That Which Every Joint Supplies: INFP Christians

This is my third post in a series about Christians of different Myers-Briggs types. When you start talking with people in the churches, it quickly becomes clear that while we share a common faith there is quite a variety among us as well. Some of that has to do with background, some with the denomination we’re part (or not part) of, and some with personality. And if we want our churches to be a welcoming place for all people who seek to know Jesus, it’s a good idea for us to understand how different personality types relate to their faith.

Our walks with God don’t all look the same. We’re influenced by our backgrounds, variations in beliefs, and individual personalities. And even though the goal is for us all to become “like God,” that doesn’t mean we become indistinguishable from each other. God created great variety in people and I believe He did that for a reason. So let’s spend today’s post hearing from and talking about the unique perspectives of INFP Christians.

INFP - Join me for a blog series discussing Christianity from the perspectives of different personality types. | marissabaker.wordpress.com

I heard from five INFPs who responded to most of the questions I asked. In general, INFPs are private people and I’m not surprised that the response rate was lower than what I saw for the INFJ post and the ENFP post I wrote earlier. One INFP who I talked with in-person said she wouldn’t feel comfortable submitting even an anonymous response. Still, I hope any INFP Christians reading this post will feel safe commenting and adding their thoughts to the conversation. I’d love to hear from more of you!

Bible Favorites

The first question I asked people was which Bible stories and characters they identified with most. There was very little overlap in specific characters INFPs chose as their favorites, though several of the chosen characters were prophets.

  • Patricia identifies most “with Jesus’ disciples Paul and John in the New Testament because they show both the values-driven determination and authenticity of my INFP personality.”
  • Boniface writes, “I suppose Isaiah, or Mary? perhaps Luke.”
  • Heather says, “I gravitate to Isaiah, Elijah and David because their styles resonate with some aspect of me. I find their deep convictions, poetry and symbolism moving and very applicable. I have always identified with the story of the woman who washed Jesus feet with her hair.”
  • Dara chose a rather unexpected character: “As weird as it sounds, the character I totally relate to the most is Gomer in the book of Hosea. She never realized what she had, messed it up multiple times, and still received unconditional love.”
  • Brian writes, “I love Enoch and Elijah because I am always baffled by the fact that they were taken up and allowing them to avoid death. I always ask myself. What did they do that God just wanted them. I know we an read more on Elijah than Enoch but these two are very interesting to me. I can’t say I really have a favorite. I find interest in a few that aren’t really talked about. Lazarus being one of them. How deep was his relationship with Jesus. Jeremiah. How did he endure all those years telling Israel to turn from their ways.
    I think though. From very little. The prophets have grabbed my attention the most.”

Brian is also the first person I’ve heard from who had an easier time picking out favorite books than favorite characters. He writes, “My all time favorite books for sure are Proverbs and Revelations. Definitely the wisdom books and the books of prophecy. But those two are my favorite. Proverbs cause I can just find so much to apply to my life to grow inside as a person, mentally, spiritually, intellectually. … Revelations for its lively metaphorical (or real) descriptions of whats to come, celestial, and spiritual beings. It paints such wonderful pictures for me that really differ from reality (our reality) and it fascinates me. My friends are personally scared of this book in particular and I can see why but its such a mysterious frighting window that I love to peak through.”

Gifts and Talents

On the whole, INFPs don’t seem quite as worried about finding their particular niche in the church as other types I’ve talked with do. I wonder if this has to do with the fact that Introverted Feeling is their “driver” process. Also called “Authenticity,” this mental process is more concerned with staying true to one’s own convictions than meeting outside expectations. Perhaps if INFPs believe they understand how they best fit into Christ’s body they don’t feel so much pressure to discover how others think they’re “supposed” to fit in.

INFP - Join me for a blog series discussing Christianity from the perspectives of different personality types. | marissabaker.wordpress.comHeather writes, “No, I do not feel under appreciated. I feel that I am needed in the body in the same way that my neighbor is.” She also talked about each of us having “different functions” in the body and didn’t seem worried that her particular gifts would be overlooked. Similarly, Boniface, a Benedictine monk, wrote that he didn’t really feel like he was missing opportunities to use his gifts and talents because “God finds a way.”

Dara and Brian both talked about using creative talents in their churches. Dara sings and Brian is an artist. Brian’s main frustration in the area of gifts and talents is feeling that “the arts and creativity isn’t very, not accepted but looked at as an essential gift in my church.” He wishes more people would realize that all the arts require “a lot of thought, set up, and practice.”

