When the empty nest syndrome began staring me down this summer I knew I was going to have a lot more time on my hands, and even though I didn’t understand why I knew that my tendency was going to be to hole up in my house and be quite happy to be alone — to close up inside myself and write, write and write some more. I asked the Lord, “What are you requiring of me in this new season?”
See, I know that I don’t have to do anything but be in order to gain my Father’s love. He created me and therefore, He loves me, the end. I don’t have to participate in a weekly Bible study, daily quiet times or even go to a fellowship regularly. Those things aren’t bad, of course, but none of them gain me any more love or acceptance than I’ve already been given. He loves me today as much as He ever will. I also know that there are things the Father desires for us to do in our lives and while His love doesn’t depend on those things, He wants to live full lives and when we are obedient what His desires call for, we get the chance to press deeper, to know Him better and to experience that love on a whole new level.
His answer to my question made me roll my eyes and and then laugh a little. He said, “Be relational. Get out of your house.”
“Okay, okay,” I said, shaking my head. “I get the point.”
It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I came across this article about introverts on my Facebook feed that I really started to understand why the Father was asking me to get out of my house. It goes through a number of different tell-tale signs of introverts, and as I read through the list I felt like I was reading a map of my own brain. Now not all of them apply, I don’t think I’ve ever been called too intense (#5.) and I think I’ve only ever once been called an old soul (# 18). But many of the rest of them are spot on.
#3 — I often feel alone in a crowd. I close down when I’m in a group of people I’m not familiar with. Baby and Wedding showers are one of my least favorite social gatherings, so if you’ve seen me at one, it’s because I really love the person we’re celebrating. Put me in a room full of people I know, though, and I’ll gladly display my sarcasm and wit!
#7. I love downtime. I love chilling and I don’t have to be entertained all the time, which is the polar opposite of my husband who gets extremely bored if he has to stay home all day, any day.
That brings me to #11 which says, “You’re in a relationship with an extrovert.” Um yes, multiple actually. My husband is the life of the party, even when there is no party. He is so outgoing, sometimes I’m jealous that he can be so comfortable around people he’s never met before. My BFF is one of the most outgoing people I know. I gladly followed in her wake when we were teens because I didn’t have to do anything. I was her sidekick and it meant that I was in the cool crowd without actually having to prove that I was capable of cool. Even today you will see me surrounding myself with people who are far more outgoing and outspoken then I am.
#22 is the most accurate, of course because it says, “You are a writer.” Nuff said, right?
So many others hit the nail on the head, and many of them were things I had previously recognized about myself, but I didn’t know that when they were added up they equaled a first-class Introvert. I didn’t know why I could walk in to a store, see someone I knew on the other side, and immediately turn around and walk out so I wouldn’t have to say hello. I thought I was a horrible person, but it turns out I just detest small talk and superficiality — classic introvert tendencies.
The day after I read that article I had a baby shower to go to. Nightmare for this newly discovered introvert. I had a really hard time because I knew about two people in the room (besides the one being celebrated), and those two people seemed to know everyone, so it wasn’t like I could monopolize their attention. I sat down on the couch and told myself, “It’s okay. I’m an introvert.”
Oh what a dangerous crutch this discovery turned out to be. My husband recognized it as quickly as I did and I heard the Lord reminding me of what he’d asked of me during this new phase of life of having all this time to myself. “Get out of your house. Go be relational.”
I am trying. At the end of this week I will have been with people that I love all week long, not just because the Father challenged me to, but because I really do love them, and I want them to know that even though my nature is to stay home in my PJ’s and be introspective, I want to grow and invest in my relationships. I value people and solace.
Being an introvert certainly isn’t bad, but I think I’ve been hiding behind it for a long time and now the challenge is maybe to just stand beside it and take a few steps ahead of it eventually. We’ll see.
I came across another, more humorous look at introverts right here. Take a look if you need a laugh. I don’t know what all the cats are about — If introverts are partial to cats, then I’m out. 😉
What personality type are you? Do you enjoy being alone? Do you run from people you know at the mall too?
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