Friday, February 28, 2014

So it says I'm an introvert...

I was nineteen when I first realized I was an introvert. I had joined a congressional campaign for the summer, and the campaign manager thought it would be beneficial for all staffers to take a Myers Briggs Type Indicator test.

My result?

INFP.  (That's an introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiver for anyone wondering!)

I was shocked.

I was known in high school as the "performer." I loved the stage. I was passionate and outspoken, not afraid to speak my mind. In college, I was no different. I boldly advocated for causes near and dear to my heart.  I was the girl in pearls, marching to the beat of her own high heels. could I be an introvert?  

To me, it seemed like a fault. In my mind, extroverts were fun, social, outgoing. Introverts were shy, self-centered, and indifferent. I couldn't be one of those people.

Or could I?

When I first read my results, I didn't understand the meaning of the word "introvert" which quite literally means "to turn inward." Through this exercise, I learned that being an introvert or extrovert isn't so much about your demeanor in social situations (though it can definitely have an effect on that); instead, it's more about the source of your energy.   The extrovert turns outward for rejuvenation.  The introvert turns inward.

It made complete sense.

Sure, I could perform on a stage, but when the curtain closed, I preferred unwinding at home to hitting the local Applebee's with fellow cast members.

And sure, I loved politics, and I could charm a room full of donors if I needed to, but at the end of the night, you wouldn't find me at the bar with the cool kids.  You'd instead find me kicking off my heels and calling my boyfriend to tell him how things went.

I enjoy people, but on the whole, they wear me out. After a party, I am almost always completely drained and in desperate need of "me" time. I naturally turn inward, not outward.

And that, friends, is what makes me an introvert.

But why, you ask, does it matter?

Well, because God made me that way.

And He made me that way for a reason.

In the past seven years, I've learned that my introversion isn't something to overcome.  It's a gift to be nurtured and protected.

God fearfully and wonderfully made me as an introvert.  But first and foremost, he designed me not to turn inward, but upward.  I've heard people argue that Jesus himself was an introvert because of how much he withdrew into isolation when he was here on earth. But over and over again as I read these accounts, I notice that Jesus wasn't necessarily turning inward.  He was turning upward (Luke 5:16).

In the next post, I hope to dig into what it looks like to be an upward-focused introvert and to discuss some of the temptations and struggles that come with the introvert territory, as well as some of the great blessings.  But for now, it's Friday night, and I need to unwind, so please excuse me as I curl up on the couch with a blanket, some ice cream, and an episode of Saved by the Bell. ;)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Mother's Offering

Lord, take this load of laundry,
take these pots and pans,
take these dirty diapers,
make them gold within your hands.

Be pleased with empty bottles
lying all around,
Be pleased with baggy sweatpants
and the dishes that abound.

God in Heaven, I have nothing else
to offer you today.
I am weak, exhausted, weary,
Be pleased in that, I pray.

Take my sleepless nights, Lord,
Take my darkest days,
Take my triumphs and my failures,
Let them all be to your praise.

Though it's not much, I lay it all
at the alter of the King.
Let me be a pleasing sacrifice.
This is all I have to bring.

Take my tears, my faith, obedience,
Be pleased, O Lord, with me.
This is all I have to offer,
All I am, Lord, all to thee.

Friday, February 7, 2014

An introvert walks into a party...

I wrote this in an attempt to demonstrate to my husband how I often feel in social situations.  No pity or guilt necessary...just thought some might be able to relate.  I hope to follow up at a later date with what God is teaching me as one of his introverted children.  This paints a good picture to start with.  

We round the corner and step through the doorway, greeted by hand shakes and social niceties. Quickly forgotten in a sea of faces, I turn to my bag, hoping that it will grant me momentary relief. Faithful friend. Maybe if I pretend I’m busy, it won’t be painfully obvious that I don’t belong.

The room is a-chatter, but all I can hear is the beat of my own heart, racing, as it wonders who will be the first to cross the line. His face is one of sympathy and partial obligation. We waltz the waltz of weather and work. The orchestra slows as the song comes to an end, and he’s off to dance another dance with a more interesting girl.

My dance card is empty so I excuse myself to go powder my nose. That should get me through at least one more song unnoticed. I refill my drink, nodding at the man behind the bar. Sipping ever-so-slowly in hopes that no one, or someone, will approach me.

An announcement saves me. Organized fun. As the crowd gathers in, it’s as though I belong. But I don’t. And I won’t. No matter how hard I try. I’m just not one of “those” people. The kind people like.

I offer to help. Another tactic I’ve learned to make myself invisibly visible. I’ve made my mark on the party. Remember, I served the cake?

I watch as the others enjoy food and friends. Counting the seconds down in my head. I smile, but no one smiles back in return. They’re too busy eating the cake that I served.

I grab my coat as the party comes to an end. Almost free, just a few quick goodbyes (which I dread). I offer my thanks as I step out the door, round the corner and head back to my car. Faithful friend in tow.