Patricia and Boniface both mentioned teaching and prayer as talents they have an opportunity to use in the church. And though Patricia is reluctant “to get involved in the planning or carrying out of church activities because of past negative experiences with church politics,” she feels that being an introvert and an intuitive “helps with evangelism. I feel like I can predict how a non-believer would respond to God, and how God would move in his or her life if given the chance.”

Connecting With The Church

Two INFPs mentioned that the expectation to be “outgoing and socially active” is draining for introverts. But by and large, the INFPs I talked with didn’t have complains about the church not being a good fit for them. In fact, Heather wrote, “I think the church, is about being members of the body each intentionally having different functions. …  I don’t think the church needs to conform to my personality preferences.” This is a common theme among INFPs. They don’t feel that it’s the church’s responsibility to “make room” for them. That’s why I chose Ephesians 4:16 as the title scripture for this post. INFPs truly believe that the church needs every member and they seek to find their authentic role as one member of Christ’s body.

INFP - Join me for a blog series discussing Christianity from the perspectives of different personality types. | marissabaker.wordpress.comWhen asked how the church could better connect with someone like you when preaching the gospel, Boniface wrote, “Not sure. I think it does a pretty good job already.” Patricia elaborated, saying, “I don’t think that the church needs to make an effort to connect with me, but that is my personal responsibility as a Christian to make an effort to connect with the church, imperfect and diverse as it is.” Wow. If more of us had that attitude, I doubt we’d have so many people feeling alone in their churches.

As for connecting with non-believers, Patricia writes, “I think that this is the strength of having diverse church members who can, in their own way, share God’s love with others.” I’ll whole-heartedly second that opinion. It’s one of the reasons I started this series — to help draw attention to how good it can be to have a personality-diverse church where everyone’s unique gifts are appreciated.

Giving INFPs Space

Just because INFPs feel it’s their responsibility to connect with the church doesn’t mean the church shouldn’t also work on making itself a welcoming place for INFPs. God has created great variety in people and encourages a diversity of gifts and talents in the church, so we should as well.

INFP - Join me for a blog series discussing Christianity from the perspectives of different personality types. | marissabaker.wordpress.comLike most introverts, INFPs feel most comfortable at churches that give them space for reflection and time to learn on their own. Patricia and Brian both mentioned that they learn about God’s word best when they’re reading alone. When they do come together with other believers, INFPs tend to prefer quiet settings. Two INFPs who wrote to me talked about enjoying quiet prayer time and the music service best. Another said he would prefer to have “more strict rules on the respect the house of the Lord needs. No phones, and no talking.”

Boniface specifically mentioned that “aggressive, in-your-face preaching” is not a good way to reach INFPs. Brian also said, “I love a preacher that isn’t screaming the word into my ears,” but added “I think as long as the preacher is anointed by the spirit, the spirit will call my spirit.” INFPs tend to have preferences for a certain type of church service, but they’re also open to learning from any teacher who seems to be sincerely following God.

Fighting For The Faith

Everyone who’s a Christian faces challenges as they try to follow Jesus. Only four INFPs responded to this question so I hesitate to make any broad generalizations for the whole personality type. However, three of those four mentioned some kind of disconnect from God as a struggle (the fourth mentioned socialization with people in their age group, a fairly common challenge for introverts like us).

Boniface writes that “being faithful” is his biggest challenge as a Christian. Patricia says, “When I go through bouts of depression in response to stress in my life, I lose sight of who God is (God’s continual provision for me, and the hope that He gives me simply from being present). I do not become angry at Him, or unaware of His presence, but I become distracted and confused in my own negative feelings.” And Brian mentioned that he deeply identifies with Paul’s struggle in Romans 7:15-20.

