Surviving the Cycles of Singleness

I wasn’t really sure what I should write about, but I knew I wanted to write about something, since a lot has happened in my life already this year. Between heartbreak and house-buying, I’ve been through a lot. And with the World Cup coming to a close and the end of summer looming, I’m faced with the realization that my life is settling back into its rhythm. And by rhythm I mean I’ve started to notice a pattern in my adult life, particularly over the last few years. Before I begin to dissect this cycle, let me use a disclaimer and say that these cycles are two sides of the same coin.


The Pursuit of Happiness

The first half of the cycle involves my desire for a relationship. One that could lead to lasting companionship within marriage. One that might bring children, a family, and a home. During this time, I intentionally seek out dates, whether through dating services or within my own community, and look to establish a friendship (or build on a friendship) in order to lay the groundwork for a potential relationship. Frankly, when it comes to meeting new people and exploring possible relationships, I have been fairly “successful”. During this part of the cycle I’ve met and gone on dates with handfuls of wonderful young women. But in most cases, these were encounters as ships passing in the night, and not the formation of a convoy. Yet each meeting helped me grow and learn and experience life, and for that I have no regrets. However, one of the predominate lessons I have learned is that I am not skilled at typical social interaction, as I tend to turn conversations into interrogations because I want to know what makes people tick. And well, most people don’t like having their mind probed. And eventually, I tire of this expenditure of resources, both mental and physical. And when I do, I return to the other side of the proverbial coin.


The Place of Contentedness

One thing I have learned to embrace when it comes to my particular brand of introversion is that I am truly content when I am alone. Yet to claim I am not lonely would be a bold-faced lie. It is instinctual for humans to seek companionship and have that single person they walk life alongside, as dictated in Genesis. Yet in this place of solitude, I find I am content. And when I reside in this space, I can engage with my interests freely and pursue opportunities without great concern for the social implications. This season allowed me to get my teacher’s license, become a coach, buy a house, and take trips to meet new people and experience new places. In many ways, it is this space that I grow the most, because I am not entirely focused on one singular purpose and can explore numerous possibilities. And as cognitive functions might dictate, this is the pattern I would typically follow according to my personality type. It is also within this space that I find solace in community, without the weight of romance. Friendships can blossom and grow within the shade of fellowship, and emotions can be set aside for the betterment of my disposition. Imagine if you will a game of Clue, where one is not trying to find a murderer but rather unravel a mystery of one’s place in society. And so it is here I find myself heading, back into a space of freedom and opportunity. And while I still see the lasting appeal of being in a relationship, I am back to the place where it falls far down the list of priorities in my life. Am I open to the possibility? Of course, but I am not putting forth the usual emphasis on that pursuit.


Simply, happiness and contentedness are sisters, cut from the same cloth. To be happy without being content in life is fleeting emotion, and to be content without seeking happiness is a glum existence. But to find both at once is where joy flourishes. That is the noblest pursuit, the goal of my heart’s journey. And if the Lord grants me happiness through a relationship, I am content in his provision. And if I am destined to forge ahead as I am, single yet not alone, then I welcome the challenges I shall face. Ultimately my calling doesn’t change, whether single or attached, for one should always seek to love God, love others, and love self, no matter their relationship status.






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Anticipating the World Cup, and Group Stage Predictions


Like, really 🙂 The Men’s World Cup, taking place in Russia this year, is nearly a month away. And as the spring season of local soccer is wrapping up (and European soccer is drawing to a close), my passionate focus on the beautiful game can turn to the international competition at its highest level. And while the USMNT crashed and burned in CONCACAF qualifiers, I still have high hopes for some amazing team play and golazos. And so in anticipation for this tournament, I’m going to do a little breakdown of each group and make a prediction on who is gonna advance to the knockout stages. For those who are not familiar with traditional soccer tournament scoring for group stages, a win is worth 3 points, a tie is 1 pt for each team, and loss is 0 pts. A tie in points at the end of group stages is decided by goal differential.


GROUP A:  Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay

Arguably Russia, as the tournament hosts, got an “easy” group. However, I don’t actually think Russia is that good, and so having less skilled teams in their group doesn’t actually mean they have a guaranteed ticket to the knockout rounds. Uruguay has definite talent up top (ie- the vampire Luis Suarez and the speedy Edinson Cavani) and finished second behind a red hot Brazil in CONMEBOL qualifying. Egypt, riding the prolific finishing of Mo Salah (of Liverpool FC and the likely EPL Golden Boot winner for this season), is going to test many a defense. Saudi Arabia, unfortunately, is probably going to leak goals and be this group’s punch bag.

Prediction: Uruguay (7 pts), Egypt (7 pts), Russia (3 pts), Saudi Arabia (0 pts)


GROUP B: Iran, Morocco, Portugal, Spain

Clearly a group dominated by European powerhouses, the only real question is who comes out on top. Ronaldo might be looking at his last real chance at international greatness, having already won 2016 Euros with Portugal, but when I look at the Spanish squad, I see one of the most dangerous midfield and forward lineups in the tournament. I really don’t have much to say about Iran and Morocco, though I could see either European side getting complacent and letting a goal in, which could decide whether Spain sweeps the group or Portugal actually makes it out.

Prediction: Spain (9 pts), Portugal (6 pts), Iran (1 pt), Morocco (1 pt)


GROUP C: Australia, Denmark, France, Peru

This is one of a couple groups that have a clear favorite (in my mind) to come out in first, but the battle for second place could be bloodbath. France, I feel, has the talent to easily notch a few goals per game and clear the group with three wins. Australia barely qualified and has struggled internationally since the last world cup. Peru is a similar story, but they showed grit and has the endurance to win points in close matches. Denmark is a young European squad, with talent like Christian Eriksen in midfield and Kasper Schmeichel in goal, might even give France a good fight if they stay on top of their game.

