The extrovert. The introvert. The introverted extravert.
I promise that last one is a thing. I know this because I am this.
I’m not the least bit shy or intimidated in a room of any size that’s full of people. But I can typically only take so much. As a pastor’s wife and leader in our church, Sunday’s take so much from me that Monday’s rarely find me out of my pajamas, let alone out of my home. It’s not that I can’t leave my home on Monday. But I learned a while ago to set that day aside as a time of recharge. It serves me really well and affords me what I need to live out my purpose with strength on the other days of the week.
I recharge best in solitude. My husband recharges best surrounded by his inner circle. Depending on how you are wired, you may find yourself in a wide variety of places on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. There’s nothing that should be considered better or worse about where you find yourself.
There are tendencies however, that could be considered more or less healthy, if we find these behaviors to be out of balance.
My friend Angie shared a page from her quiet time this morning on her Facebook, and as I read it, my mind uncovered a beautiful truth that I’d never quite pieced together in such a way before reading it. It got me thinking on the topic of living in community and openly sharing in life with the people around us, as well as the many reasons I hear from those who struggle to participate in it. I believe scripture is clear on the subject, full of grace and truth in the way that it teaches us about it, but clear in its teaching and example that regardless of whatever personality He’s designed in us, that we are equally designed for a life lived in abundant community.
Here’s what she shared. (Taken from Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies.)
Before I elaborate on his remarks, I wanted to share first why this stirred up so much emotion in me. Have you ever wanted something for someone else? Something wonderful that you’ve experienced, and you want that same wonderful experience for them too?
This is how I feel on the idea of freedom. Specifically in my mind, freedom from chains of fear, insecurity, anxiety, sadness, overwhelm, frustration, of feeling unloved and without purpose… freedom from the bondage that comes to the life of a person who is trapped in any of those very heavy things. And when I see opportunity for that type of breaking free in a person’s life, but then watch them choose not to step into the difficult actions required for them to obtain that kind of freedom, it breaks my heart. That’s not a cliche either… it really affects me when someone I’m close to is unable to do the thing that I know could bring amazing change in their life.
One of the most prevalent ways that I’ve found this to show itself in a persons life, is when the chaos and the noise has become so loud, and so heavy, that emotionally they may feel too weighted down to filter through it, and it becomes “easier” to pop in their earbuds, find the space to be “alone” and stay there.
It feels quieter. And they might let a person or two sit next to them every once in a while as long as they support them in their efforts and don’t rock their boat. After all, that boat isn’t shaking anymore. But it also isn’t taking them to land. And unless you’re a mermaid, all the sitting in the stillness of that water still won’t take you to the land of the living. And isn’t life what you’re looking for?
Tripp spells out the solution beautifully. Scroll back up and re-read the last paragraph of that page.
There is beautiful imagery to be seen when Jesus talks to us about taking his yoke upon ourselves…
The purpose of yoking two oxen together for example, is this… The yoke keeps the two animals looking forward, and permits them to stand next to each other without unnecessary struggle or wrestling between the two. It’s a peaceful way of joining them together. And the point of yoking them together is that there is work to be done. But Jesus doesn’t speak of work when he invites us to take his yoke does he? In fact, He specifically tells us that we’ll find rest.
A real rest. That is realized when we give up and surrender.
Surrender our preferences. Surrender the way we thought things should’ve gone in our lives. Accept that even though something truly and genuinely terrible may have happened, that with the point of it all being found in eternity, and never on earth or in this life, it may be horrible, but I don’t have to carry the burden of ensuring its justification. I don’t have to carry the burden of making it right. It can just be. Without my daily energy given to it. We can surrender our rights and view our lives through the perspective of Romans 12:1-2 and give of ourselves and our ideas as a living sacrifice. We can let our minds be changed to align with the truth of God’s Word, knowing that His design for truth is also equally yoked with copious amount of grace.
As a matter of fact, I have to imagine that as we take on His yoke, we might find that we begin plowing new trenches that will allow us to realize exactly what He’s teaching in those verses in Romans that are mentioned above.
Our personalities are gifts from our Creator. Divinely designed to allow us to fulfill the individual callings on each of our lives. Even the introverted ones that are more prone to quietness. There’s a beauty in your life that serves a necessary role as you make up your part in the body of Christ. But anytime we find ourselves using our natural tendencies as a crutch to escape the sometimes difficult work needed in our lives for us to find legitimate peace and rest and a life that’s fruit yields abundance, let’s look back to the beautiful solution found in Tripp’s writings today and ultimately in the Matthew 11:28-30 portion of God’s Word that he shared today, and surrender what might seem easier for the moment by letting God’s power be shown in our lives for the transformative ability that it has.
Angie, thank you for sharing what God is doing in your life today!