Brian also added another challenge, saying he has difficulty spontaneously talking with someone about the gospel. He writes, “I would love to tell everyone but don’t want to seem like I’m forcing anything down. I respect people and their current beliefs, but I feel like the times we are in today don’t allow for much growing in what is correct. It’s more of a ‘live, and let live’ sort of moto for the world now and no one really wants to be told they’re wrong.” That’s something I’ve struggled with, too — finding the confidence to stand up for your belief in God’s truth in a way that connects with people rather than driving them away.INFP - Join me for a blog series discussing Christianity from the perspectives of different personality types. | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Why They’re Christian

For all the posts in this series, I’m not going to try and fit the answers to “Why are you a Christian?” into a few neat paragraphs. Rather, I’m quoting from each of the people who responded to my original post so they can tell you about their faith in their own words:

  • Patricia: I think that there are many factors affecting my growth as a Christian (supportive parents, Christian friends, living in a country with freedom of religious expression), but as for why I am one in the first place – it is hard for me to say. I can relive the events almost a decade ago that lead to me praying for God to be a part of my life, and the resolve I felt afterwards to commit myself to him, but that circumstance then was not the reason why I am a Christian today (in a similar way in which simply being born into a culturally Christian family does not make an individual child a Christian). A Christian is someone who has the Holy Spirit living inside of them and working in their lives. I know that I am one (perhaps intuitively), and maybe a sensor or thinker could point how it plays out in my life tangibly, but I don’t pay attention to that. I just trust in God’s sovereignty, and carry on with my life, with hope that He knows best for me, and thankfulness that He is a part of my life.INFP - Join me for a blog series discussing Christianity from the perspectives of different personality types. | marissabaker.wordpress.com
  • Dara: Science. Everything points to creation, despite what the world says. Furthermore, I’ve met God, and he’s met me in my darkest moments.
  • Brian: I was just listening to a teaching on this today actually. I agreed with all of it. I cannot NOT believe after what I have been taught and read myself. After questioning and doubting God and God revealing himself to me in many ways. I love him because he first chose me, and if he first chose me then what “choice” do I have against that.
    Simply, I believe, because he has called me to believe.
  • Boniface: History of the Church and its survival and growth in every century. Despite every human weakness and sin. My own experience of encountering good Christians, and through them coming to know the Lord.

Your turn! If you want to share your Christian INFP story or talk about INFPs in the churches, comment here! And if you’re a different personality type looking to contribute an upcoming blog post in this series contact me or head over to the original post. I’d love to feature you! Please note: unless you tell me otherwise, I’ll assume that by getting in touch you agree I can quote you directly and credit you by first name (or screen name) and Myers-Briggs type in future projects.Send Me Your Stories: Christianity and MBTI Types | marissabaker.wordpress.com

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19 thoughts on “That Which Every Joint Supplies: INFP Christians

  • Loved this, I’m an INFP & love Jesus, but definitely relate to Romans 7 too; it’s so hard to look at Christ’s light when you’re too busy wrapped in your own darkness. ❤ thanks for writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hi, I’m an INFP and grateful to be asked those questions:). The beatitudes resonate with me, and the way Jesus honored the poor. I relate a bit to KingSaul of the old testament, the way he hid rather than jumping at the chance to be king initially. And his weakness of people-pleasing, and jealousy. And I most admire the characters who had no fear of what people thought like King David and of course Jesus.
    Preaching that resonates with me is more to do with the preacher himself – that the preaching comes out of their life lived radically obedient to Jesus. I also love straight direct truth that cuts to the heart, mixed with words that build up. I struggle to respond to “you should be doing this because its your duty” and respond well to “You can and will do this because its who you are in Christ”.
    In regards to INFP giftings, we have quietly strong values and passion to help people which stimulate out of the box ideas for the church, that with some adjustment by a more practically minded person could really great if implemented, but some INFPS may struggle to express ourselves or make our voice heard. For me I end up praying God will give the ideas to a stronger personality. Churches could benefit from asking infps for ideas God has given them for how the church could help people in need. I bet they will be surprised to see the quiet INFP come to life.

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    • Thank you so much for commenting, Holly!

      I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the difference between teaching “you should do this because you have to” and “this is something you will do because of who God is turning you into.” It really changes the way we approach the idea of how people following God should live. I feel like the first one is more legalistic, while the other focuses on how our relationship with God transforms us. Just found it interesting you brought that up since it’s been on my mind so much lately 🙂

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  • As an INFP/HSP I struggle with the peopling aspect of Christianity. I love people-from a distance. And as someone struggling with illness, I think that just adds to the divide between me and my church, which is very focused on extroverted doing. Still, though I sometimes feel judged or just an oddity in my church, my connection with God keeps me there. I can feel His presence and all else is a distant second to that. And I know for example that God’s prayer ministry in me makes a difference for good. In any case though God has convicted me of a need for greater humility and His provision is my hope in my 1 John 4:20 dillemna

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    • I’m sorry to hear that 😦 Connecting with people is hard enough for introverts without something like an illness to make things even harder. It’s wonderful, though, that God gave you a prayer ministry to still make a difference in His people’s lives. Blessings!

