Monday, June 8, 2015

Thinkers versus Feelers

Heart and mind: the two go together, don’t they?

We read about what we are to do with the heart and the mind in Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Of course, we also read about the nature of that heart that we’re supposed to trust with, “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9.)

I’ve noticed that outside the lines of introvert and extrovert, there also thinkers and feelers. We all think and feel -but most of us tend to be governed more by either our thought or our emotions.

That means something for each of us as followers of Christ.

Characteristics of a Thinker:

The easiest way to spot a thinker is to listen to their reactions and opinions. Thinkers will say “I think” often when expressing themselves –even about emotional subjects. Other characteristics of thinkers include:

  • ·         Requiring time after something new has been encountered to develop an opinion
  • ·         Seeming stoic or disinterested when discussing personal issues
  • ·         Overthinking (enough said?)
  • ·         Being able to work through a problem in the mind without waiting on circumstances or others people
  • ·         Having the ability to set issues aside for a time, sleep, move on, etc., and then return to it
  • ·         Finding that emotions come up as surprises long after events cause or contribute to them

Characteristics of a Feeler:

On the flip side, feelers tend to have their perception of a day, event, person, or experience governed by their emotions immediately. The body language of a feeler tends to be more expressive. Feelers also tend to:

  • ·      Find themselves unable to move past something, sleep, or otherwise perform daily functions regularly when they are troubled by something unresolved
  • ·       Easily find themselves in situations or relationships without feeling as if they chose to be there
  • ·       Feel as if their lives are out of control if their emotions are not in control
  • ·       Have immediate responses to everything AND can change responses to the same thing over time
  • ·       Look back instead of forward to create expectations and plans

Loving one Another

I happen to be a thinker. If I’m having a terrible day, I can go to sleep at night. I can figure out a plan and choose a perspective based on my thoughts. But I can also go awhile without recognizing how I feel about a matter…and I can come across as if I don’t care when I’m still processing something.
Fortunately(?) for us, my husband is also a thinker. But some of our loved ones aren’t.

Some of our loved ones can’t sleep until a problem is resolved –even if it’s completely out of their control. We have been baffled before by this notion, along with our loved “feelers” making decisions and then changing them based off of what they feel –over and over again.

But those same “feelers” have been able to change their wrong opinions much more easily than we tend to. They have had fewer miscommunications about what their preferences are and…well, our beloved feeler-friends don’t tend to get to the end of the day just to realize that although their “to-do” is complete, they’re feeling empty. We thinkers do that because we get caught up in sticking with our brains than going with our hearts.

Both feelers and thinkers need to be guarded by the peace of Christ, as Philippians 4:7 suggests: “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

But that looks different for feelers and thinkers. To find the sort of peace that guards heart and mind, we have to understand where our defenses are lacking, and where we’ve been gifted naturally:

Weaknesses of a Thinker:

  • ·         Relying more on our thoughts than on God’s wisdom (Proverbs 3:5)
  • ·         Growing double-minded due to internal doubts (James 1:8)
  • ·         Being led astray by so-called knowledge instead of cling to the truth (1 Timothy 6:20)

Strengths of a Thinker:

  • ·         More naturally setting thoughts on heaven despite sinful desires of the heart (Colossians 3:2)
  • ·         Taking captive thoughts that might lead us astray for the sake of true knowledge (2 Cor 10:5)
  • ·         Thoughts ground us in wisdom and understanding, giving discernment despite mixed feelings (1 Cor 2:11)

Weaknesses of a Feeler:

  • ·         Trusting in limited experiences more than God’s truth (Jeremiah 17:9)
  • ·         Acting in ways that look right with bad intentions as the heart rules (1 Samuel 16:7)
  • ·         Easily feeling discouraged and having days and seasons ruined by emotions (Luke 21:34)

Strengths of a Feeler:

  • ·         Embracing emotions healthily and benefitting from them (Proverbs 17:22)
  • ·         Love and an array of fruits issue from the heart (1 Timothy 1:5)
  • ·         Having firm emotions in regard to God roots feelers in hope when logically there is none (Psalm 112:7)

Though our minds can be darkened and our hearts hardened –and we each tend a certain way- there is hope (Romans 1:21.) There is a defense to rely on in Christ.

We have the option to surrender both feelings and thoughts to the Lord, loving with our hearts, souls, and minds (Matthew 22:37.) Then we can pray earnestly and confidently: “Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind!” (Psalm 26:2)

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkupIntentionally Pursuing,Titus2sday, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women with Intention, and TellHisStory.


  1. Great post. I am a thinker who is learning to feel. Sometimes my head and heart are way far apart but Jesus is working on shortening that path :) Thanks #RaRaLinkUp

    1. I hear ya Astrid! He's been working at the same "shortening" path for me : ) Blessings!

  2. Bethany, I love seeing the differences of feelers and thinkers as it relates to our faith. I am a thinker, and I have come to the end of the day far too many times with a completed to-do while still empty because I had chosen tasks over people. Slowly I am learning to give my to-do list to God and allowing Him to interrupt my plans. Thank you, Bethany, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

    1. Amen! Yes, that to-do list and the "logic" we come up with for what we do can be submitted to the Lord and totally transformed! Great reminder! Thank you!

  3. I am a thinker also. Overthinking is my spiritual gift. What? Not a spiritual gift? UGH. Yeah, but bringing into captivity those thoughts is what I am learning and practicing. Thank God, He is patient with us!
    Thanks for sharing these insights on #Tell His Story! I'm your neighbor and I've never read about the difference between thinkers and feelers, although I've read many different types of personality studies. Interesting!

    1. Hahahaha, Ruthie. YES. Overthinking. PTL for His patience and willingness to tear those those thoughts down to bring us to Himself and His thoughts -so much higher and better than ours anyway! Blessings!

  4. Hi Bethany, You did an indepth study here. I appreciate the scriptures to clarify the differences.
    Very thoughtful! I am evaluating my self with your list, you won't believe it.
    Thanks for sharing this. I am glad I came over to read.
    God Bless

    1. Thank you Ifeoma, His Word clarifies so much! Hope the list is helpful and fruitful : ) Blessings!