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Myers Briggs, myself, and Ruth

The other day, I was sitting at lunch with some friends when one person asked me if I knew my Myers-Briggs personality type.  My response?  No.  So obviously (for my friend, at least) I had to take an online test Right. Now. to find out.  Instead of pointing out that his insistence upon immediate results was silly, I went along with the plan to find out my personality type according to Myers-Briggs.

My answers sizzled around inside of the internet for a few milliseconds and then ding!  The results page loaded, letting me know comfortably that I am an ENFP (Extroverted  iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving). PersonalityPage.com provides a fairly decent summary of an ENFP (despite the systematic misspelling of “Extrovert”) if you are more interested in the details of my personality type.

The long and short of it is that I am a warm and enthusiastic person with a highly evolved set of values who is able to excel unusually at a broad range of skills and talents, but requires time alone to ensure that I am living a life that is in alignment with my values.  I’m pretty sure I could have diagnosed myself as such, but here’s the kicker:  ENFP’s are prone to muscle tension because of the intense amount of observing that they do.

Muscle tension!  What?

Anyways, yes, that also makes sense in my life.  I constantly have a sore neck and am frequently in want of massaging and relaxing.  In case you were wondering…

So I’ve been mulling this personality type thingy over for a couple of days, and I can’t help but wondering–was Ruth also an ENFP?

I’m going to take the following characteristics of ENFP’s and try to find places in the Book of Ruth where the character of Ruth exhibits these qualities:  Warm/Enthusiastic, Bright/Full of Potential, Lives in a World of Possibilities, Passionate/Excited, Strong Values, True to Self, Broad Range of Skills, Alert, Sensitive, Observer of Environment, Risk-Taking, and People-Oriented.  This will span over several posts, so stick with me and I’ll try to tackle two or three traits per post.  For today, I will leave you with one easy to see trait of Ruth.

ENFP’s are people-oriented.  Known as inspirers, they are well-liked and tend to bring out the best in others.  They are genuinely interested in people and place high importance on inter-personal relationships.  We can see this clearly in Ruth from the time of her husband Mahlon’s death up through her initial meeting of Boaz, and even at the threshing floor.

From the get-go, Ruth was not going to leave Naomi.  Even when Naomi tried to send her away, “Ruth clung to her” (v.1:14, ESV) and “she was determined to go with her” (v.1:18, ESV).  Ruth constantly puts Naomi’s needs above her own in her sincere desire for a closer relationship.  She makes a rather impassioned speech in this chapter detailing her dedication to Naomi as a daughter and as a friend.

In chapter two, Ruth first meets Boaz.  Word had already spread about how good Ruth was to Naomi, and Boaz knows her reputation.  Still, Ruth is willing to put herself below Boaz in order to establish a solid relationship with him by being humble.  She shows him great respect and deference, and he in turn takes care of both Ruth and Naomi.

Chapter three takes us to the threshing floor, where Ruth confronts Boaz as to the nature of their relationship.  Boaz shows just how dedicated Ruth is to other people when he tells her that “all [his] fellow townsmen know [she] is a worthy woman” (v.3:11, ESV).  If Ruth were not willing to establish strong friendships with the people of the town, Boaz would not admire her in the way that he does.  His admiration for this aspect of her character reveals that Ruth is a natural people-person, willing to please others to create friendships.

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3 thoughts on “Myers Briggs, myself, and Ruth

  1. I tend to agree with most of what you say, but I’m not convinced that Ruth is an extrovert, so much as an introvert with an extroverted mother. Naomi does have to push some serious buttons to get HER to court Boaz, and when Ruth works, she works hard and takes short breaks alone. She isn’t prone to socializing, but she is an acute observer and seemingly has the ability to “play” an individual (all connotations aside) which is typified by introverts.

    Food for thought.

    • The thing that’s special about ENFP’s as extroverts is that they require time alone to process things–they are the most introverted kind of extrovert there is. I know that I don’t always feel like an extrovert, and I do spend a lot of time alone (also observing people).

      I’m going to think about this..

  2. Hello
    thank you for a great job you are doing for educating us.
    my question is;
    could you please talk about Ruth’s Main, Sub and inferior function Characters?
    thank you

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