Prediction: France (7 pts), Denmark (5 pts), Peru (2 pts), Australia (1 pt)


GROUP D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

This group is one I definitely will be watching, as it could be one of the most competitive. Not only does it feature arguably the greatest player the world has ever seen (Lionel Messi, if anyone had doubts who I was talking about), but it features two European teams who had strong showings in the 2016 European Championship. And who doesn’t love Iceland? Like, how can you not root for a team who comes from a country of ~300,000 yet goes toe to toe with European giants like England, France, and Portugal. Croatia has a star-studded midfield and can threaten any goalie into making some spectacular saves, or otherwise drop points. And let’s not forget about Nigeria. Consistently a strong team coming out of Africa, I expect a physical and fast style that could potentially steamroll the more technical styles of Argentina and the European squads.

Predictions: Argentina (7 pts), Croatia (4 pts), Iceland (3 pts), Nigeria (1 pts)


GROUP E: Brazil, Costa Rica, Serbia, Switzerland

This is definitely Brazil’s group to lose, considering the talent they are bringing. As some might remember, Brazil completely embarrassed themselves the last time around as the hosts losing to Germany in the semi-finals by several goals. That squad was arguably an old guard of Brazilian football, this squad is much younger and way flashier. With Neymar leading the charge on offense, I expect them to make a deep run into the tournament. But the teams they face aren’t going down quietly. Costa Rica featured solid play in CONCACAF qualifying and has enough talent to pick up pts against any of their opponents. Serbia fills a rather weird place in this group and in my mind could play spoiler for who advances in 2nd place. Switzerland has some big name players, but many of said players are coming off poor seasons with their domestic clubs, which could affect their ability to play in the World Cup.

Predictions: Brazil (9 pts), Costa Rica (4 pts), Switzerland (4 pts), Serbia (0 pts)


GROUP F: Germany, Korean Republic, Mexico, Sweden

Many would call this the “group of death” for this tournament, which I would agree with if you consider it a two man fight. And if one considers Germany to be a favorite going in to win it all (coming off the last World Cup as victors and fielding many of the same players) as well as a Mexico team that is possibly at its strongest in years (2017 Confederations Cup participants and looking to avenge their loss to Germany there), there will be fireworks. Sweden qualified out of Europe without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and dares to brave the competition without the man, the myth, the legend. Korea generally competes, but I don’t see them having much success against this group.

Prediction: Mexico (7 pts), Germany (7 pts), Sweden (3 pts), Korea (0 pts)


GROUP G: Belgium, England, Panama, Tunisia

Another interesting group (arguably the true “group of death”), which features a CONCACAF surprise contender in Panama, a serial under-performer in England, and a rising dark horse in Belgium. Tunisia, despite being 14 in the FIFA World ranking, is probably way out of its league in the group and will be lucky to pick up any pts here. I feel Panama will carry their momentum from CONCACAF and give the European teams a run for their money. Belgium, with talent all across the board, should make a strong showing, and could push out some solid teams in the knockout stages. England “should” be playing with a massive chip on their shoulder and features many rising stars, with some veterans to provide backbone, and may actually not choke and bow out in unseemly fashion this time around.

Predictions: Belgium (5 pts), England (5 pts), Panama (5 pts), Tunisia (0 pts)


GROUP H: Colombia, Japan, Poland, Senegal

The final group and one featuring another set of potentially interesting match-ups. Colombia features last World Cup’s Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez while Poland boasts Bundesliga’s prolific giant Robert Lewandowski. Japan has always been a team to watch but is often hit or miss in international competition. Senegal happens to be the second highest ranked African nation and could bring a brutal, physical style that’ll wear down their opponents. This group could be very close, or completely lopsided. I feel it’ll probably the later, being the finishing quality of Rodriguez and Lewandowski.

Predictions: Colombia (9 pts), Poland (6 pts), Japan (1 pt), Senegal (1 pt)


Biggest Losers: Chile, Italy, Netherlands, United States

*Sob* There are no words to mourn the lack of these teams in this world cup, but honestly they all under-performed in their respective qualifying and got beat out by much less talented squads. It might be irreverent for these teams to play a mini-tournament between themselves this summer, but it’s one that would still feature a lot of great talent and one I would definitely want to check out.


So there you have it, my predictions for the 2018 Men’s World Cup. Drop a comment if you disagree with any of my group rankings, or even just to argue if Lionel Messi isn’t actually the GOAT (which he is, his all-around game is just otherworldly). Once the group stages are over, I plan on making another set of predictions (with scores this time!) for the knockout stages, and predict the overall winner of the tournament. And boy, I can’t wait for some great soccer!




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Simply Shorts

Sometimes, when I have a few spare minutes, I grab some paper and write. Sometimes, that writing turns into something. And sometimes, I decide to share that with y’all.


Tower on the Precipice

Alone it stands

Perched on the edge

Facing oblivion like a solemn guardian

From a distance, like a needle against the horizon

Once approached, it stands in silent immensity

Few seek entrance to the hallowed halls

Stores of knowledge, wealth of character

Held in reserve for those who prove worthy

Yet time only knows how long

The precipice holds this stalwart

From the abyss below



The Ocean

Calm and clear the surface stretched

Shimmering a reflection of shining warmth

Serene, it beckons one to gaze in wonder

At the mysteries that lie beneath

Does life move about below?

Can there be turmoil and energy

Waiting to be released?

