
  2. The parameters of the relationship is no longer compatible with the people in it.

When a relationship gets toxic what is needed is to end the relationship. It’s not always as easy as the words imply. Not everything can be cut off because of outside circumstance, but it is important to keep the exposure to a minimum.

It is harder to detect when a relationship no longer works because the parameters don’t work. When I was younger and I sensed that the relationship wasn’t working because of this my first instinct was that the relationship ended never to be formed again. That wasn’t wise.

It also wasn’t compatible with what I was seeing. It never dawned on me that relationships can evolve over time and that this was okay. It also didn’t help that I never really had long term relationships. Everyone was temporary. God was the only constant.

When I took a hard look at relationships that lasted for more than 15 years, I realized that as I became an adult all of those relationships evolved because the parameters didn’t work anymore.

When I was 20 I left my parents house because of conflict that I didn’t want to be a part of. Soon after, I had this idea in my mind that I had lost my parents even though they were both alive. As time went on and saw that my relationship with my father still existed, that feeling calmed down. In fact, my relationship with my father got better. My relationship with my mother never evolved and it was pretty toxic so I had to end it.

Even the relationship with God changed. When I was 22, I had a “Courageous” movie type experience when God told me that I had become an adult (not those words, but this message). That meant that my relationship to Him had to change. It’s been one of increased expectation but also one of increased closeness.

When I look at all of the relationships at my local church that have lasted 15 plus years, the same pattern emerges. When I think of the differences, I am happy that each relationship evolved to the point where they are relationships between peers and there is no visible verticality.

Relationships need to have a good foundation of respect, acceptance, and value. They also need to evolve. Otherwise, a good relationship can become toxic. That one of the two parties find that a relationship isn’t working ain’t always bad. It is an opportunity to evolve. It is an opportunity to improve on a relationship. It is a part of life that we shouldn’t be scared of because every good relationship evolves because the parameters don’t work anymore.

 

Work in progress in Christ

As a Christian I am a work in progress. I don’t think that I will stop being a work in progress until eternity… probably. I am not where I want to be in life. I always find that whenever I feel that I am getting somewhere significant and have success in every aspect of life, something always happens that shows me that I am a work in progress. There is room for improvement… always.

Recognizing that I am a work in progress is a part of walking into a humble life. As a work in progress, I am not always aware of my status. Yet when I realize that there is room for improvement, that there are still areas of my life where the Holy Spirit needs to work, I understand that I need to pray for progress to be made at both the conscious and subconscious level.

I need to be honest as a work in progress. I know that there are areas of my life that the Holy Spirit needs to work at yet I am not ready to consciously change. Because I know from my education and my experience with spiritual behavior change that part of the behavior change is getting the predisposition to engage in the behavior that God wants of me.

As a work in progress, I am not always ready to admit the reality of my human condition. I have to pay attention to my internal conversation and be sensitive to when the conversation goes into a place where I am not prepared to go. I always recognize my resistance, yet I know and understand that I need to signal myself and pray to God that I get to a mental space where I can admit that about my human condition that I need to admit to then work on.

As a work in progress, I can never be satisfied with my current condition. Whenever I do, I become stagnant. Whenever I do, there is risk to fall away. Whenever I stop progressing, I hold back the fullness of my walk with God.

As a work in progress, I know that I will make mistakes. I can’t avoid it. It’s part of being human. As important as not making mistakes is, it is more important how I react to what happens and its results in my life. I am by no means an expert to walking in God as a work in progress. I am still learning how to do so.

Being a work in progress is not easy. That’s one of the reasons God gives us the Holy Spirit. It’s a loving guidance and behavior change coach that knows how to plan for short and long term progress. Our job as humans is to humbly recognize our condition and letting Him work freely. I don’t regret it. I am a better human because of it.

How INTJs process having a prophetic word start getting fulfilled.

As an INTJ, I tend to use logic and intuition to process everything… and like my friend says: everything is everything (it sounds catchier in Spanish). In the Puerto Rico evangelical church culture, which comes from the US evangelical church culture because of our history, emotion and sensory experiences are the norm. Anything logical and abstract is looked down upon as worldly.

I as a Christian INTJ need to think things through to understand them. My Christian walk is no exception. When I have decided to live a reactive life towards something, God is the first one to reprimand me. He doesn’t want me to live a reactive life because it is in thinking things through is the way that God teaches me the biggest lessons that I have learned in life. I also make a lot of mistakes when I stick to just reacting to life.

When I have received words of knowledge/prophetic words in my earlier years as a Christian, it usually goes to my prophetic memory. I also tend to think that prophetic words are not for right now, like a 9th grader thinks about graduating high school. In recent years, I am getting the understanding that the word is not for later and that its fulfillment is close.

About a year and a half ago I was at a 12 hour fast retreat at my church that was done for the young adults of my church. I went there because I was asked to be the musician. I knew that the activity was catering to a group of 18-28 year olds who were more mystical in their brand of Christianity. I knew that I was going to feel too normal for the crowd and that the one who coordinated the whole thing was going to take the mystical side if any friction happened there. I had the expectation that the activity was going to be torture for me and that I wasn’t going to get anything out of it.