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  • INFP Christian here! I became a Christian 1.5 years ago because I am a seeker of truth and eventually always follow the direction my gut/heart pushes me in (it may take me a long time to act on a directive, but I eventually do – especially when my life starts to feel inauthentic/stagnant). As I mature to trust the intuition and the way that I specifically connect with God I am learning to move a little faster. Praise the Lord! I think it’s called becoming “sanctified”, or “spiritually mature”. Spiritual maturity has to do with learning the way God molds your piece of Clay, and allowing Him to continue in His work in you. Also…It is imperative as an INFP to not allow people to take advantage of them. INFPs love to give but God did not create anyone to be a doormat. He created us to receive as well as give. INFPs challenge is to cut out energy-suckers from their life and find people who appreciate their authentic intensity (it’s rare to find people who can handle the uniqueness of an INFP). INFPs are most likely to be pop-stars or unique artists, people tend to appreciate them from afar, giving them great admiration but intimacy is harder to find for an INFP because people need to get the stars out of their eyes and see that the INFP is human and has needs too. INFPs can confuse introversion with social anxiety. Social anxiety is not introversion. Social anxiety might come from childhood trauma to the sensitive and often misunderstood children who are INFPs. INFPs (as probably all MBTI types) do best when they seek out mentors hip from wise counselors. They need people who can genuinely see them. INFP easily get hurt emotionally so it is imperative to surround yourself with people who are for you, not against you. Even ambivalent friendships will drain the INFP (secret back-stabbers). As a Christian my INFP gift is to listen to the depths of someone’s soul. INFPs can make someone feel heard and valued. They are a quiet force in a group but a force indeed. Their quietness can actually intimidate some people and people-pleasers may try to crack the INFPs “code”, which is confusing because they just don’t get the INFP and can’t handle being close to the authenticity of an INFP. This is why INFPs can only thrive when they allow authentic people into their intimate space. Introverts don’t take draining people very well. Boundaries are essential. I could go on and on. The journey of discovering the uniqueness in which God makes each and every person is a wonderful part of life. Helping others understand their own personality/uniqueness is also a gift to be shared.

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    • Thanks for commenting 🙂 I love this: “Spiritual maturity has to do with learning the way God molds your piece of Clay, and allowing Him to continue in His work in you.” What a beautiful definition!

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  • This is a great topic, thank you. I have pondered many of the same questions and reflections of the people who were interviewed for this piece. I really resonated with Brian when he said “I love him because he first chose me, and if he first chose me then what choice do I have against that. Simply, I believe, because he has called me to believe.” Beautiful.

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  • Hi Marissa! INFP Christian and a pastor’s kid here. I’ve been struggling with inconsistency and lack of focus as INFP, such as doing quiet time daily and praying for a prolonged period. I get distracted too easily. So if I was going to do it, it need to be a discipline, first thing in the morning. (It works)
    I do care about sisters in Christ and non-believer friends, but it drains me to spend time with them, especially in group setting. (Small group? Women’s retreat? No thanks…I’d rather spend time with Jesus alone) It’s hard to do ministry with those who are pushy and demanding, because of course we’re introverts who express our thoughts better in writing than in person. I get hurt easily from people who call themselves Christians but are plain insensitive and rude. I can love them from afar but don’t like them tbh. I resonate with John (the writer of Revelations and Gospel of John) and the gospel of John because he was an INFP himself. So poetic and so powerful.

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    • Hi Emmy! Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts on being an INFP Christian 🙂 I agree with you about loving John’s writing style. And I know what you mean about getting distracted, even though I’m an INFJ. I had to establish a Bible study routine in the mornings, too, otherwise I’d forget or keep pushing it off until night when I was too tired to focus.

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been hurt by insensitive, rude people in the church. “Love one another” is one of the simplest commands Jesus left His church, but sometimes it seems like it’s the hardest for people to really follow. It makes me sad 😦

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  • Hi I am an INFP Christian, raised in the faith, however not until later, through many struggles, did I connect with God in a personal way; looking to seek Him through prayer, the word, worship and His creation. While I am INFP I have moments where I seem quite extrovert, and in a church I tend to find I spontaneously serve as the Spirit leads, often through one-on-one or small group deep and meaningful relationships.
    I often find it difficult when other Christians have expectations on what others relationship with God should look like. We are all different, our personalities and experiences make us unique in how we relate to people and to God. I agree I dislike prescribed aggressive preaching, I would rather hear something personal about how this lesson effects the preacher, showing humility and the workings of God through their lives. However, it is my responsibility to gain perspective through the holy spirit on the teachings being taught, no matter the pastor. If I come away feeling unsatisfied then its me who needs to pray and reflect, as the Lord will share what he wants to know.

