Can I be real with you?
So, for the past couple weeks, maybe months, I have begun to notice myself growing more and more introverted in my daily life. And to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure if that was a good thing or not. I first began noticing this change of attitude at the beginning of the semester. I noticed it. Friends and family noticed it. I was different. But the thing was, I had been feeling that way before then. I just never actually saw it until then.
Why is this such a big deal? Because I had always viewed myself as an extrovert. People that know me will tell you that I would be the first person in the room to start talking. If someone was sitting alone, I would be the first to sit next to them and then scare them away with all of my thought-provoking questions. How I haven’t scared everyone in my life away yet is beyond me? But then, out of nowhere, I go over to my friends’ apartment for a big gathering that we were having. You know, since we didn’t have school that next day, why not have a big get together and hang out all night? But as soon as I arrived, I immediately wanted to leave.
I was wondering why I didn’t feel excited about being there, or why I was so eager to go. I love these people so much, why do I not want to be with them?
If you don’t really know me, let me list of some moments I have had with my family and friends and hopefully this will make you just as confused with the situation as I am.
- Within the first few weeks of college, I took three friends I just met only a couple weeks prior on a road trip to Branson with my family.
- I once hosted a gathering in my tiny college dorm with about twenty people. I only had two chairs, a bed, and a bed that I turned into a couch.
- During my second semester of school, there was a tornado coming through town and we were hiding in the dining hall basement. I stood on a chair and felt led to pray over the entire group of people there. I can’t even think about how many people were in that basement.
- One summer at Falls Creek, I shared my testimony in front of a hundred people in our cabin. Not holding back any personal stuff, either. All real.
- I traveled all the way to Haiti, only knowing two people out of the eleven missionaries there and became instant friends with everyone there.
- Every job that I’ve enjoyed involved working with other people, whether serving, teaching, or just interacting with them.
I know it’s a short list, but the common thing is that I like being with people. I love people. So, why do I not like being around people now? Isn’t that being introverted?
Here’s the thing. No, I am not an introvert. I am also not an extrovert. None of us are really one or the other. Being an introvert or an extrovert isn’t about whether we like being around people or not, it’s how we decide we need to rest. We sometimes find ourselves resting differently in different seasons of life. And that’s what has been happening to me.
I used to be replenished whenever I was around that big group of friends. I felt refilled whenever we’d travel around Tulsa all day then hang out till 4 o’clock in the morning. That was how my mind was re-energized. Now, I find that I get replenished more when I am one on one with someone. I feel more refreshed whenever I travel around Tulsa all day but am by myself afterwards reading, writing, or just watching Parks & Rec (which I will argue to my grave is better than The Office).
So, what happened to me that caused me to change the way I rest? Honestly, I am still unsure. But I have a hunch. At one point in my life, with all of the traveling back and forth from home and Claremore, I found myself always going. I never stopped. I was working while taking classes and traveling at least six hours a week. In the midst of this, I was also trying to maintain healthy relationships with my friends that I no longer live in town with and my family that I have been away from for basically two years. At one point, my mind gave me no choice but to stop. I lost the joy of being around people, doing things I normally liked doing. Why?
Because I never stopped to rest with God. Yes, I tried so hard keeping up with everything and never stopped to find that moment to rest in Him. Whereas before, I had time to set apart for God, to read His Word, and to pray deeply to Him. Then I just stopped. I didn’t stop praying or reading, but I stopped resting. And now, I feel like God and I are making up for all of that time we had missed. That’s why its called “quiet time.” We need to be alone, in the “quiet”, with God and we need to make “time” for Him while doing so.
Here’s the importance of rest, in my perspective with this topic. We can like being around people or not, we can like being out in public or not, it doesn’t matter. Before we do anything, let us rest. I feel like we do and go and work just to find rest. What if we rested before we went and did those things? Meaning, what if the things we do were energized by the joy, the rest, the peace we find in God?
In Genesis, before Adam does anything once God makes him His image, it is said that God rested after creating. But He rested with Adam before He gave him instructions on what to do. In other words, Adam rested with God before he worked. And I think this concept applies to other things besides our jobs like our schooling, the time we spend with friends and family, the opportunities we take to serve at church or in our communities. If we don’t rest in God before we do any of those things, will we ever find complete peace? If we don’t rest, we just do things aimlessly. Which then leads us into a numbness, and there’s nothing more I fear than being numb. I don’t want to be numb towards God. I don’t want to be numb towards my family, my friends, my students. If I don’t want to be numb, I need to rest. Does that make me an introvert or an extrovert? I don’t think it matters. As long as God becomes my source of rest, I’ll be what He calls me to be.