Maybe this Lent you’re looking to give up something deeper than your favorite chocolate indulgence (although, let’s be real: you should probably give that up, too). Since we can’t all just jump into the desert and fast for 40 days, sometimes we need a little bit of soul-searching to find out what a real sacrifice looks like.
When it comes to our human foibles and challenges, we’re all pretty unique. Some of us are more alike than others, though — and you might be surprised that a huge swath of the population struggles with the same sorts of things you do. Turning to a personality inventory might help point out some new practices or approaches to try for Lent.
You probably know all about your Myers-Briggs personalities, built by mother-daughter team Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. Whether you love it, or hate it, it could serve as a helpful tool to empower you to come up with a more meaningful sacrifice for Lent.
INFP: Give up your choice of social media
With your colorful, sensitive imagination, you have a tendency to put on rose-colored glasses and idealize others — which is all too easy to do when you’re scrolling through social media. Grotto Network is a firm believer that social media can be a powerful weapon for good, but we also think that taking a break from it can help your soul fly — especially if you have the propensity to use social media as a crutch for real-life socializing (you’re not alone — it’s a huge introvert thing). This Lent, say goodbye to Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat and try to set a goal of scheduling one real social interaction per week.
ENFJ: Give up other people’s drama
Generous, warm, outgoing, and oh-so-empathetic, you take pride in your relationships — so much so that sometimes you have a natural inclination to take on loved one’s problems (and usually to your own detriment). While most people know that you probably mean well, needlessly getting involved in other people’s drama isn’t doing anyone any good. This Lent, we encourage you to curb your urge to interfere (and *maybe* the tendency to gossip, if that’s also a struggle) by trying to just listen without judgment, instead of getting emotionally invested in problems you’re not empowered to solve.
INFJ: Give up perfectionism
You might not be the stereotypical, detail-oriented perfectionist that neurotically has every minute of a day planned, but your standards are really high — unrealistically high — and you’re consequently really hard on yourself. Thorough and thoughtful, it can be really tough to get out of your head and let your defenses down. This Lent, remember that perfect solutions don’t always exist, and push yourself to be okay with that. Meditate on embracing your brokenness in the light of your inherent dignity as a child of God. In what ways can you stop letting your imperfections hold you back this Lent?
ENFP: Give up overstuffing your calendar
You might really (really) want to — but you can’t say “yes” to everything — you’ll run out of gas. You may be an extrovert, but you’re actually the quietest of the extroverts, and you often grossly underestimate your natural need to take time to process the busyness that is your life. This Lent, practice saying “no” mindfully — and learn how to schedule things like some good old fashioned R&R so you can better balance all the things. If you need a kick in the butt, just remember that all those over-promises will lead to under-delivering, which is a cardinal sin for you as a natural people-pleaser.
ESTJ: Give up control
Logical, goal-oriented, and highly organized — you think you see things objectively. But here’s the kicker: no one does. Nope, not even you. As an ESTJ, you can spend a lot of energy being frustrated at the apparent illogical choices of other people, forgetting that they have different perspectives and motivations. Paired with the fact that your leading dominant function (extraverted thinking) likes to make decisions as fast as possible, this can push you toward the habit of trying to control everything. This Lent, use your powerful personality to hear people out, and surrender to the fact that there’s a difference between the things you can control and the things you should control. People tick in different ways — take time to examine that, and follow your conscience accordingly.
ISTJ: Give up stubbornly trying to do it all yourself
You were always that super-reliable kid everyone wanted on their group projects. And yes, we all know you have it all under control. Right? Well not always. You’re not superhuman (although, as an ISTJ, you’re close). This Lent, don’t be afraid to ask others for help, even if their help means doing it differently. We get that experimenting with new ideas and possibilities isn’t exactly your M.O., but it’s the only way you grow and get better. It will feel totally foreign, but letting people know you can’t do it all is a form of healthy vulnerability (hello, Brené Brown), which allows you to make your relationships stronger.
ESTP: Give up impulsivity
You’ve never struggled with the mantra “live in the moment.” Impromptu adventures suit you. Friendly, non-judgmental, and clever — we don’t have to ask you twice to a party. Which, sometimes, is actually the problem. It’s one thing to be open-minded and flexible, it’s another thing to never stick to a plan — like, ever. This Lent, try to keep to a morning routine that you love, and be intentional about what you want out of your day. Remember that there are actual people in your life who depend on you for some form of consistency — consider how you can find ways to prioritize them in your daily life.
