Some of you might laugh, but for a loong time now I’ve thought I was an introvert.
Before you keel over, I’ll qualify that….
I’ve said I’m a very extroverted introvert.
But I really really really love being alone.
I crave time by myself and get all kinds of antsy and cranky when I don’t get it.
Just the other morning after tackling a bunch of the girls’ needs (meals, diapers, playtime, etc) I finally had a lull in action, so I hauled out my Bible study workbook and was almost giddy to sit at the dining room table alone to work on my study while Avery napped and Grace was watching a show.
Poor Andy grabbed a snack and sat down at the table to enjoy it while browsing the web on his phone.
It was a crisp and juicy apple with almond butter and the noise about did me in.
I tried to overcome it and press on, but after reading the same sentence about 6 times and not having any idea what it said, I put my stuff away and retreated to the basement to fold laundry.
I ended up not only folding the laundry but also dealing with a bunch of clutter and purging some old stuff. My time was really productive and I was completely alone in the basement for almost 2 hours.
Did I feel charged up after that?
I was certainly less irritable and more ready to face the family.
I think it was good to take some time away from the action to enjoy a little quiet and productivity.
But I don’t think it actually energized me.
It’s more like my little “time out” was a re-set button.
It gave me time to pray and decompress so that I could come back to the family dynamic in a less irritable mood and with a greater capacity to serve and interact with my favorite people.
Let’s get to the whole, “You’re really an extrovert” part.
This past Sunday was FULL.
Like social interaction from sun up to sun down kind of full.
The kind of day that makes me anxious just thinking about it all week. I think about how it will all work out and I psych myself up to “be social” and engaged for an entire day.
I usually find myself wishing it was over with before it even starts because I feel so overwhelmed at the idea of it all.
Andy was sick on Sunday, so I took Grace to the 9am service at church, knowing that I would be baptizing a sweet young lady at the 11am service, just before my niece’s first birthday party at 11:30am.
Already I was feeling a little panicked at how tightly the day was structured.
The baptisms are often at the beginning of our church services, but this time they were at the end. This meant I attended the first service, dropped Grace off at home, came back and sat through the entire second service and then baptized my friend.
It was an awesome sermon, so I didn’t mind sitting through it twice and baptizing Charlotte was one of the most special things I’ve ever done.
After all that, I chatted with a few friends in the lobby, rushed home to grab both girls and then rushed over to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s house for the birthday party.
We were crazy late, but ended up staying to hang out for hours after the party was “supposed” to end. We talked, laughed, shared from our hearts and the kids had a ball playing together.
From there, I headed home and freshened up before heading out to my friend’s surprise 30th birthday celebration. We all talked and laughed and fondue’d until our bellies and hearts were full to overflowing.
I dropped my friend off at home and ended up chatting with her and her husband for over an hour.
At this point it’s after 11pm and as I get into the car to head home, I see that another friend has called and left a voicemail asking some questions.
Knowing she’s a night owl too, I suggested we talk on my way home.
That phone call ended up stretching to almost 2am.
For a grand total of 17 hours of almost non-stop social interaction on Sunday.
And you know what?
Instead of feeling drained and depleted when I fell into bed at 2am…I felt energized.
So full and overflowing with energy and satisfaction that I could hardly fall asleep.
It was like coming down off of some kind of high.
And I thought, “So you think you’re an introvert, huh?
Then I thought about the long stretches of glorious alone time that I’ve had at various points, and I realized that although I love those times, I don’t fall into bed feeling energized by them.
I usually get very deep into my mind. I sometimes spiral into an overwhelming introspection and feel kind of smothered by the end. I don’t usually want the extended alone time to end, but the thing that brings me up out of that emo place is time spent with people.
So I think I figured it out.
I’m mainly an extrovert.
I draw my energy from being with people.
But, I’ve struggled much of my life with being a pretender.
Trying so hard to come across a certain way, or hide parts of who I really am from people. I figure out what people want or need me to be and I become that for them. At least temporarily.
Always morphing and performing.
It’s not good.
So it’s exhausting. It makes me want to hide out from people so I don’t have to act. So I can just be who I am.
By the grace of God I’ve been slowly being delivered from the act. The dog and pony show, as I like to call it.
God has been peeling back layer after layer of my false self. Reedeming who I really am. Uncovering who He created me to be.
It’s been a gloriously painful process and I’m so very thankful for it.
And, I’m kind of cool with being an extrovert.
Being who I truly am with people and becoming energized by spending time with them.
It’s not bad.
Not bad at all :)