Personality Tests: The Good, The Bad, and the Flaw

I was asked recently to take a personality test. I was so excited.

I’m kidding.

I was not excited…

…for two reasons. One, I’ve taken those tests and they are often spot on, and two, I have taken those tests, and sometimes they are wrong, way wrong.

I won’t advertise the name of the particular test I took, but it is one that allows you to order characteristics in several small groupings as really like you or really not like you. From that, the test spits out who you are. If you are honest with yourself and with the test, you are supposed to get a fairly accurate picture of your personality type and how you come across to other people.

There I was, laid out in black and white; all my secrets there on the page. I took the test in about ten minutes, and in less than an hour, I had a twenty four page printed assessment of my personality.  Well, at least the secrets as to why I am the way I am, and how people can expect me to react in most any situation. As I sat down to read about myself, I couldn’t help laughing. There was a lot of accurate information in the pages I was reading. FullSizeRender

According to the report, I create enthusiasm in others, and I place my focus on people. I want to be liked by everyone, and I try to influence people through personal relationships. All true. I consistently try to inspire people to my point of view, and when I have strong feelings about a particular problem, folks can expect to hear my feelings and those feelings will be expressed in an emotional manner. And most of the time, I don’t understand why people don’t see life the way I do. Again, all true.

Also true is that I see my ability to talk smoothly, readily, and at length as an asset. Haha. It didn’t say that others see it that way!

Eventually, the report got to my problem areas. The report says that that when I am under pressure I am perceived as being self-promoting, overly optimistic, glib, and unrealistic. In extreme situations I am overly confident, a poor listener, talkative, and again with the self-promoter.

That self-promoter thing kind of bothers me. I’ve taken this test and others many times, and this is not the first time I’ve read that about myself. I’m going to have think on that one again because as a follower of Christ, it is Jesus that I want to promote. Not me. Or at least that’s what I should want.

But that brings me to the assessment of my results, both positive and not so positive. The test in no way takes into account my love for Jesus and how that love affects my actions. It doesn’t take into account that my love of people has to do with the fact that Jesus loves people. My desire to influence people is motivated out of a love for God and because He chooses to be in relationship with us, I choose to sway people through relationships, too.

As a follower of Christ, I hope to inspire people to my way of thinking about life and how we are to live it. If I appear to be overly optimistic, it’s because I believe in a God that is bigger than my circumstances. If I am glib or unrealistic, it’s because I have seen God do things that make no sense in the natural world. If I am overly confident, it is because I am sure of what I believe to be true not because I said it is true, but because God said it is true.

The test was fairly accurate, but it left out the most important parts of what motivates me to be who I am. How can it when in no way was a relationship with the living God factored in?

Here is the truth about who I am and about who you are, too. As followers of Christ, our identity is found in Him. We are who He says we are. Period. These personality tests are fun and can be somewhat helpful, but when you cannot factor in the biggest motivation for a person’s identity, any test falls short of telling the entire story. Who am I? I am a daughter of the Most High King, and that’s all that really matters about who I am and why.

So what do you think?

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