    I often am blessed in words of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12; 8) in the more creative form of metaphor and similes, which reflect the Word, but often give individuals hope in whatever crisis they are in. This can lead to further teaching, healing and hope for the individual. I find it amazing how God can work through me in this way, it can be someone I have known for a long time or someone I have just met asking for general intercession.

    I agree that the greatest hardship I have endured have been while not actively or even drifting from God and relationship with Him, often leaving me feeling stressed, depressed, anxious and down trodden.

    When finding a role with in the church, I find as an INFP, that having a specific role is almost too structured and limiting to the act the Spirit can move in us if only we were flexible and available to act. However, due to hierarchical and leadership roles within church, I find if you do not step up and serve in the prescribed ways then you will not earn the respected required to be listened to when the Lord does have something to say through you. It is a hard balance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting! I agree it’s difficult “when other Christians have expectations on what others relationship with God should look like.” I’m hoping my posts in this series are helping show how our unique personalities influence the ways we relate to others and God and that we shouldn’t expect everyone to be the same. Even within personality types there’s almost as many differences are there are overlaps between the people I talk with. And I think that’s great!

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  • I read your article 🙂 I’m INFP as well and here’s my take:
    Being an INFP made it easy for me to see God’s glory in everything. I mean back then I was fascinated with a lot of things such as books, movies, anime, concerts, songs, etc. But when I come to the saving knowledge of Jesus, all those things made more sense. Like you will literally connect and draw the truth of God’s word in all those things and experiences. The endless wonder of seeing His glory in everything and being able to see things redemptively. I also become more rooted on what is most important, Loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and loving my neighbor as myself. Identity and Sonship is something God has been thoroughly stamping in me, that my confidence and worth is in Him and His finished work in Christ.
    I resonate more with John and his writings especially on John 15 Abide in Me and Paul’s latter verses in 1 Corinthians 13 where now we see but a poor reflection in a mirror but we will know fully just as we are fully known. I remember crying on Jesus’ reinstating Peter on John 21. The heart wrenching portrayal of Hosea of God’s relentless love to His people and the zealous devotion of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. I also love reading Bible in many different translations.
    As for ministry, I believe INFP’s if not artists are people who have a lot of creativity and we are wired in such a way purposefully. God constantly remind me that I am not ‘weird’ and my uniqueness brings glory to Him so I don’t have to think or be afraid that I’m different and that no one will come to understand me. God gave us those gifts not to make us great but to serve people with love as a motivation even if at times, it’s inconvenient and way out of our comfort zones. I love writing and I also serve in Prayer and Kids Ministry in my church. I admit that at times, I’m still nervous in meeting people especially at Kids Ministry where you’re supposed to be energetic and outgoing (contrary to who I am) but still, I let Him use me regardless of what I feel. As my friend told me, Jesus is not a theologian, but a story teller. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting! I love what you wrote about remembering that God wired each of us with our own unique personalities on purpose. And about Jesus being a story-teller — I’ve always liked thinking of God’s plan as a story that He’s is inviting us to be part of

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  • My favourite Biblical writer is John. I want to “lean on Jesus” and be close to Him spiritually as John was. I think if I could be a Biblical personality it would be Anna as she fasted and prayed in the temple Luke 2:36-38 “And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem”. ESV

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  • Hello everyone! I sure am glad to find someone cross referencing Christianity and the personality type I identify with, the INFP. I wanna tell y’all what happened to me in 2011 but it’s a long story so I’ll tell you the best part. I was following God the very best I knew how, even being careful to think on good, honorable, just things. I was going online and trying to help the lost people commenting on yt videos. One day it seemed I was seeing God speak to me through coincidences too many to be just coincidence, so I asked the Lord, what are you showing me. At this time in my life I prayed all day to the Lord! So this time he actually responded!! So I heard his voice! It’s very deep like in the movies!! I won’t tell you what he said because it causes more questions and it’s hard for people to believe, but I want you to know that God IS listening, and he sees you and knows everything you think so clean up that mind and talk to him always! Keep your focus on him even as you do your daily work. God bless!!

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