The Novelty Personality and the Routine Personality

Maranda and I have different approaches to selecting an entrée at our favorite restaurants. While I have my favorite dishes at each eatery, I like to branch out and try new ones. Sometimes I’ll find a new favorite, but often I still come back to the original favorite at a later date. Maranda, on the other hand, after discovering a home-run entrée, is more likely to stick to it every time we come back. I have discovered throughout our marriage that Maranda is also better able to re-read her preferred books and re-watch her favorite movies than I am. I tend to always be looking for something new. Now in analyzing our approaches to tastes, I do not say that either one of our approaches is better than the other. They each have weaknesses.

Some of you who are always looking to try the next new thing may have trouble settling in and being grateful for what you have. Maybe you suffer from monotony in your daily routine with which others of a similar schedule have peace. Perhaps you feel the need to move jobs frequently…or are prone to materialism, thinking the next NEW toy is exactly what you need to add some novelty to your home or recreation time…or maybe it’s people with our personalities that could be even more prone (God forbid!) to getting tired of monogamy and feeling the need to seek fulfillment outside the marriage. After all, isn’t this search for novelty the mindset of the high school or college male “players,” who once they have one sexual conquest, feel the need to immediately move on to someone else? And one more danger…that involves the Bible itself: those with the novelty mindset can fall prey to saying, “Well, I’ve already read that passage. I’ve heard sermons on that topic. I’ve read the Bible before. Give me something new and exciting.” Just because I’ve mined this soil before doesn’t mean I discovered all the gems.

On the other hand, while there is a virtuous and joyful contentment in rediscovering and savoring our favorite tastes, the dangers can hit us on some different fronts. If you really like your comfort zone, do you struggle venturing out of it? Meeting new people? Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations? Taking risks? Sometimes risks are necessary for Christians, especially when it comes to outreach and evangelism. And while I am not accusing my wife of falling prey to ANY of these dangers, the “favorites personality” also carries a hazard when it comes to the Bible: perhaps you have your favorite verses, passages, and topics…you like them because they speak to you…or you’ve already settled in to what you believe and want to know those proof-texts for those doctrines backwards and forwards…but other parts of the Bible or views that challenge your conclusions make you uncomfortable. So you might slink back into your hobbit hole and stay in the comfort zone of the Shire, ignoring the other issues of the outside world. You order the same dish each time you eat out.

You know your own personality and your own preferences. Celebrate the strengths of your approach to life! But also be aware of the dangers the personality carries, especially when it comes to learning and discussing the Bible. Enjoy your favorites! Know them well! But also hunger and thirst for more!


To His Glory,

Caleb Cochran

Photo credit: basheertome via / CC BY