Deep down there is bubbling emotion

Rage, passion, and anxiety dance

Twisting, twirling

They tempt that which swim beneath

A surface, to break, above rests

Twinkles in the dark, catch an eye curious

Daring to glance underneath the calm

To risk uncovering the vast activity

Deep down, an ocean true



The Garden

A tree rises from the dirt

From a seed planted by faith

Roots spread nourishment to the plots surrounding

Its foliage bears evidence of fruit, yet to reach maturity

The ground below green with growth

Revealing the understanding of purpose

Yet patches of decay creep in

Ground tainted with doubt and failure

Begging for the keeper to intervene

Uprooting unfaithfulness and weeds of sin

Leaving fresh dirt for the seeds of belief

Strengthening the connection to the source

To the tree that overshadows all



The Pit

Cold, I awake

Covered in filth and muck

Am I lost? Am I stuck?

I survey my surroundings

And see nothing but walls of earth

Above, the sun beats down in hot fury

There is a ledge to my pit

My misery, an open grave

“Hello?” I cry

“Is anyone there?”

Nothing is my response

Nothing but the rustling of wings

A bird, black as night

Lands at the edge of my pit

Soon to be joined by another

The sky grows clouded as each finds a brother

Squinting, I see something squirming in their beaks

In horror, I realize what creatures they carry

As they begin to drop from jaw into my hole

These pests, of scale, and stinger, and silk

Land around me like black snow

“No more!” I plead “Have I no pleasure in this life?”

Bites and stings begin to coat my flesh

Defeated, I am resigned to my lonely fate

But then a voice rings clear

“My son, will you have me save you?”

Wincing in pain, I plead for release

Not seeing who or what offers me freedom

“Very well, it shall be done”

Struggling to stand, I wish to see my savior

But all I witness is a cloud of black lifting a man into the air

Hovering over my pit, like menacing death

My mouth agape, how can salvation be found through this

Drip, drip, drip

Something warm and slick begins to hit my face, my shoulders

Blood, flowing from this gentle, kind man

Tears begin streak my cheeks

This man, in his offer of freedom, has lost his own

A wretch am I, expecting to be freed by such a simple gesture

Instead I doom he that would offer me aid

Through blurry eyes, I see my knees no more

As a fount of blood rises within my pit

Panicked, I seek escape

Must I die in this man’s death?

How is that freedom?

Straining, the warm flow now reaches my neck

Closing my eyes, I accept my fate

If I must die, then I die with a friend

One who gave his life for mine

Suddenly, the pain of the creatures, my tormentors, has gone

I am enveloped, freed from all sensation but life

Prepared to drown, I await the end

My body is light, my mind is at peace

“It is finished!”

A voice streaks into the void

Flying, yes I feel myself being lifted up

Yet not into the heavens, as in death

But by a strong, gentle hand

Up onto the soft, green earth

Kneeling, I bow my head

Unable to comprehend this turn of faith

As the soft hand presses onto my head

That voice, the man, my Savior speaks

“Arise, my son, and see your death”

I turn to my pit, my open grave

And I see it no more

Only life, only color remains

Overwhelmed, I melt into my Savior’s embrace

As he welcomes me into his love, into his grace




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Life Through the Lens of a Decade

As it has been my habit for the past few years, the time has come for my year end/birthday reflection post. And since this year happens to be the beginning of a new decade of my life (I’m turning 30, if you weren’t aware), I thought I should look back at each of the previous decades of my life and highlight the primary lesson or focus from each. Let me preface that I have no idea how rambling or full of rabbit trails this might get, so continue at your own risk 😉


First Decade: Learning

One of my first lasting memories was of desiring to know. Tasting this, grabbing that, smelling this; I had to find out more. It’s not uncommon for parents to claim their child was inquisitive but I didn’t just want to know “why” but I needed to know “how”. And it didn’t take me long to figure out that I could learn much faster on my own than asking someone else. So I read and read and read. And learned. But it wasn’t just reading. I built and played and created. Legos were also a key part of my growth. My brothers and I would create elaborate castles and towns and ships, each with its own narrative. Creating stories was just as important to me as reading them. I think that’s part of why I write today, it’s how I learned to create. But back to reading. I gobbled up everything I could get my hands on, and then some. I started reading harder and harder books, with bigger words and higher difficulty. By the time I passed into the second decade of my life, I was reading at least four grade levels above my age. I’m not trying to brag too much, but I was reading at a college level by junior high. Needless to say, reading was how I learned to feed my appetite for information. And I had to use this knowledge to create an identity that allowed me to make sense of a world that didn’t really understand me.


Second Decade: Soccer

If anyone close to me was asked what my favorite sport was, I’d imagine they’d answer soccer with little hesitation. And my love for this sport was found almost comically, because I grew up in a traditional Hoosier farm town where football and basketball were king. But football, being a fall sport like soccer, was an expensive venture, so my parents decided I should try the cheaper alternative instead. Turns out, I was really good at it. A natural almost. In fact, one of my earliest memories of playing soccer was having a coach tell me to only use my right foot like everyone else in swarm league because dribbling the ball with my left let me separate from the crowd of players and score many times. And some of my fondest memories from my middle school years revolve around playing soccer. It was something I could be recognized for and made me more than just “that smart kid”. Because honestly, I sometimes hated the fact that I was so much smarter than kids my age. They gave me weird looks because I knew all the answers and probably showed them up in class on numerous occasions. But soccer, soccer allowed me to be “one of the guys”. Let me belong. Let me put my knowledge of the game to use for the benefit of my teammates. And as my skill developed on the field, so did my involvement off it. In high school I started watching professional soccer in earnest and even began refereeing on occasion. My biggest regret when it comes to pursuing my love of soccer is that I never made an effort to play competitively in college, a decision that still haunts me today. In some ways, I wonder how different I would have been as a person had I made that leap of faith and invested in that opportunity. But my passion has persisted and grown as the years went on, giving me a place within a world I didn’t always understand.


