Wednesday, March 7, 2012

True Confessions

I am an introvert.

According to Myers/Briggs, an INTJ, to be exact:  
Introverted Intuition with Thinking.  
Oh my! This describes me to a "T."  

As an introvert, I turn inward to think, feel, process and decipher situations and feelings.  I always seem to be on a quest for truth; wanting above all else, to get to the key issue in a circumstance.  And because of how God made me and because of His hand upon me, He has turned me to Him and His word, as well as other true sources of His general revelation, for answers to life's twists and turns.  As an introvert, I enjoy reading, journaling, and time alone - any contemplative activity to keep the peace within.

Most of the pros and cons of my personality have been evident to me for a long time.  For pros, I am highly creative and visionary, perfectionistic and independent.  For cons, I am stubborn and unrealistic, critical and independent.  Yet thankfully, the Lord graciously continues to reveal my blind spots - especially because my sinful depravity is always clouding pure vision. 

The biggest reveal has been my "passive/aggressive" behavior in close relationships.  In the Myers/Briggs explanation of my "personality stereotype," when under stress I tend to be overly sensitive to others' criticism, expressing my feelings in uncontrolled ways, behaving excessively, and just acting impulsively.  In my case, these are the times, sadly and sinfully, I've burned bridges.

Life gets very weary when I am surrounded by people for an extended period of time.  I am calmed and "centered" when I can have uninterrupted time of contemplation.  This was very evident when DH whisked me away for two days sans children just before Caedmon was born.  By the end of the two days, we drove home in silence because my brain was free from thought, my body was free from stress, and my senses were full of beauty.  Living with three children, I rarely have 40 seconds of my own thoughts at a time.  Then, add other people into the mix for any length of time and I am drowning in too much energy.  And that, I believe, is the mark of these particular personalities - the amount of external energy one can handle healthily.  An extrovert is empowered by other's energy, while an introvert is drained by others.

Never have I felt this intensity more than during this past pregnancy and now with three children.  I have not wanted to come out of my cave!  Too much energy out there in relationship land!  I feel the need to share this with the general public because if I haven't already offended some friends and family with my passive/aggressive behaviors, I have committed the sin of omission by simply avoiding family and friends as I seek to maintain my solitude.  Or, the third, which is typical of my M.O., just not being truthful at all about my need to retreat, for fear of hurting someone's feelings.  (Thus, being more fearful of man than God.)

The Lord continues to patiently lead me to understand my need for Him during this season.  I am struggling with a highly sensitive season, feeling comfortable exposing my true vulnerable state to only my husband and children and a few longtime friends.  This is a season of adjustment physically and emotionally for me.  I am highly overwhelmed by others' needs (including my own children's some of the time) and sensitive to others' judgments of me right now.  It is enough to be dealing with the sin that is rampant in me and in my home. 

However, the good in this is that I see my need to cling to Christ out of sheer inability to muster up strength within myself to act consistently godly.  It is good to be at the end of oneself to remind us that we are frail and incapable of being godly without the Holy Spirit acting in and through us.  We have a Savior who is transforming us into His likeness and is mainly concerned with sanctifying His bride for His glory on the day of His appearing!  He is concerned for His glory!  He will act on our behalf, because it is HIS behalf - especially when we call upon Him as, "Our Very Present Help in time of trouble!"  Psalm 46:1.

God's word is nourishment.  When we need to cling to the Rock of our Salvation, His Word of Truth upholds us, inflates our spirits, and lifts us out of the mud and mire.  (For reading on being in the mud and mire, Psalm 69 is candid.)  The psalmist is so raw and vulnerable when he sings, Psalm 63:

"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
     my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me."

sdg