I spent two hours in the outside world today. I smiled at the library lady, was quite friendly with the women in the Target fitting rooms and checkout counters, made small talk with the guy at the credit union. I genuinely like to be friendly and sweet, wanting Jesus to shine through my actions and words even if He doesn’t come up in conversations about depositing checks and whether or not my coupon app works with the sale (it does.). But when my truck pulls up our long, winding driveway, I turn it off and sit in the silence for 10 minutes before I even open the door.
Last week, my alarm went off early and I visited my favorite smoothie shop before driving the hour to my boyfriend’s grandma’s old house, where we ran errands and moved furniture and packed glassware while his parents ran the garage sale and sister and grandma cleaned. His family is wonderful, but constant communication and continual doing ran me down into almost utter silence and complete loss of appetite by 9 o’clock at night. My boyfriend drove me halfway home because he didn’t want me driving like that. (and by the time we reached his house, time with just him had me more energized and slightly alive again.)
I am an introvert.
A full-blown, completely shut down when overstimulated, make-myself-sick-sometimes introvert.
This can make things exciting when I’m around people for more than 4 straight hours. Yet, I’ll be spending 16 hours a week at college, 18-22+ hours babysitting, along with church and spending time with my family and oh yes, my boyfriend would like to see me occasionally. Friends? Um, how does Christmas break sound? I’ll meet you for white chocolate peppermint mochas then.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to give myself time to “be still and know that [He] is God” while gearing up for a crazy busy schedule that doesn’t show signs of slowing down. At the same time, I need to not be continually withdrawn or distracted, closed up in my room. The people in my life deserve my love whether or not class was completely exhausting or H only napped for half an hour. When it comes down to it, it’s not about me. That statement probably infuriates a large portion of the population, but it’s true. It’s not about me.
It’s not about me.
It’s about taking time to notice my little sisters and how our conflicting schedules hardly give me time to see them. It’s baking cookies or reading stories or just listening. It’s about being fully present at dinner and not just heading straight upstairs afterwards. It’s about a phone call with my boy or going out with him and not letting everything I have to do hang over my head. It’s about loving people with the love of Christ, because when my strength is gone, His is the only thing getting me through. He is the reason why I can’t hide, can’t dwell in my selfish wanting to be alone and alone 90% of my time.
This might sound messed up to some people. And yes, there’s definitely a balance between working/overstimulating myself to the ground every day. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, and need to be wise with how we handle our bodies. But the Christian life involves giving up your desires, for the sake of others and for being Jesus to everyone you encounter. He Himself had times of wanting to be alone, and instead ministered to the people around Him. He also withdrew to spend time with His Father consistently. I want to learn from His example. I want to find balance the way Jesus did.
Some nights, I’ll turn off my phone and shut the door and just plug away at school all evening in the quiet. Some nights I’m going to seriously mess this balance thing up and cry in the shower before bed. Some nights, I’m going to feel like I’m drowning in homework and housework and noise.
But I know a Lifeguard. He’ll pull me up and stand me on the Rock and wrap His arms around me as He whispers “Rest, my child. You are Mine. It’s going to be okay.”
He made me to be quiet, so quiet in His arms I shall be.
(written a few weeks ago before fall began.)