Third Decade: Community

When it comes to the scale of introversion, you’d find me somewhere on the anti-social hermit end. Well, at least that’s where I’d be if I choose my spot, but mostly out of personal jest. Because if my readers might remember, being social is something that is not a natural skill for me. People both fascinate and frustrate me to no end. In an average social situation, I’m prone to observe rather than interact, even more so if it’s unfamiliar territory or with a large number of strangers. That said, it takes me awhile to “warm up” to people. So while finding a place in society through soccer as the foundation of my social interaction (outside of church and school) during my second decade of life, I struggled greatly to find a foundation during the earlier years of my third decade. College was turbulent, but I managed to find a small group of people who accepted me. But after college, I lost a lot of social motivation and entered my “hermit stage”. It took me a couple years to overcome these tendencies, largely through personal discovery and healing of old wounds. So I tried to put myself into situations that would force me to get to know people and expose myself to social environments. I also struggled to find an identity as a member of society, as a steady job wasn’t forthcoming. After school, I wasn’t sure what I would do and what I thought I wanted to do wasn’t working out at the time. My breakthrough, oddly enough, didn’t come through a social opportunity, but through a personal understanding. Before I could find my place in society, I had to find myself. It might sound cheesy, but I studied mental patterns, cognitive functions, personality theories, and sociology to better understand why I operated the way I did within society. Why I chose to stand in the corner rather than join the circle. Why I would rather be the guy in the background making sure things ran smoothly than the one leading from the front. Perhaps the biggest piece of realization that helped me move forward was to understand that my mind how processes information prioritizes facts and rational data over emotions and personal connections. There was a brief period that I honestly thought I was broken. But once I started to understand myself and my natural patterns of thought and social cognition, I was able to approach people in a way that wasn’t nearly as awkward and blunt as I was before. And I learned to be a friend to people. To put my knowledge and talents to work for others. I became a coach for my old junior high and started reffing again for local recreational and travel leagues. I started serving in my church, putting my natural desire to work in the background towards a noble purpose. And I took steps to realize my dream of becoming a teacher and got back into the classroom as a sub. And last and perhaps the most important, I joined a couple different groups of young adults who desired community just as much as I did. It’s amazing how friendships can start when perfect strangers all wish to have others to do life together with. And while I’m not someone who compulsively feels the need to have many close personal connections with others, I found that deep within these relationships were greatly important to my development and purpose in life. So despite myself and certain sociopath tendencies, I not only wanted to create these relationships but I wanted to make sure others didn’t have to struggle as hard as I did to find them or arrive at a place where they realized how lonely life would be without them. And going forward, I hope that the communities I’ve found will continue to grow and mature and become something truly impactful on the lives of everyone involved.


Three decades, three core components. And looking back, I can see how one decade has helped support those that followed. I can only hope that this trend continues rather than a collapse after an imbalance arises from mismatching interests or pursuits. For now, I’m content to look ahead with anticipation of what the future holds and acceptance of the lessons my past has taught me. And since this new decade might be the best one yet, I invite you, dear readers, to join me as I continue to discover what this journey known as life might entail.




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A Look through the Keyhole; A Glance through the Window

In my ever expanding quest for knowledge and personal development, I have explored and researched many topics and theories. Many of these have found their way into my posts here. And today, after weeks of mulling over information and reflection on personal growth, I’m going to revisit and redouble one specific topic: personality theory. Except this subject is extremely diverse and ever changing in perspective, so I’m primarily going to be talking about the Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram, for these tend to have the most depth. But before I can really dive into how my studies into these areas have aided my personal development over recent years, I’m going to give a little overview of the basic premise of each personality theory.


The Myers-Briggs

Many people have generally taken a MBTI test at some point in their life, either for school or business. For this reason, most people know their four letter type. I believe myself to be an INTP, as evidence strongly points to this type, but I’ll explain that in more detail later. What most people don’t realize is that the Myers-Briggs is only the surface of a much larger scheme of understanding personality. You see, what the MBTI is actually characterizing is how your mind approaches information and thinks about different and new situations or circumstances. Or to get right to the crux of the MBTI, it’s really about cognitive functions. So what are cognitive functions? Well, as you might have guessed, this is where the four letter types come in, but this is also where people tend to get confused and lose interest. So I’ll skip the convoluted explanation of how each combination of Introvert/Extrovert, iNtuition/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, and Perceiving/Judging determine your cognitive stack and just rather give a brief description of the cognitive functions themselves.

Cognitive functions are divided into two pairs of “opposing” sets: Intuition & Sensing and Thinking & Feeling. Intuition and Sensing are called the “Perceiving” functions (or how we take in information) and Thinking and Feeling are the “Decision” functions (or how we process information). Within these pairs, a set is one extroverted function and one introverted function. Each pair are opposing and mirror each other within the cognitive stack, which alternates from either Introverted to Extroverted functions and vice versa. For example, the INTP cognitive stack pairs Introverted Thinking with Extroverted Feeling and Extroverted Intuition with Introverted Sensing. Determining how these functions stack up, however, is the difficult part to explain because of the J and P of each MBTI type. But I shall try to do so simply. ExxJ and IxxP types lead with their Decision function while ExxP and IxxJ types lead with their Perceiving function. So if we take this principle and apply it to the cognitive functions I listed for the INTP, that means I lead with Introverted Thinking. Since a set is of opposing pairs, this means Extroverted Feeling goes at the bottom of my cognitive stack (this becomes very important later). In the middle, would be Extroverted Intuition and Introverted Sensing. So to sum it all up in more mathematical terms, my primary function as an INTP is Introverted Thinking, my secondary function is Extroverted Intuition, my tertiary function is Introverted Sensing, and my auxiliary function is Extroverted Feeling. Got it? Good, because now I’m going to give a quick synopsis of what each cognitive function might look like:

Introverted Thinking (Ti): logical, analytical, focused on facts and formulas, generally has good memory and decisive problem-solving

Extroverted Thinking (Te): efficiency, task-oriented, good structural and organizational skills, keen mind for math and science

Introverted Feeling (Fi): moral character, highly sympathetic, strong personal feelings of justice

Extroverted Feeling (Fe): warm and kind, highly empathetic, cares deeply for the emotional climate of any given situation

Introverted Intuition (Ni): personal perspective, connects the dots easily, quickly sees the source or root of any situation

Extroverted Intuition (Ne): explores possibilities, constantly seeks new experiences, sees beyond the immediate  or present

Introverted Sensing (Si): sentimental, finds peace in repetition, feels the atmosphere or aura of places and people

Extroverted Sensing (Se): thrives on activity, generally well-coordinated, notices the details of a situation first

Confused yet? Cuz that was just my introduction to depth of the MBTI! Now for some Enneagram…


The Enneagram

Thankful, since the MBTI explanation covered quite a bit of overall personality theory, talking about the Enneagram becomes a little easier. Basically, if the MBTI relates personality to how a person gathers and acts on information, the Enneagram relates personality to what motivates and terrifies a person. Within the Enneagram there are nine types, each with its own unique qualities, motivations, and fears/downfalls. These nine types are divided into subsets, relating to the source of a person’s personality: the heart (feeling oriented), the mind (thinking oriented), and the gut (instinct oriented). And believe it or not, each type is connected to several other types, which makes the Enneagram more and more complicated the further you get into it. However, for the purpose of this post (and to save my readers a great length of ultimately unnecessary content, as you can wiki the Enneagram for more background that doing so for the MBTI might not have given) I’m going to leave this expose of the Enneagram to a brief paragraph.


A Look through the Peephole

So if personality were a room and personality theory the door, the MBTI would give one an approximate view of what a room might look like if one were to look through the tiny peephole in a door, or looking through a keyhole (if you envision an older style door). With this vantage point, one can establish a basic structure of the room and draw some conclusions as to the primary purpose and function of said interior. Such is the reflection of cognitive functions on a person’s character. And since the overall purpose of this post is to reflect on the journey I have taken in recent years concerning the understanding and development of my person, I’m going to break down how my cognitive stack has effected my character, personality, and purpose in life. And just to remind everyone, as an INTP, my cognitive stack is Introverted Thinking (Ti)-Extroverted Intuition (Ne)-Introverted Sensing (Si)-Extroverted Feeling (Fe).

Because my primary function (sometimes referred to as the “driver”) is Introverted Thinking, I am naturally a highly logical and analytical person. I have always been this way, as one’s primary cognitive function tends to rise to the surface very early in life. This focus on decision-making and fact-finding shaped me into a virtual filing cabinet of information. When trying to explain to someone the contents of my brain, it would not be uncommon to use a server room or library archive as a metaphor for the way I compartmentalize and store information. However, there is a major downside to this focus on facts and figures, mainly that of social awareness. Because I am an introvert who is drawn more to information than to interaction, I often come across as distant and reserved. More often than not, my primary function at any given social event is that of an observer. And because I am also an internal processor, my outwardly appearance can err on the side of impassive or intimidating. Years ago, before I really began my journey into understanding cognitive functions and how they affect personality, I always wondered why people acted so nervous around me. I mean, I’m actually a rather laid-back person who enjoys seeing people smile and making them laugh just as much as I want to learn every little detail about their life. Oh, and that latter part also plays into my social anxieties and awkwardness because I detest small talk. I’d rather not talk to someone at all if I can’t carry on an in-depth, meaningful conversation with them. This usually means I keep my mouth shut, especially in group settings. This also plays off the way I was raised but it certainly ties deeply into my primary cognitive function. However, there is a helping hand to get me out of my shell and that’s up next.

The secondary function (sometimes referred to as the “co-pilot”), Extroverted Intuition, is one I kept reined in for many, many years, only giving it enough lease to please my introverted overlord’s desire for information. However, in the past couple of years, I discovered the beauty of unleashing this function’s potential to cause personal growth. As I mentioned before, Extroverted Intuition, at its core, seeks out new experiences and new possibilities. Once I realized how beneficial allowing myself to step beyond my comfort zone and let this function roam more freely, I was able to shrug off the confines of my shell. For example, a couple years ago I joined an online community of (mostly) young Christians, with a clear focus on creating fellowship and subtle undertones of finding relationships. Through this group I expanded not only my social circles but I also broadened my theological horizons and fortified certain aspects of my faith. And this past summer, I made not one, not two, but three separate trips to meet and enjoy the company of members of this group, all of whom I had never met IRL before. Talk about being outside my comfort zone. But in hindsight, these trips really helped me understand the value of building community and fostering relationships with like-minded people. I was able to take these experiences and apply those lessons to my life here in Warsaw, and really step into certain roles I wouldn’t have sought out in years past. But if Extroverted Intuition is the source of seeking growth and pushing my boundaries, the next function is my lifeline.

