By now, you have likely taken at least one personality test in your life. Maybe you were overjoyed to discover what Disney Princess you are according to Buzzfeed. Maybe you took the DISC test for work purposes.
One thing's for sure, personality tests are a big paradox.
As humans, we dislike being labeled and put into a box. At the same time, we all want desperately to belong to a group, to fit in, and to understand why we are the way we are.
We also love to talk about ourselves.
We might already know we are boisterous or shy or easy-going or uptight. Based on our gene pool and childhood environment, we might have an idea where our characteristics came from. But many of us continually seek further introspection.
Personality Test Disclaimer
I don't use personality tests to tell me who I am. On the contrary, these tests serve to confirm my behavioral traits. Seeing my personality snapshot laid out before me is impactful.
Plus, it feels good to have a type to relate to. Personality tests give us a sense of belonging and feeling seen.
On another note, we are all so different. Personality tests can show us both how we relate and differentiate from other personality types.
Once we realize someone is inherently a complete contrast to us, we can also give them grace knowing they can't really help how they function and view the world. Just as some people are naturally better at math and logic while others process life through their senses and emotions.
But we cannot truly be comprehended or described by a few personality tests created by other flawed mortals. We are far more complex than that and it would be a slap in our Creator's face if we pretended it was that easy.
First and foremost, I believe our truest identity is found in Christ. If your soul is His, your quirks and strengths and personality traits are all governed by His spirit. No matter what, He sees our most real self and His word reveals what we should strive to emulate despite ourselves.
But here’s the kicker: Until time is over, we still have to live on this land mass and attempt to get along with ourselves and others in this realm.
How to Apply Personality Tests to a Christian Life
Technically, God created the sciences. He designed our beautifully complicated brains and knew very well humans would study them. He only creates things intended for good. Unfortunately, mankind is responsible for twisting and perverting them.
Think about the internet, TV, cell phones, automobiles, pain relievers, natural remedies, weapons, electricity, and even money. You can likely name both pros and cons for their existence.
Everything has its place. These inventions are seemingly inconsequential as inanimate objects, but if placed in ignorant, immature, or ill-intended hands, they cause damaging effects. Then again, if they are used wisely, they can bring positive, convenient outcomes.
Our Creator gave us these tools, or at least the tools for us to construct these creations.
Likewise, if we use personality tests as tools, there is wisdom to gain.
Recognizing your personality traits and tendencies could help you see where you are stunted in your professional or personal growth.
Understanding your own behaviors causes self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Despite what people might think, this goes hand-in-hand with Jesus’ teachings. If we recognize our attributes, both good and bad, our prayer time becomes more authentic (follow this link for November’s prayer prompt challenge).
Knowing our weak areas and our God-given talents is a sure way to become stronger Christians. This insight creates a desire to then look outside ourselves to understand and empathize with others in our lives.
Once we’ve unlocked that door to vulnerability, building relationships and having an honest connection with Christ is tremendously easier.
Thus, here are the best personality tests out there that can be utilized and applied to a Christian lifestyle.
1. The 5 Love Languages
Based on the book by Christian author Gary Chapman, the 5 Love Languages claims there are five main ways to give and receive love. While either love language might temporarily satisfy us at any given time, only one of the love languages will truly fulfill us at our core.
Chapman believes we are practically born with this dominant love language, as it can be evident as early as two years old.
These 5 Love Languages are (in no specific order):
· Physical Touch
· Acts of Service
· Giving and Receiving Gifts
· Quality Time
· Words of Affirmation
Even before I met my husband, I loved this personality test. The way we express and accept love is integrated in our every human connection, not just romantic ones.
Over the years, I’ve attempted to tailor my outward love language based on the love needs of my friends, family members, and even coworkers.
For instance, if a friend likes gifts, I do my best to speak their love language instead of trying to force them to accept mine.
Knowing another person’s love language makes celebrations like birthdays and weddings so much easier. Speaking of, if you’re currently shopping for a gift-loving, newly-engaged friend, check out this blog for the most unique wedding gifts.
I highly recommend reading the book and taking the full test for a complete understanding.
