What I Learned About Being a Type-A Creative

Back in my senior year of high school, I remember learning in my AP Psychology class the basic definitions of Type A and Type B personalities. Just in case you’ve never heard of this differentiation or need a review, here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Type A Personalities are generally considered more:
    -High achieving
  • Type B Personalities are generally considered more:

This is a very rough sketch, and by no means study off of it for your next Intro to Psych exam. But this outlines the basic contrast people mean when they talk about Type A vs. Type B personalities.

Usually people are thought to lean towards one or the other in how they function. Let me tell you, my immediate thought is, “Wouldn’t that be nice?” Because I somehow by some strange sorcery am a bizarre, complicated blend of both.

I’m a creative type. I’m a writer, so little surprise there. Fictional worlds, Pinterest boards, imaginative movies, sketching, and music will keep me spellbound for hours on end. But then there’s the other side of me – the side that loves administrative work, racing against deadlines, goal-setting, and productivity.

I have met many other people who live with this weird concoction. On its own, each personality type holds its own strengths, and also its challenges. Having an even blend of both is a strength and a challenge unto itself.

For me, the particular challenge is finding my sweet spot in balancing each. My administrative, Type A side likes to dominate. This can be catastrophic for my creative side! Sometimes I pour so much of myself into “productivity” and “responsibility” that it becomes counterproductive to my writing life and I grow irresponsible in taking care of myself. It’s a struggle that I’ve had since high school, being home schooled (nearly all self-study) and involved in five extra-curriculars at once for four years. I’ve always been high-achieving, and I’ve always had oceans of creativity inside me. And I’ve always struggled with burnout.

If you relate to what I’m describing, welcome aboard the ship of Type A Creative! (Ahoy!) Like any sailing adventure, there are times of pure exhilaration, joy, and finding the fullest you. And there are other times of pure exhaustion fighting the internal storms.

So here’s what I’ve been learning from the Captain:

I am fearfully and wonderfully made
It was no mistake having creativity combined with a high-achieving nature. For the goals I have, I need both. If I lacked one of them, I can’t imagine being satisfied, much less happy in life. I couldn’t do the things I love! Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so Type A. But that isn’t the right attitude. Because my design is from God, I can not only find contentment in it, but revel and delight in it as He does.

It’s all about stewardship
Sometimes I almost get tired of hearing this word. Seems like it can be applied to everything in life! Thing is, it can. We most certainly steward our energies. When I allow my Type A side to take over, I often let my creativity fall to the wayside (i.e. I don’t write daily, or I don’t refuel my energies through music or art). God has planted creativity in me because He has things for me to do in my time on this earth through my gifts. And ultimately because they draw me closer to Him. I suffer, and it dishonors Him, when I slack in my creativeness.

The need for control
Notice I just explained how I sometimes neglect my creativity. I didn’t mention struggling to be more Type A, though. That dynamic doesn’t exist. When I fall into being productive at the expense of my creativity, it’s usually because I’m afraid. Yes, afraid. Of events not going the way I want. Of not reaching my vision for my future. Of not meeting my personal standards. Basically I put myself as God over my life. Letting myself be creative is sometimes a trust exercise, and I wish it were more instinctive. The beauty of allowing creativity into my day is that it pushes me to rest in God while He works out the details of my life.

I’m self-sufficient and independent. Or so I like to think.
Almost every time, my battle isn’t having both personality types fused inside me. It’s my pride that creates the problem. When I take on too much and put my best into it, I can say, “Wow, look at what I’ve accomplished, even under all that stress. Oh, I am good!”

At that point, I’ve run so far with my prideful striving that I collapse. Sometimes literally, on my floor curled up in a ball crying. I dangerously ignore my creativity because it requires me to surrender an illusion of self-sufficiency, and give up being a racehorse. I have to admit I have needs. I have to admit that I’m human. It requires me to depend on God by letting go of my need to be something, and to just be. But what I’ve been learning is that’s exactly what God desires: for me to be myself, as I am, as He created. That means valuing my creativity and making it a priority.

What have you learned about including creativity in your life?