Charisms of a Melancholic, INFJ, Anna Bates, Fairy

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I’ve always loved personality tests.  There’s something almost magical about answering a bunch of questions and then getting the results.  Here are a few goodies:

As far as research based personality tests, David likes the Four Temperaments, and I prefer the Myers-Briggs.  (The links are to free, online tests if you’re interested.)

Armed with your Myers-Briggs letters, the world is your oyster.

I just listened to a podcast entitled”What’s your homeschool personality.”  (After listening to what turned out to be a looong list of each of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types and how they might homeschool, I realized there’s a summary at further down on the page.  You could listen to the whole podcast or just ctrl + f your specific type.)

As I waited for the description for my letters, I wondered if there was some sort of horoscope effect.  You know, if you skim the horoscopes in the newspaper, most of them probably could apply to your life if you wanted it to.

“You are wise; good news will come from someplace unexpected.”  Yes!  I am wise, aren’t I?
“A new opportunity will arise from what was a source of trouble.”  Source of trouble?  I have tons of those!


Anyway, I was on the lookout listenout for anything that seemed vague or universally applicable.  Here and there little bits could have applied to me, but the description for INFJ made me choke on my cherries.  (Yes, I was actually eating cherries at the time.)

INFJ – the understanding homeschool mom

She’s so committed to doing the right thing for her kids regardless of personal cost that she is easily burnt out. Because she gets overwhelmed by details, the INFJ will generally be most comfortable starting with a planned curriculum that she can adapt according to her own needs.

Whoa.  “Easily burnt out” is my middle name.  There were more details that were spot on for me, but I won’t list them all here.  If you’re homeschooling, it’s definitely worth the read, especially for the “strengths, struggles, and styles” sections for each type.  Useful info, folks.  Useful info.

white flower

This site
 shows a saint for each Myers-Briggs personality type (It’s about Holy Week, which is a long way off, but you get the idea.)   David and I read these together and giggled.  When we hear “saint,” we tend to overlook quirks and faults.  But every saint had both.  Some more than others.  This article on saints behaving badly highlights a few.

The quirks, strengths, and proclivities of each saint played a role in making the world a better place.  My quirks, strengths, and proclivities will play a role in living out my vocation as well.

Perhaps it’s more about charisms than quirks.  “Charisms” aren’t exactly the faith-based version of talents or gifts, but they are closely related.  Here’s what the catechism says

799 Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.

I already know that my vocation is motherhood.  Maybe embracing charisms is sort of a “call within a call” as experienced by Mother Teresa.  People can poo-poo the Church and faith in general, but it’s hard to argue withe meaning behind those words.  The world needs me.  The world needs you.


God is calling you to a work of love that will fill your life with purpose and joy, and discerning your charisms can help you discover that call.

Understanding your charisms can help you simplify your life and avoid burnout. If you know your gifts, it becomes easier to say, “no” when people ask you for things that you don’t really have to give. And because it is unusually energizing and fulfilling to exercise a charism, you are much less likely to burn out if you are working in your area of giftedness.

Understanding your charisms can free you from the need to compare yourself to others.  If you find that you judge yourself for not measuring up to the standards of others, you can be freed by recognizing that your giftedness and calling are different from theirs.

~ from the Catherine of Siena Institute brochure


Sign me up.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy to identify and capitalize upon charisms as it is to figure out what kind of food describes your personality.  It takes effort and spiritual guidance.  But unlike all the above quizzes and tests, discerning charisms is a big deal.  Can we add “discernment of charisms” to every RCIA and Confirmation class, please?

I’d love to dive deeper into the study of charisms.  Has your parish ever hosted a Called and Gifted workshop?  Is it as awesome as it sounds?

If you know of any good resources on the discernment of charisms, please pass them along.  The world needs us.


PS– I’m pasta.  I’d love to hear your results to any of the quizzes you take!


  1. // Reply

    Mikaela & I attended the Catherine of Sienna Institute charisms workshop and it was AWESOME!!

    1. // Reply

      I thought of you when I was writing. I’d love to hear more. 🙂

  2. // Reply

    ISTJ . . . right on the money for me (except that I design my own curriculum)! What a fun list.

    The ISTJ mom always has a plan and she’s good at juggling details. She has a strong sense of responsibility and desire to do the right thing. ISTJs are very black-and-white, which makes it difficult for them to be flexible, but their concern and attention creates an atmosphere of security and interest in the realities of the world and day-to-day life.

    Strengths: consistency, boldness, stability, managing details.
    Struggles: rigidity, losing sight of the big picture, perfectionism.
    Style: school-in-a-box will be the default that is extra difficult for her to break out of; whatever her curriculum, it will be quite structured and reliable.

    1. // Reply

      How fun! That does sound like you. Thanks for playing. 🙂

  3. // Reply

    I haven’t been around at our church for a Called and Gifted workshops, but I can’t wait for the next one. Our church likes to use the four temperaments in their ministry placements, I think.

    1. // Reply

      Interesting! It seems like it could be a useful tool in ministry. So often people serve because they feel obligated; I like the idea of actually serving where your gifts lie.

  4. // Reply

    I’m an INFJ, too, and that blog post definitely described my homeschool personality! I am all about the planned curriculum and, unfortunately, the burning out. And if I remember right, I’m Frodo Baggins in the “Which Lord of the Rings Character Are You?” quiz 😉

    1. // Reply

      Those little quizzes are so fun! Thanks for sharing your results. 🙂

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