You might have an idea what your love language is before you begin. But reading through all five will give you insight to empathize with those you know who speak each love language.
2. The Four Temperaments
I had to take The Four Temperaments for a college elective course. Actually, it was probably the first real personality test I ever took (Buzzfeed quizzes don’t count).
Greek physician Hippocrates theorized that four types of bodily fluid represent human behaviors. These four humors, or temperaments, are Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Melancholic. I won’t give away what each one means, but you might be able to guess based on the names.
I like this test because it’s easy. All you have to do is choose all the character traits you believe you obtain, and at the end the scores tally up certain traits into four categories.
While the category with the highest number is your dominating temperament, it is common to still rate high in other categories to make up your unique blend. We are beings of variety, after all.
Really, it is a healthy practice to recognize both the negative and positive aspects of our personalities. The Four Temperaments can show us where we might need to find balance or improve ourselves.
As with any personality test, be as honest with yourself as possible. Select the traits that actually apply to you most of the time, not just the traits your ego wants you to display. To be sure, I always take the test a second time to expose any variance.
If you really aren’t sure, ask someone who knows you well and won’t be afraid to give you an honest answer!
One last tip: Don’t read about each of the four temperaments and what they mean beforehand. You want to go into it unbiased.
3. Meyers-Briggs (MBTI) AKA 16 Personalities
Some people claim your MBTI changes depending on life's seasons. But if it does, it isn’t drastic. You might be more of a “P” as a teenager if you live a carefree life, for instance, but time and maturity will tell if you are truly a “J” or not.
Every time I’ve taken it over the last 15 years, I get the same result. And trust me, I’ve gone through many ups and downs and milestones during that period. Like any personality test, it largely depends how honest you are and how intuitively intelligent you are about yourself.
Based originally on psychologist Carl Jung’s theories, the Meyers-Briggs test studies the four dichotomies to explain unique personality blends.
There are 8 letters and thus 16 possible combinations.
First, the test determines if you are an I (Introvert) or E (Extrovert), then you are either S (Sensing) or N (Intuitive), you can be a T (Thinking) or F (Feeling), and lastly a P (Perceiving) or J (Judging).
These descriptions aren’t used in the literal sense, though. If you score a J for your fourth letter it doesn’t literally mean you’re judgmental, only that you are decisive and prone to action.
Each letter combination is then given a name. For example, The Defender (ISFJ) is known for a warm and protective personality. Many comic book heroes and frontline workers would probably be typed as this MBTI type.
In fact, many employers include the MBTI test in their job applications and interviews to see if your personality type is a good fit for their organization. Knowing your Meyers-Briggs type can help you express your strengths in such cases!
Recently, there’s been dissension regarding this specific personality test, especially among Christians. Some statements about how the Enneagram was inspired is circling around, claiming the creator was conducting a séance when it all came to him. However, if you read the overview, it’s clear inspiration was taken from many religions (including Judaism) as well as ancient traditional wisdom and psychology.
As I said before, science is useful to us as humans, but as Christians, it isn’t an absolute.
No one personality test is going to define you completely. The Enneagram, or any other personality test, in and of itself isn’t inherently evil. What you do with it and whether you allow it to become an obsession is the differentiating factor.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk Enneagram types!
I look at the Enneagram as a simplified version of the MBTI. However, this article explains the slight differences between the two.
Essentially, there are 9 different types. Number 1 is The Reformer, 2 is The Helper, 3 The Achiever, 4 The Individualist, 5 The Investigator, 6 The Loyalist, 7 The Enthusiast, 8 The Challenger, and 9 is the Peacemaker.
Every person is one type at their core, but lean toward either number adjacent to theirs to determine their “wing” like an emphasis.
Again, as the Enneagram system explains, we might find relatability within all 9 types, but only one should dominate as your main personality. Like the Love Languages, Enneagram theorists believe we are all born as one type, but other life factors may contribute to our wing and how high or low we might rate for the other types.
A few things to remember when taking the Enneagram test:
· The numbers are used to identify the types to “provide an unbiased, shorthand way of indicating a lot about a person without being pejorative.”