My tertiary function (sometimes referred to as the “safezone”), Introverted Sensing, often works hand in hand with Introverted Thinking to “protect” me from that what makes me uncomfortable or feels outside my skill-set. It leads me to seek out the familiar and remain within my habitual comfort. Because it is third in my cognitive stack, it often has a juvenile and impulsive nature that only surfaces when I feel threatened or am unable to determine the best course using my driver and co-pilot functions. This reality, paired with the strong family tradition I was raised in, has led me to realize why I shy away from moving outside of Michiana, no matter what opportunity might present itself. This area has been home for most of my life and here I have many family members and friend groups. I have realized this function makes me very sentimental and geared towards a strong sense of traditional values. I also tend to be very adept at repetitive tasks and can easily perform manual operations while letting my mind slip into an open and receptive cognitive state. For example, I currently work as an Inspector, reviewing parts and paperwork for a medical device manufacturer, which allows me to let my eyes and hands perform the work while my ears and mind absorb information through podcasts and instructional videos. However, this function also makes me wary of opening up to new people, as I wish to protect my “blindspot” that is my auxiliary function.

My auxiliary function (sometimes referred to as the “blindspot”), Extroverted Feeling, has a very unique role within my cognitive stack. Not only is it directed outwardly on the emotions of others and their well-being, but it generally presents itself with the maturity and innocence of a young child. This leads me to experience strong emotion with overwhelming presence and can lead to outbursts when I am no longer able to suppress that feeling. Granted, I am very good at hiding my emotions but the fact still remains that I do in fact experience emotions very deeply. And due to the empathetic nature of Extroverted Feeling, I often feel trapped between seeing the hurt in others’ lives and wishing so desperately to help them and having no idea how to approach it. Imagine a little boy seeing his mother crying over a situation he knows nothing about and yet he wants nothing more than to see her stop crying, so he goes outside and picks the first “pretty” thing he spots off the ground and proudly marches it inside to present to his mother. This metaphor encapsulates the approximate complexity with which I feel able to approach the suffering and pain I witness in another’s life. In order to feed this childish desire to improve the lives of those around me, I often step into the shadows and work behind the scenes to make sure needs are provided for and circumstances are prepared for successful operation and completion. Because of this, my leadership style leans in the direction of service first, speak last.

Yet, as one might notice when looking through a small viewpoint into an illuminated space, there are shadows and creeping darkness underneath. Such is also true of cognitive functions. I call this the “shadow functions” of the MBTI. Imagine the personality equivalent of the Upside-Down from Stranger Things, that is to say the shadow functions are the inverse of one’s cognitive stack. So if my normal cognitive stack is Ti-Ne-Si-Fe then my shadow functions would be Te-Ni-Se-Fi, which is the normal cognitive stack for an ENTJ. I realized this possibility when I looked back at my experience as a camp counselor at Springhill during my college years. This high energy, densely populated environment was not very conducive to the naturally introverted tendencies I exhibited at school, where I had a dorm room I could easily escape to and hide from the typical social scene. At camp I had to be extremely organized, very detailed oriented, and highly active. Sound familiar? It should, because those are all characteristics of the Te and Se functions. So while I am naturally a spontaneous planner and sporadic organizer, when necessity or circumstance demand I can become a very rigid and structured person by dipping into my shadow functions. This is something I slowly learned to embrace the older I have gotten because it plays well into how my Enneagram type exhibits successful growth and a striving nature.


A Glance through the Window

If the MBTI can give one a obscured look into the room of personality as through a keyhole, then the Enneagram can increase this view as though one takes a peek through the window. Why do I say this? Because I feel it is one thing to know how a mind processes information and approaches any given situation, it’s entirely different to know how people act based on their primary motivators, fears, and instincts. As I mentioned earlier, the Enneagram is divided into nine types and three subsets. My Enneagram type (drum roll please!) is Type 5, also know as “The Investigator”. As you might have guessed based on my lengthy explanation of the cognitive stack that is me as the INTP, most INTPs tend to also be Type 5s in the Enneagram. The Type 5 happens to sit in the “Thinking Oriented” subset of the Enneagram circle (no surprise there right?), but it also neighbors the “Feeling Oriented” subset. This is because the Type 5 is a “relationist” type, always seeking to provide objectivity, analysis, and fair evaluation of the often chaotic world around them. The Type 5 often becomes a stable foundation for those around them; reliable and trustworthy when the drama of daily life presses up against the walls of sanity. However, rather than explain the qualities of the Type 5 like how I broke down the cognitive functions of the INTP, I will instead outline them:

Strengths of the Investigator: curious, insightful, rational, observant, thorough, knowledgeable, able to synthesize lots of information and explain it to others (this often makes them good teachers), and able to find patterns and connections others might miss

Weaknesses: tendency towards isolationism, cynical, intense, headstrong, abstract, self-reliant, overwhelmed

Their Gift: speaking wisdom and truth

Their Need: to perceive and know

Their Focus: “what makes sense”

Their Sin: avarice or stinginess

They Avoid: looking foolish or uninformed

They Grow: through generosity and community

When Striving: they are confident and assertive

When Stressed: they are impulsive and withdrawn

As you might gather from this outline, the major source of identity (or motivator) for the Type 5 is to know and have that knowledge find its use in helping others. As I dug into the Enneagram, this really hit home. All my life I have been a trivia nerd. I gobble up random facts and seemingly useless information, but when I’m able to share those tidbits with some inquiring mind, I feel a unique sense of fulfillment. It also explains why I am drawn to teaching. The core strength of my teaching ability is the extreme depth of my knowledge and the ability I have to relate that knowledge to the common experiences of my students. However it also poses certain challenges to being a teacher, namely I can be very abstract when explaining new ideas and struggle to ask for help when I’m unsure of how to approach a topic or assignment (or difficult situation in general). Part of my background was to be a self-sufficient person, able to take care of myself, which has aided me greatly as an adult but at the same time only placed a significant spotlight on my independent nature. So much so that, even though I greatly desire to be married and raise a family, I struggle with letting anyone else care to my needs if I’m fully capable of meeting them myself. That said, it is easier for me to serve others than it is for me to let myself be served by others. However, the most recent development, and the most affirming aspect of my type, was learning about how my type can accomplish the most growth. It has been a focus of mine, even before I realized this fact, to pursue building community and fostering friendship by allowing myself to be vulnerable in social settings. And part of this had to come from me relinquishing a bit of my pride and getting a little undignified at social events. While I generally give the impression of a “dgaf” attitude, I actually care quite a bit what people think of me, especially strangers who might be meeting me for the first time. This is why I usually am a polite, but reserved, person in unfamiliar social situations and let others take the first step to acknowledge me and strike up an interaction. This is something I still strive to overcome and be more assertive, but I can honestly say I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I was a few years ago.

