2018 On My Blog: Top 10 Lists

Once again the Gregorian calendar advances by one year. Sticking with tradition, I spent New Year’s Eve with my cousin and sister and now I’m using my first post of the new year to share my blogging highlights from last year.

This has been a big year for my blog. It’s got a name now, for one thing, since we went from marissabaker.wordpress.com to LikeAnAnchor.com. The number of visitors is holding pretty steady from last year, though it did go up a little.

One of my big goals for this upcoming year is to continue growing my blog, but that’s a subject for another post. Today’s post is about looking back on the most popular posts of 2018 and celebrating all you lovely people who’ve been reading my work.

Posts With The Most Traffic

All of the top posts this year are about INFJs, which isn’t really surprising. I was kinda surprised that my ENFP-INFJ relationships post is the most popular of all my posts, though. I guess I’ll put that on the list of good things that came out of my (now ended) relationship.

  1. Dating Your Mirror: ENFP and INFJ Relationships (published 11/11/2017)
  2. INFJ User Guide (published 6/20/2016)
  3. Religion and the INFJ (published 10/17/2016)
  4. Want To Date An INFJ? Here’s 15 Things We’d Like You To Know (published 9/18/2018)
  5. The Vanishing INFJ (published 11/28/2016)
  6. INFJ Dark Side (published 3/31/2014)
  7. The INFJ Stare (published 8/5/2013)
  8. Living With INFJ Guilt And Overcoming Cycles of Shame (published 11/13/2018)
  9. The Single INFJ (published 4/18/2018)
  10. How To Be Friends With An INFJ (published 10/13/2014)

Top 2018 Posts

Read more

An Introvert’s Guide To Hosting A New Year’s Party

I always spend New Year’s Eve with my sister and cousin. There’s just the three of us, but we call it a party anyway. The tradition started with my cousin’s family hosting much larger New Year’s parties, and then after those went away the three of us just kept spending New Years together.

Though one of us (my cousin) is an ENFP, our New Year’s parties are very much something you could describe as introverted. There’s a small number of people and the party activities are generally relaxed, stay-at-home sorts of things. And because our sort of New Year’s party is clearly the best kind there is, I’ve made this helpful little guide to help other introverts (and those who like “introverted” parties) to host their own.

How To Host An Introverted New Year’s Party

Step One: Decline all invitations to traditional New Year’s parties.

Step Two: Find a small number of people you enjoy being around and who will get along well with each other. Read more

The Fear of Causing Offense

How did offending someone suddenly become a cardinal sin? People today think they have a right to never be offended, and when they do get offended they also feel offended that you dared offend them.

Google defines offended as “resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult.” When you offend someone, you cause them “to feel upset, annoyed, or resentful.” Offense is “annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.”

Just a little bit of thought on this subject should make it obvious that offenses can happen any time people disagree, which actually happens quite a bit. Our standards, principles, and ideas are not identical and when that’s the case it’s easy to perceive an insult. Plus, even when we don’t disagree, miscommunication can cause resentment and annoyance. It’s impossible to live in a society of humans without being offended, which naturally leads to a question of why certain people’s “right” to not be offended should make it okay for them to offend others.

But what does this have to do with Christians? Surely this is more of a social-political debate for people like Jordan Peterson and Cathy Newman. Isn’t our job as Christians to just love people in an inoffensive way? I’m actually going to argue that it is not.

Is It Sinful To Cause Offense?

There’s a passage in the gospels that, when you read it in the King James version, seems to support the idea that causing offense is a sinful thing to do. In Matthew’s gospel it reads like this:

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matt. 18:6-7, KJV)

This isn’t the best translation, though, at least for modern times. The Greek word has little to do with an annoyance or resentment caused by insult. Instead, it matches a definition for offense which is fast passing out of use in English — “a breach of a law or rule; an illegal act.”

When Jesus says woe to those who cause offense, He’s speaking of those who cause others to offend against God. Read more

Replacing Anxiety With Power, Love, and A Sound Mind

There’s a verse that I’ve found myself praying when I struggle with anxiety, which has been pretty often for the past couple weeks. It comes from Paul’s second letter to Timothy in which he assured the young man that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7, KJV).