· Numerical ranking (i.e., 1-9) is not significant. No number is greater or less than another, just as no one type is better than another. Each personality comes with its flaws and strengths.
· Not all aspects of a type will directly correlate to you 100% of the time because life happens and “because you fluctuate constantly among the healthy, average, and unhealthy traits that make up your personality type.”
· Types aren’t cookie cutters. If two people share the same type they may still greatly differ while sharing similar traits, as such traits can be presented and expressed in different forms.
Take the Enneagram test here for free. Really, it is uncanny how much you will relate (both in good and bad ways) when your type is calculated.
If nothing else, it’s important to recognize how your type can become unhealthy based on your strengths and weaknesses.
I came across this one more recently and enjoyed it for how straightforward it is. Like MBTI, the 12 Archetypes is also based on Carl Jung’s studies.
Each one is broken down into four main categories. The first 3 want to leave their mark, the second 3 want to bring structure to the world, the third set hope to connect with others, and the fourth want autonomy and freedom.
Although there are 12 different Archetypes, each representing the range of basic motives, this quiz is quite short in comparison to the others.
One thing to remember when selecting your three options from all 5 questions is to first choose your most important option, as this is tallied into percentages for your top 3 Archetypes.
I liked this specific version of the Archetypes quiz because it is free, it offers more modern terminology to Jung’s original 12 types, and it provides reading material and ways to connect with others who share your top 3 types.
My Personality Type
After you know a person’s type, it is easier to understand them. Just as anyone who might know a bit about personality types could have guessed mine as soon as they read my “About Me” blog last week!
Per the MBTI test, I am an ENFJ (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging), which is also named the Giver or the Protagonist. But the latter sounds egotistical, so I prefer the former.
Due to their compassionate nature, ENFJ Givers are often typed as Enneagram 2, the Helper, which I own completely. My wing is a 3, the Achiever, as I do tend to take on more than I have time for and love a good challenge.
Basically, I want to do all the things, especially if it benefits someone else!
As you can guess, these common MBTI and Enneagram traits come with a downside. Being a people-pleaser can lead me to burnout or even make me dependent on others' approval. If I spiral into a truly unhealthy state, I might even start to feel unappreciated and bitter for the supposed lack of reciprocation from others.
I may not have recognized these pitfalls if I hadn't taken these personality tests. We are less likely to admit our own weaknesses. We would rather talk about our positive characteristics, but even positive ones can get us into trouble.
Since I am an extrovert and love to help, my love language is predominantly Quality Time, although Acts of Service is the runner-up.
Whether it is a deep conversation, a road trip, a game night, meeting new people during travels, trying a fresh experience with my husband, or hosting a party, I feel most fulfilled when I can spend time with people and build connections.
Likewise, my top 3 Archetypes are the Caregiver, the Explorer (you all know I got that travel itch real bad), and the Spiritualist.
As far as the Four Temperaments, I rate the lowest as Phlegmatic. I’m too much of a doer and detail-oriented, but I am also cautious by nature. Hence, Melancholic is my highest rank.
You may notice I didn’t reference the Zodiac. This was on purpose, not because I don’t believe there is some validity to it, but because astrology takes it way too far with horoscopes, et cetera. That’s my opinion, anyway.
Yes, God created the heavens first, including the constellations. These are even referenced in the book of Job.
As believers we know He does all things perfectly and with distinct purpose. But, like all the other personality tests, we aren’t to rely on them to determine our actions and use them as excuses for “the way we are.”
We should never feel limited or debilitated by our inherent personality types. They aren’t intended to define us, direct our future, or give us an excuse to remain stagnant.
Instead, these tests are tools to find room for personal improvement. The best personality tests don’t just pat our ego, they reveal our complexes and misconceptions.
Above all, we should seek balance and Christ’s mindset in all we say and do.
Once you get your own quiz results back, you will likely identify a common thread stringing each type together. I hope this self-examination practice gives you enlightenment and insight!
Remember, even if you relate to others in one personality type or another, you are still unique. God has a special purpose in mind for you alone.