The Closing of the Blinds

I’ll be honest, all of this came from months if not years of reading and research, and I feel like I’ve only scraped the surface of the conversation I’ve had within my own head for the past year or so. But in the interest of openness for you, my readers, I took about two hours sifting though my data to try and synthesize it into a somewhat cohesive look at the essence of my personality. I would like to thank each one of you who took the time to read this post from the bottom of my heart. I hope you feel like you understand me a little bit more and, if you don’t actually know me personally, I hope you understand a little more about cognitive functions. You might not realize it, but this simple expenditure of your time to peruse this lengthy dialogue means a lot to me. And as always, I certainly welcome question and discussion about anything I have mentioned above or anything you might like to know that I may have only hinted at. It is always my pleasure to share any part of the knowledge I keep shelved away and I welcome such conversations. Be well, friend, and don’t forget to be awesome!




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Of Prayers, Psalms, and Penance

On Adoration

Oh Lord, Oh Almighty God, my words fall short in explanation
You hold all that is, was, and will be in the depth of Your wisdom
Simple exultation is clearly not enough, yet nothing less than You deserve
Your mercies are new every day and yet never ending
Your love outshines the sun and yet never sets over the cloudy skies of my heart
If only I, like the moon, could reflect Your radiance for just a short time
For in the nights of my years I desire You
And in the days I relish Your presence
For You are good, and You are God
And the truth of these shall never fail to be

On Seeking

My eyes blink, wishing to reveal a world of color and wonder
Darkness and vague whimpers of shape greet my sight
Where is the vibrant illumination I seek?
The light my senses crave?
What then clouds my sight, what mystery hides the face of wisdom?
Each step is that of drunken wandering, each call a cry unheard
Yet warmth floods in, and whispers reach my thirsty ear
“Son, thy journey is yet begun
But fret not, for the destination is clear to me
In faith I call thee to step forward
Trust that thine light can shine from within
And guide thee into thy promised rest”
So I lift my foot, setting it out ahead
And ripples of color begin to show
Revealing the footsteps of the One who walks
Ahead, behind, and beside

On Wisdom

Words of truth, knowledge, and insight
Found by those who open the mind and ear
Yet the fount of wisdom springs from within
Guided by the gentle voice of the Spirit
“Gush forth and consume the land
Heal the parched soil of the soul
Restore the decaying corners of the mind
Complete the cracked and faltering heart
For I am the source of all you seek”

On Pain

This wretchedness, the abundance of anguish
Speaking volumes when the throat has no words to utter
Crushing, shattering, piercing to the core
Why must I hurt? Why must it be so real?
When does this ruination of my person find rest?
Yet who am I to question the eternal providence of Your Holiness?
If in trial and tribulation I find my rest in You
Then how shall I not be purified like the silver before the smith?
Strip away my dross, Oh Lord, and allow this pain to yield luster
A shine that reflects you in truest form
Such only painful temperance could produce

On Silence

Staring into space, embracing the void
Emptying self into nothingness
Quiet, still, poised
Content in the lacking
Safe in the silence

On the Condemnation of the Flesh

Oh Lord, my Judge and Law-giver
I am wretched and condemned before thy Law
This flesh I am born into hates and rebels
Against all the good rewards
A peaceful and righteous life might obtain
How is it I do that which I wish not to do
When I see exactly what I should be doing
Remove this warring state within my nature
My Lord, My Redeemer
And sanctify my heart that I may cleave flesh and spirit
Leaving an obedient heart loyal only to You

On the Nature of Opposing Lands

Two countries stand opposed
One of rational thought and logic
The other of vibrant emotion and feeling
As the gates of one opens to issue its messengers
The other may very well keep theirs shut
All too often these messengers leave destitute
Forgoing the conversation so desperately needed
To benefit both lands in growth and wisdom

On Forgiveness
Oh Glorious Saviour
Thy gift is undeserved
How is it that a sinner like I
Has made it into Thy loving grace
A name written in blood
With an eternal script
Sufficient for past, present, and forever
Perfect to change my heart from stone to flesh
Death into life
And let me not forget this gift
And become callous to the plight of my nature
For Thy forgiveness is not to be wasted
Through a life of iniquity
But rather one to be affirmed in a life of obedience

On Sanctification

If pain has purpose
And trial creates tenacity
Then pour out Thy wrath on my heart, Oh Lord
Great and Fierce Warrior
For its callousness knows no end
And its war with the mind has no amnesty
For the mind knows what is good for the soul
Yet the heart, lost in its sin, continues to rebel
Like the smith with the silver
Purify me from within
Lifting my dross to the surface
And scrape me clean
Letting me reflect Thy holiness from within





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Willing that the Will will be

So my church just finished a sermon series focusing on the Will of God and how we might discern and respond to God’s Will for our lives. And honestly, this series couldn’t have come at a better time for me, as the question of God’s Will is something I’ve been wrestling with for several months. Lemme build the setting here:

So at the beginning of this year, I finished my Transition to Teaching program at IWU and received my Teacher’s License so I could teach US and World History. This accomplishment as clear affirmation to me that God wanted me to pursue a career in education. I spent the rest of the school year as a substitute teacher, doing both day-to-day assignments and a couple of longer term positions. And I loved it. So when summer rolls around, I had two decisions to make: first, where was I going to work over the summer and second, how far would my search for a teaching job take me from Warsaw? The first question didn’t really weigh on me, as I figured any job I got over the summer would be temporary until I found a teaching job. As far as the second question was concerned, I limited my search to (more or less) to Indiana around and above Indianapolis. So I applied to over two dozen schools over the summer. I heard from a handful and got a few interviews. Of those schools, two actually had the courtesy of notifying me they went with someone else. Of those two schools, one was the school I did my student teaching at, which I had considered my dream job.

