For most of my adult life I have enjoyed being alone. I am an introvert in that I get recharged by being alone. Alone with my thoughts, alone with my jobs and chores, and alone with the Lord. I enjoy events and holidays because I get to see people I love and I enjoy visiting with family and friends and Sisters because I like connecting with other people, but I can only handle so much time with others before I need to be by myself. Even at home, I need that time to do my own “thing”. Usually, it’s lesson planning, ironing, grocery shopping, or rarely, reading that I do alone. It’s so valuable that I’ve stayed up until 1 or 2 in the morning just to get that time.
Some of my friends and family get energy and charge when with others. In every mom’s group, church, homeschool group, and job I have ever been a part of, there have been both. I really thought something was wrong with me because I didn’t get that energy, or life, from others. I got it when I had “my time” and then I was able to come together with others and be a good friend, daughter, sister, mother, and wife. There has always been a lot of guilt attached to the feelings I’ve had when I needed to be alone.
When it comes to Christ, and His life in me, I am learning not to expect my life to look like a picture of what others have. I have learned through trial and fire, through time, and through growth that Christ doesn’t leave me hanging out to dry. When I accept what He says, that I am a part of His body, I don’t need to follow it up by becoming an extrovert. I was recently invited to begin meeting with a local women’s group. It’s just a casual group, free of religion, Bible study, politics, or anything remotely controversial. When I was first invited to go I turned it down. My weeks have been so busy and I missed my husband so much after almost 2 years of not getting our time together, so I said no every time I was invited. Well, now life has calmed down, I am settled in and happy as a clam and I am ready to start building friendships with Sisters in Christ.
What I know now that I wish I knew then is that I had a lot to learn about myself as a women in Christ. It’s hard when I try to be something I’m not because I don’t know who I am. What works for others, as far as getting lifted up and built up and built together with other Christians, is not necessarily what works for me. How do I know this? I have befriended both introverts and extroverts and they’ve all had Christ in them. And if not a Christian, they’ve still all been lovely people. I’ve needed both in my life. The introverts are wonderful listeners and the extroverts have been great advice givers. Christ Himself, went off on His own to spend time with the Father when He walked on earth. I look at that quality about Him and take note when I feel pressure to get recharged by doing more things and being with more people.
When I was younger I would have called myself an extrovert. Into my early adulthood I was constantly trying to make plans and have things going on. I felt like my value depended on my social life. It became very clear to me recently that I hated being alone with myself because I hated how I felt when I was alone and I couldn’t stand my thoughts, my fears, and anxieties all of which I had to face when I was alone.
My life changed when I met a friend who introduced me to a little red book, which led me to meeting a Christ that is alive. When I began to learn the truth about who I am and that all those things I hate about myself can die if I choose to die to myself, Christ could emerge. The more I hear His voice inside of me, the more I realize that the insecurities are just leftover shadows of the old life that died, the more I can love Him. In light of this, I can actually enjoy being the natural introvert that I am.
Next Monday night I will be going to the Sisters meeting. I am not going in order to find something or Someone in them, but because I am complete in Him and I would like to be connected with others. Knowing this in advance with change how I experience my relationships and my experience in every Christ filled group. My husband, on the other hand is the opposite. He feels dry and doesn’t enjoy being alone. Because of him and how I see his way of getting that life infused, I can understand without judgement how extroverts live, without judgement. It used to really bother me when friends of mine were getting together all the time and I was only getting together with them here and there. I didn’t want to change, but I wanted them to because it hurt my feelings, I felt left out all the time. It was very selfish of me because I didn’t realize that being with others is how some people get that re-charge. I didn’t have a healthy understanding of myself.
Thanks for reading about my mind opening revelation. If you are a friend of mine, thanks for putting up with my need to be alone. Have a wonderful way and enjoy being who you are in Christ today- introverted or extroverted.