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Archive for May 3rd, 2013

So, are you an innie or an outie? Such a private question for such a public forum! I mean really, could I get much more up close and personal? Next thing you know I will ask if you are a conservative or liberal!

This question came to me as I was out walking near my neighborhood (instead of my favorite trail) this evening. I was walking along, minding my own business, and thought to myself … I am going to change my Facebook status when I get home to “I just went to my most favorite church … a walk with my beast, and my Creator.” Then I thought to myself …”now that’s a good way to get excommunicated.”

But, reality is … it is my favorite church! There are NO DISTRACTIONS for my undiagnosed ADD to be preoccupied with. The air always smells delightful (except with my beasty has been stealing beef jerky again). The view is perfect … and changes slightly every day. The songs are always fresh and new, yet timeless … birds do have a way with tunes. And (gulp) … there are no people to distract me from the one I want to worship …

Which beings me to my original question … are you an innie or an outie? Well (confession time), I am an innie … but I’m not (just) talking about my belly button. I’m talking about my personality. I am an introvert, who lives her life as an extrovert (I feel so much better admitting that … how about we scrap the blog, and eat chocolate?).

Please understand, I do like people … honest! But being with people for many hours, drains my battery … drains my energy. I need a chance to be without people to recharge, and then I can be social again. But, out society is pretty intolerant of the introverts need for ‘alone time’. In schools we encourage ‘group work’ and ‘group projects’. In churches we encourage ‘fellowship’ and ‘small groups’ and family retreats. In universities we encourage double or multi-person dorm rooms. For the shy person, our society tries to ‘bring them out’, for the autistic child we restrict them from time alone.

For me, so much of my everyday experience is had as an extrovert. The success of my job, working as a Special Ed. Assistant (which I love), is dependent on my being very much with people, social and … extrovert. My hubby’s job, as a pastor, means that being with people, socializing and being … extrovert, is part of my ‘job’ in supporting him.

Once my professional and church socializing are over, I really struggle to have the social-energy to have close, intimate friendships. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the people I work with, and consider many to be friends. And there are many people at church who I love and care for deeply,and our relationships are not church focused, but heart focused. But, after spending many hours each week with people I ‘have’ to spend time with, to have the energy to develop friendships beyond the already socially demanding life we live, is a real struggle for me.

After a week of work, followed by a Sunday (and often part of Saturday) of church, my batteries are usually dead in the water. And I MUST get out … alone (and my sweet and thoughtful family, who know that if it is good for momma to get out, alone, it is even better for them that I do … smart family I must say).

But I am a bit of a weirdo in how I get alone time. I have two favorite ways to recharge (aka escape reality, or be alone). One is that I go to a movie. I know it makes no sense! I go to a crowded theater to be alone? But it works for me! I drive there, alone. I get my p-corn (with real butter) and eat it, alone. I sit in the midst of many people, alone. And, when the lights dim, I am alone … and transported far away from reality!

My second ‘escape’ from people is to go for a walk … alone (well, not totally alone, the beast always accompanies me … but 🙂 she never expects me to talk to her). In my seeking alone time, I never walk in areas that are unpopulated. I walk in places and at times when I know there will be others there (for safety and for sanity).

You see I am a conundrum! I really don’t know if I want to be with people, or away from people. So, am I an introvert, in extrovert clothing? Or vise versa?

Maybe, humanly speaking, I am an introvert, in the sense that I need to be alone (or more specifically, non verbal) to recharge and re-energize my soul. But, I do love people, and desire to be part of people’s lives, walking through life with others. And maybe, I am not alone in this. And maybe, forcing group-related interactions is not beneficial to all parts of a community (be it a school, church, club, workplace, etc.).

Maybe, some of us are better members of our community, of our society, if we are freed to be who we were created to be … thinkers, problem-solvers, philosophers, writers, artists … or conversely, politicians, salespeople, party-throwers, talk show hosts, preachers, teachers …

If we were all the same, our planet earth might still be flat, and so might our society be … just sayin’ 😉

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