So it’s now over halfway through September and I’m still at my “summer” job working as a 3rd shift Inspector for Zimmer-Biomet. So no, apparently God’s Will for my life wasn’t to be a teacher this school year. Or was it? See, I’m of the opinion that God chooses when to implement His will for our lives. And this choice might very well be dependent on how closely we are pursuing our relationship with Him and if we are living in obedience to Him. I believe that God might close a door at one point in our lives because He knows that if we access that blessing too soon, it will lose some of the magnificence and impact God intended it to have. Case and point, the first time I applied for the Transition to Teaching Program a few years ago. I was at a place of lacking direction and purpose, as well as struggling with some major areas of sin and spiritual oppression, in my life and the only route I saw to instill some change was to chase my passion for learning and become a teacher. Looking back, I should have known that the timing wasn’t right because of all adversity I faced just to get my application completed. And when everything was said and done, and my application was in and I was accepted, the door was slammed shut in my face because of a clerical error. Why? At the time I had no idea. But now, I can look back and see that God knew I wasn’t truly ready, in my maturity as a person and a believer. God knew I needed to “grow up” and it took some pretty painful lessons to reach the point where He was finally ready to re-open that door.

So fast-forward back to today. I’m working in a field I wouldn’t have even considered last year and the one teaching job I really wanted and thought I was a great fit for didn’t happen. I’ll be honest y’all, I miss being in the classroom and around students. But I cannot help but wonder God has postponed the blessing of a full-time teaching job because there’s something He wants me to learn first. Is it patience? Is it trust? It is an area of sin that I’m still harboring? Is it an area of maturity I still lack? I really don’t know, and that’s why this recent series on discerning God’s Will has been so impactful. Yet at the same time, I see how my current situation has afforded me certain opportunities. If I was teaching full-time, I probably couldn’t have taken two trips in the past month to meet and hangout with people from a Facebook group I’m in. And both of those trips ended up being a great blessing, just being able to spend time fellowshipping with people my age who are passionate about their Christian walk. I also couldn’t spend nearly as much time investing in building relationships with my various social circles. So I am aware God continues to direct my life and through my obedience to the parts of His Will I am privy to I am blessed.

But that’s the kicker folks. I feel like there’s very little of God’s plan for my life I’m actually privy to right now. I’m mentioned before I feel drawn to being a teacher, and specifically I want to work with middle schoolers, and yet I’m not currently teaching, not even as a substitute. And while I’ve continued my search, there has been no peace about any of the positions I’ve inquired about or interviewed for. I even had an interview at a charter school in Indy last Friday and yesterday morning I sent them an email withdrawing my candidacy for their opening because I couldn’t shake the feeling God still has something for me here in Warsaw. All signs still point that I’m supposed to be here, and all doors that would have led me away stayed shut.

So what is my purpose for this sudden reappearance of literary dictation of mental vomit? Well, honestly I’ve been reflecting quite a bit about the “story” of my life, as I’m less than three months from my 30th birthday. Three decades of life, and what do I have to show for it? Where am I at in my life? What sort of person am I and is that who I thought I would be 5 years ago? What sort of person will I be in 5 years? So many questions, and very few answers. If you’re familiar with the Enneagram, I’m a Type 5, so having too many unanswered questions and areas of knowledge unknown drives me crazy. But here is something I did discover about myself over the course of all these questions: I’m behind.

Wait, what?!? What do I mean by “I’m behind”? Well, through my investigation of the past 10 years of my life and the path it has taken, I’ve come to the opinion that I’m about four or five years behind where I could’ve (or should’ve) been developmentally (socially, emotionally, and spiritually) because of poor decisions, areas of rebellion, and sinful choices I made in my early to mid twenties. Almost every major decision I made since leaving Warsaw for college up until moving back to the area after living in Anderson for a short time, was not really beneficial to my personal growth. One of the things that made me realize my “behindness” was the age group I tend to gravitate toward. Most of my friend group are about four to six years younger than me. And if you believe in my theory of personal development, this makes perfect sense because developmentally I’m on about the same level of this age group (assuming they themselves didn’t squander their years and stagnated their growth like I did). So I have a strange division of maturity, for I have the experience and wisdom of someone perhaps older than I truly am but I lack the social skills and emotional maturity of most people my age. And so know here I am, 29, single, employed in a field I don’t really take joy from, and asking more questions than answers can be found. And all I can say is “God knows, I don’t”. And I need to live in peace with that. Because God hasn’t called me to know everything, just Him, and to obey Him when He calls me. So I guess that’s where I’m at right now, awaiting His call, and the revelation of His specific will for my life. And I guess until that happens, I have to turn to Scripture, prayer, and godly counsel from peers and mentors so that I may best pursue His will in the calling I’ve been placed in at this time. And you know what folks? It actually excites me to anticipate what God has for me in the future, because if the path my life has taken over the past few years is any indication, it’s gotta be real awesome 🙂




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