During the activity, 3 people preached to us. One in the morning, one mid-day, and one in the afternoon. All had the mystical brand of Christianity. After each sermon there was a ministry session. All three prayed for me at some point, but I only remember what 2 of them stated. I won’t go into many of the details of how I got prayed for, but I will say that the first preacher wasn’t around when the third preacher prayed for me and vice versa.

The first preacher stated, among other things: I gave you intelligence; not to be quiet but to speak and share what I gave you to the church/world. As soon as he ended this statement, my internal reaction was: you only said intelligence and didn’t include wisdom. I wanted God to include wisdom in the statement.

The third preacher stated, among other things: I gave you intelligence and wisdom; not to be quiet, but to speak and share what I gave you to the church/world. My first take away was that God listened to the desire of my heart and included wisdom.

None of these preachers know me intimately, so they don’t have as much context to state this. I knew that it wasn’t a coincidence that I was getting the same Word in 2 occasions by 2 people that weren’t around when the other made the statement.

Before the word was given, I knew in my mind I knew that I had to step out of the musician’s area and speak what I had to the church. I felt that preaching was in my future and I had enough content prepared to do so. Yet my standing with church leadership was such that I wasn’t in their radar of potential preachers. Part of it was my fault because of the reputation that I built for myself, part of it was that no one really wanted to work with me because they didn’t understand me. That’s one of the disadvantages of being an INTJ, I guess. There was a difference between what was in my mind of what I was called to do and where other people thought that I should be. What I realized with this word was that God showing that His thoughts were aligned with my thoughts about my future and the sermons that I was preparing.

That was end of 2015, start of 2016. Fast forward to 2018. In February I was called to be part of the Youth Group Committee in my church (the Committee isn’t something that God approves per say, but what it means is that I am publicly one step closer to having full Youth Group leadership). I have also been taken off of the preaching blacklist: I have given one sermon in the first Youth Group service of the year and one Bible study. Both have been given rave reviews by the church.

A week after the Bible study, a deacon with whom I don’t have relationship with stated, among other things: “I liked your Bible study. God has given you intelligence and wisdom. Keep it up.” I immediately recognize the wording in the phrase. My internal reaction was to not show anything regarding this realization.

After the service, another member in the church who I keep my distance because she is touchy feely and has no respect for personal space stated, among other things: “When I was hearing your Bible study I was going along for the ride seeing how I was sowing and reaping in my evangelism activity. God has given you intelligence and wisdom. Keep it up.” I immediately recognize what was going on… and had to tell myself to not react physically at that moment.

I as an INTJ have had the mentality that God can and will speak to me at any moment. He is also someone who will use any means to state things: His Word, a YouTube video, a blog, a sermon… anything. He also will spare no expense in letting me know the culture of His heart. I have learned to always be sensitive to Gods comments. So when I heard the comments, I knew what God was trying to tell me.

Two different people who weren’t around when the other spoke stated the same thing in their manner but using the same wording that God used when the 2 preachers gave their words. I knew what God was doing. He was letting me know: this Bible study is what the fulfillment of the word that I gave you in that retreat looks like… and this is only the beginning for you. It wasn’t a coincidence what happened: A prophetic word was given by two people, and the start of the fulfillment of this word was confirmed by 2 people. None knows about this. None know that they had a role to play in how God operated.

INTJ and useless information

Useless information is in the eye of the beholder. Information becomes useless not because the information itself is useless but because the consumer of information makes no attempt to incorporate the information in some aspect of his life.

I believe that all information can be useful at some point, so my take on learning is that no topic is off limits. I believe that what I learn can be just entertainment now but can be useful in the future. When I as an INTJ learn something I understand the risk of not being able to use the information in daily life. But I rather see the uncertainty as a glass half full instead of a glass half empty.

I as an INTJ don’t see information that has already entered my brain as completely useless, even though I seem to have no use for it. Yet I do judge a piece of information at first glance to determine whether it will be worth my time and energy. Information is determined to be useless before it enters my brain.

Illusions that INTJs want to keep

These are only reflective of my experience. They are in no particular order and they might be repetitive.

  1. That there is such a thing as exclusivity in relationships.
  2. That I am not a statistic.
  3. That I am immune to emotions.
  4. That rehearsing conversations really prepares me for real life situations.
  5. That having conversations that happened in real life in my head can change the reality of what happened or can make me feel better about my failures.
  6. That my sub conscious thought that most people are less smart than me won’t get me into trouble.
  7. That I don’t get really anxious around conflict.
  8. That my thoughts about myself and my success in life are based a solid sense of identity and not on my circumstance.
  9. That I know what I want for my life on Earth.
  10. That I can be in tough situations without being affected.
  11. That I feel more connected I feel to people in real life than how connected to people that I see on YouTube or TV.
  12. That I don’t deal with more insecurities about my abilities than I want to let on.
  13. That I am pretty normal.