I recently took a trip to Virginia for an intensive (it’s a class you take online for 16 weeks and in person for one week). This particular class is on spiritual formation, and I’ve been loving every minute of it! While I was there, we all took the Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as well as the DiSC Assessment to become more familiar with our personalities and relational styles. I walked away from that intensive with a better understanding of myself and a plan to make myself a more relational person and a better counselor.
I highly suggest these types of test. They have helped me with personal introspection and understanding areas of my life that need to change. However, I understand why many Christians are uncomfortable with personality tests and before I tell you why you should take them, I want to explain why many Christians don’t like them.
Why Christians Shy Away From Personality Tests
In my experience there are several reasons why Christians avoid taking personality tests:
- It’s a label – Christians have a huge fear of labels (even though, ironically, “Christian” is a label), and for good reason. Labels put people in boxes and make assumptions about their character, desires, and personalities. The truth is, no personality test could truly define exactly who you are, but they can help you understand yourself better.
- It’s an excuse – Personality types can be used as an excuse for bad behavior. You may have heard someone apologize by saying “sorry, it’s just my personality”. This kind of attitude models a belief that the individual is in the right, even if he or she is in the wrong. Their personality becomes an excuse for misbehavior.
- It’s self-centered and self-focused – Many Christians feel that personality tests are all about the person who is taking them. Unfortunately, although these tests were designed to help people understand other people, the increased access to this kind of testing has made learning about personality type a very selfish endeavor. However, being self-centered is a choice, and we should choose to focus on others in every situation. There is still merit in taking these tests.
Why I Think You Should Take Them
- They help you understand yourself – Is there something in your life that bothers you and you don’t understand why? Are there reactions you have that you don’t understand? Do you feel like people don’t understand you? Take a personality test. There is no such thing as the “right” personality type, but with different types of personalities there are ways of thriving. Understanding your personality can help you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you can become a better communicator and listener.
- They help you understand others – If all you do is take a test to find out your personality without studying how it differs from or interacts with others you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Knowing how we interact with others and how others are different from us is the pinnacle of taking these tests.
- They show you what you need to work on – We always have areas of our lives that need improvement. Personality tests can give you insight into what areas of your life need addressed.
Which Personality Tests Should You Take?
I currently only have experience with the MBTI and DISC tests. You can find both of these online, however, some websites are not good resources for determining your personality type. You can also find plenty of books on these topics. I recommend the following:
www.myersbriggs.org – This is the official Myers & Briggs Foundation website. This link will take you to the assessment page, where there are several options for taking the MBTI. This is a paid version of the MBTI, but it will likely give you the most accurate results.
www.16personalities.com – This website is well-organized and easy to navigate. The test doesn’t take long, and doesn’t cost anything to take. This test includes one additional MBTI letter based on their own testing and research. I have found it helpful although it has not been endorsed by the official Myers & Briggs Foundation.
www.humanmetrics.com – This is another free MBTI test. I have taken this test before and found it to be fairly accurate. I would suggest taking this test along with the 16personalities test and compare your results.
www.uniquelyyou.com – This is the official site for taking the DiSC Profile. You will have to pay to take this assessment, but it will be more reliable than free assessments.
www.discpersonalitytesting.com – This website offers a short, free DiSC Assessment (follow the link and then look on the bottom right). Make sure you click around to learn more about the DiSC Assessment so you understand the results.
Introduction to Myers-Briggs Type by Isabel Briggs Myers – This is a short booklet that gives you all of the information you need to know about MBTI types.
How to Solve the People Puzzle: Understanding Personality Patterns by Mels Carbonell – Dr. Carbonell is one of the major contributors to the DiSC Assessment. He is a Christian who specializes in human relationships.
NOTE: I am NOT a certified MBTI instructor or DiSC instructor and cannot administer these tests. However, if you have questions about the tests or their purposes, I would be happy to answer them if I can. You can message me privately here or leave a comment below.
With Love Always,