I don’t want to speak for everyone’s anxiety, but for me at least I do feel like it’s often tied to a lack or imbalance of the three things mentioned here. I’m scared when I feel I have no power or others have too much power. My anxiety spikes when I’m not felling loved and looked out for, as well as when I spend too much time turned in on myself instead of actively loving others. And my mind seems unsound or undisciplined when it spins elaborate worst-case scenarios to worry about, or tells me things like “you’re broken and worthless.”

This verse says that I don’t have to stay stuck there. When we have God’s spirit in us, we have access to a part of Him that can replace fear with power, love, and sound mindedness.

Power

There are a few different Greek words that could be translated “power.” The one here is dunamis. Like other words that come from duna it carries “the meaning of being able, capable.” Specifically, dunamis speaks of inherent strength and power (Zodhiates’ and Thayre’s dictionaries, entry on G1411).

We see this power demonstrated when Jesus performed miracles. “All the multitude sought to touch him, for power came out of him and healed them all” (Luke 6:19, WEB). When we’re given God’s holy spirit, this same sort of power that resides in God is put inside of us (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). The power doesn’t belong to us (Acts 3:12; 2 Cor. 4:7), but it is available to us.

Read more

Can INFJs Be Intimidating?

The short answer to the question, “Can INFJs be intimidating?” is “yes.”

Of course, this partly depends on the specific INFJ and on what someone finds intimidating. Some people might be intimidated by the way INFJs people-watch. Others might find the way our minds work intimidating, or be overawed by our instinct for figuring others out.

Being intimidating can be a useful thing in some contexts. Unfortunately for INFJs, it seems like we come across as intimidating when we don’t mean to more often than when we do. INFJs are generally peaceful folk who don’t like confrontation and aren’t trying to intimidate anyone (even though the whole “good little INFJ” thing is mostly a myth).

Here are three ways that INFJs can come across as intimidating when they don’t mean to. If you’re curious about what INFJs are like when they are trying to be intimidating, click to check out my post “INFJ Dark Side.”

We Think Differently

Some people can find the way that INFJs think intimidating. We tend to be deep-thinkers and, in our own way, we’re pretty intense. Also, INFJs are a curious mixture of seemingly contradictory things and we’re hard for people to put into neat boxes. Some people find this fascinating, but others find it off-putting.

When I was finishing up my 4-year degree in college a guy at church asked me about my thesis project. So of course I waxed eloquent about how 18th century female writers used Biblical gender roles to present a solution to a “gender crisis” of their day. Not long after, this man described me as intimidating in a conversation with my father. He said that I was too well-educated and too deep thinking for any man in our church to want to marry me. Read more

Does God Know You?

I’ve shared a few times on this blog (one of them just last week) that I find the “I never knew you” passage one of the most terrifying in scripture. That might seem like an odd place to start out a post about building a relationship with God, but that’s where we’re going to begin. Here it is:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many miracles in your name?’ And then I will say to them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt. 7:21-23, LEB)

This makes it sound like you can be doing all the things you think are right and good, but still not have a relationship with Jesus. It’s not enough to say, “I know Him.” He has to know you, too.

Thankfully, we’re not left in the dark about how to be known by God. One key is found right here in the verses we just looked at: we need to do the Father’s will and not practice lawlessness. There are also other scriptures that talk about who the Lord knows, and we’re going to look at some today.

Humility, Obedience, and Awe

As I study through verses that talk about people the Lord knows a pattern emerges. Being known by God is connected with how we respond to Him and to His word.

Yahweh says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build to me? Where will I rest? For my hand has made all these things, and so all these things came to be,” says Yahweh: “but to this man will I look, even to he who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word.” (Is. 66:1-2, WEB)

This is a perfect companion scripture to the one in Matthew 7 because both point out that the important thing isn’t what we try to do for God. The important thing is how we respond to God (or Yahweh, to use His personal name).

Yahweh seeks people who respond to Him with humility, obedience, and awe. If we tremble at His word, then we’re going to take what He says seriously. If we’re poor and contrite in our spirits, we’ll respect that He knows better than us and do as He says. These attitudes are key to being a person who does the will of the Father in heaven.

Read more