Monday, June 22, 2009

Surprise, Surprise!

Sometimes I feel like I should join a Support Group called Introverts Anonymous. The reason why this group would meet anonymously and be known by first name only is because everyone in the group, including myself, is an introvert disguised as an extrovert. Nobody ever believes me when I tell them I'm an introvert.

"But you're so cheerful and outgoing!" (Because most people think introverts are morose and ominously quiet!)

"But you're so talkative!" (As if introverts don't like to share what's on their mind!)

I share what's on my mind all the time. Maybe you can tell that- if you've visited here off and on over the months. I can easily articulate what's on my mind, what's bothering me, what I'm thinking about, what I'm hoping for. I've been articulating my thoughts for 40+ years. It's just that for the first 14+ years of my life, my diary was the main recipient of my thoughts.

Even then, being a quieter kid did not make me more of an introvert. An introvert is someone who refuels by being alone- or refuels better by having enough time alone as opposed to being with people all day long. Introverts can be very sociable- trust me on this. We can be pleasant and conversant. It's just that if we have to converse TOO much, we'll soon want to withdraw and get some time alone. We want to recalibrate our inner thermostat.

Give me a quiet beach and some good sunscreen and an iced tea and a good book- I will be one happy camper. (No, don't take me camping, please. I did enough of that when I was younger and in my mind, it's an arduous type of enjoyment, if you ask me. And remember, if you ask me, I will tell you what I think!)

Why am I bringing this up? Recently we were chatting with a couple that we've been getting to know better, and one of them could not believe me when I told him I was an introvert. His mouth hung open in disbelief. (Apparently we were doing enough chatting, and I was doing enough expressing of my opinions, that I did not look like the quintessential introvert!)

But you can always find tell tale signs of my introversion. For example, good bloggers post a lot of photos, and in particular, a lot of photos of themselves doing things, doing crazy things, smiling at the camera, etc. I don't like to post photos of myself. I'm an introvert, remember?!

Sometimes I want to share some thoughts with the world, and then leave the world behind and just be alone. Sometimes I want to hang out with loved ones and hear all their thoughts and laugh and joke around. But then I'll feel a need to get some time alone, by myself, later on. Maybe it's my way of getting my stability, getting my base line.

The only reason I bring this up is to mention that Christians can be introverts or extroverts. Surprise, surprise. And one of these is not holier than the other. Don't be over impressed by the gregarious hospitality of someone who invites someone to come stay with them for a week. If this person is an extrovert, they may not be straining at all in doing this. They're not more pious than an introvert who goes out of his way, out of his comfort zone, to reach out to someone and spend the day listening to them.

You really can't always tell when people are operating out of their comfort zone. Sometimes people are doing something that takes a great deal of faith and effort- and you would never know it. And sometimes people are doing wonderful things that everyone can see, and maybe they already have their reward, as Jesus said.

Now, I don't want anyone clapping their hands for me or commending me- BUT if I decide to post some photos, particularly of myself, I just want you to know it was a big step for me, being the introvert that I am! And if I don't wind up posting more photos here, well...it's cause I'm an introvert. I kinda want to stay hidden.

But I'll still keep chatting with you all here- even if you don't see my face, you'll hopefully see my heart. Everyone is welcome here at Faith Fuel- whatever your burden, whatever your hang up is, whatever your social orientation is. Extroverts, Introverts...God calls us all to Himself and we all shed our layers of protection the closer we get to Him.

4 comments:

Mike said...

It's interesting that we might judge people's spirituality by their behaviour, such as the person who always prays out loud long and hard. Maybe they find it difficult to stay quiet and listen! I've always understood it as, 'where do I mainly get my energy from?'. Like you I think I'm an introvert. I find the balance definitely falls on the side of getting energised by being alone, although sometimes I need other people to bring me out of a hole! I'm glad that we're all different. I think we need much more understanding of one another in this respect. Thanks Lauren!

LAUREN at Faith Fuel said...

Mike-
I grew up with a wonderful but very extroverted mother, and she's that person who prays loudly and long and hard! :) I tried for a long time to model after her, until I found out more about temperaments and how we each have a style of relating to the world (extroverted or introverted)and we need to be aware of how personality and temperament affect our way of expressing our Faith.

shanchere said...

I think I am an introvert as well. I love people, getting to know them, and being around them; but after awhile, I need time alone to process them. If I don't have a break to process them; I find myself feeling unbalanced, stressed, and a bit out of sorts with the very ones I love. Jesus, himself must have been somewhat introverted, as he often drew away from even His closest circle to be alone with his Father in quiet places.

MOMSWEB said...

A cyber high five from one introvert to another. I HAVE to follow you now (lol).