ISTP: Give up inertia
You’ve got an incredibly analytical mind brimming with some brilliant ideas — but very few of them spill over into reality. It’s not that you’re lazy, it’s just that you go with the flow, and you struggle with letting people help you (you can’t do it all yourself). This Lent, practice taking charge of those recurring quiet thoughts that you can’t shake — and own them. Even if those next steps are merely putting your thoughts into a journal, or quietly discerning what’s next. Don’t be afraid to confide in others if you’re having a hard time putting your thoughts into actions. We get that you’re super self-sufficient, but some things only happen if there’s a team involved.
ESFP: Give up flaking
Yes, you. If you haven’t broken this habit yet, it’s time. You’re too old for this now! We totally get that this is easier said than done, though, especially when there’s just so many things to do, so many people to see, so many places to go — and that’s just one night. This Lent, practice follow-through and commitment. If you have plans and a better plan just so happens to fall into your your lap hours before, practice saying “no” and hold your commitment. Consider it a Lenten sacrifice. And if you really, really, absolutely have to flake, don’t procrastinate and text the person at the last minute to say that things have changed, okay? They’d rather know sooner than later.
ISFP: Give up social media stalking
You care deeply about other people. Even if they’re not in your day-to-day life, you’re still voraciously curious about them. This isn’t exactly a problem until you find yourself five years deep into your ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s Instagram account, and accidentally “like” that one image. Whoops! This Lent, if you find yourself habitually gravitating toward a certain someone’s news feed — try to examine why instead of trying to analyze every post. Maybe this means you reach out to them in RL. Or maybe this means signing up for therapy to let go of some feels. We know this is totally out of your comfort zone (sorry!), but examine why this person is on your mind. What unresolved feelings need to be addressed?
ESFJ: Give up jumping to conclusions
You might be the friendliest person in the room, but you have an acute need for approval — and highly value the perception of others. This isn’t always a bad thing, but this “need to please” mentality warps your judgment. You will sometimes form conclusions about people without taking the time to contemplate actual facts. This Lent, make sure you find a way to get regular alone time so you can find ways to remind yourself you can’t please everyone — and no, that doesn’t mean that they’re out to get you.
ISFJ: Give up internalizing problems
You’re a peace-seeker. When things aren’t in harmony, it truly wreaks havoc on your heart. The thing is, peace is a good thing — but not at the cost of totally sacrificing your mind. Of course — it’s not a good idea to share everything that’s on your mind (you know that better than anyone!), but sometimes peace is impossible to achieve without real honesty. This Lent, we challenge you to look at those relationships that maybe need a little less peace and more honesty. Try to stop internalizing all the problems of your loved ones, and start talking about them. Even if it just means journaling about them (for now).
ENTP: Give up (always) playing the devil’s advocate
You love a good debate. Honestly, it’s just how you think things out. Unfortunately, not everyone operates this way — especially your loved one who is just looking for empathy already. This Lent, consider what people might need before you let your agile tongue loose (even if means holding off on that one genius zinger — I know). We’re not saying you should give up all theoretical debates, but rather we encourage you to read the mood to see if it’s the right time to unleash this tendency. Not every human interaction needs vigorous verbal sparring.
INTP: Give up inaction
If there’s one thing that’s for certain (and for you, few things are certain), you’re a thinker. You consider things from all angles, and you pause thoughtfully before you speak (and sometimes, you speak rather slowly, as if your words are being etched in granite). A life of contemplation is a good thing, until it leads to inaction. This Lent, we encourage you to apply some of those thoughtful perceptions you’ve mulled over in your mind and take action on them. Yes, actual action. What this looks like, exactly, we don’t know — but you might. If you’re struggling with this, call up an efficient friend. Speaking of which...
ENTJ: Give up overworking
In culture that’s obsessed with achievements and productivity, it can sometimes look like the ENTJ is #livingthedream. But all work and no play makes Jack a very drained boy (even if he’s really good at what he does). This might be a hard concept to grasp in today’s climate, but here it is: you are so much more than your career. This Lent, look to develop your internal life. What this looks like depends on you. Maybe this means texting that friend you’ve lost touch with; or maybe it’s going to church more often; or maybe it’s planning a romantic outing for your spouse. Look for ways to enrich your emotional life with things that can’t be objectively measured (although we know metrics are your thing). Work may feel like a calling sometimes, but it will never fill the void if you neglect the the people and things that feed your soul.
INTJ: Give up the contempt
To be honest, you’re pretty brilliant. You have that rare, easy ability to solve problems logically in a fun, creative way. You thrive at proving yourself and your competence. That said, you sometimes struggle picking up on social nuances. Navigating interactions with other fellow humans can feel exhausting. Socializing doesn’t always lead with logic, and that can lead to some real frustration — and frankly, a lot of contempt for others because why don’t they understand — they should understand! This Lent, we encourage you to lead with humility and follow-through with patience. Before you roll your eyes at someone who isn’t as quick-witted as you, try to listen to their story. Try not to rush into judgment — instead, learn from their perspective.