I am an introvert. According to every personality test I’ve ever taken.
And I’d agree with all of those tests.
Being around people makes me tired. Drains me dry. When I’m in a large group, especially with people I’m comfortable with, then I actually tend to try to be the center of attention. Sometimes I’m even hyper to the point of ridiculousness. But all the time, people make me TIRED.
It’s probably one of the reasons that blogging has been so energizing. I get to interact with people and share my heart, but I get to do it from the comfort of my aloneness.
I spent many years of my life succumbing to my desire to be alone sometimes and allowing it to turn into loneliness. I would bury myself too deep. Instead of taking a breather and just letting myself get some space, I pushed people away. I made choices that would leave me alone when I really needed company. When I desperately needed the reminder that I am not the only person in the world. That my suffering is personal, but it is also global. That God made us for community, including me, this serious introvert. YES, God even made INTROVERTS for a purpose in His community.
It always comforts me when I read the Word and see how Jesus would go off by Himself sometimes. Even away from His disciples. Or He’d limit His personal space to just a few people.
Ultimately, He left this earth on His own, but when He arose, He immediately went back into community. He showed Himself to those who had left Him, abandoned Him, walked away because of fear and self-preservation. He showed them His glory.
When I started recovery, I had almost lost my ability to make true and genuine connections with other people. I’d spent so much time up to that point trying to mask what was really going on inside me, at my home, and with my family. I didn’t want people to really know me, but I still wanted them to accept me.
In the program, this entire illusion of hiding is done away with, and the lie of loneliness is put to death. Most of time, I do believe that loneliness is a choice. God has given me a support system. He has given me a lovely church family and a large CR community. He has given me accountability. He has given me friendships. And He has shown me how to reach out to others (but I’d be lying if I led you all to believe that I ALWAYS reach out to other people. I don’t.)
When I’m waiting on something, however, I often fight loneliness. Despite all the tools at my disposal. Despite how much the people in my life love me and have been there for me when I’m in need, I still default to self-reliance which eventually turns into self-pity which leaves me feeling very lonely.
I’ve also learned, not just because of my own journey but also because of the sharing hearts of others, that this struggle with how to live and use community is not unique to me. In fact, I read a post by another 31 days blogger, Chelsea on this topic that really says much of how I feel about community. (Check her blog out! It’s really great. Such a genuine heart and unique voice. Love what she’s doing for 31 days, but I think she’s well worth getting to know beyond the challenge!) Many of my CR friends have also shared their hearts as to how they struggle with loneliness.
This awareness of own struggle and the struggle of others has opened my eyes to a new reality. We need each other. Especially when we are waiting on God or going through a big hurt or even waiting on something good to happen. When babies are born, weddings are held, lives are lost, spouses are away…when relapses happen, when victories occur….when the day is good, when the day is bad…we need each other.
My prayer for this day is that you, my dear friend, would not feel lonely. That you would reach out in whatever way you can to someone you love or to someone you need or to someone new. Mostly, I pray that you would reach out to God and let Him love you by showing you that no matter what happens…you are never alone.
One of my favorite reminders to myself over the last couple of years when I’ve felt lonely is this:
-Even if I’m right…even if NO ONE in the whole world is thinking about me at this moment. Jesus is. Even if no one loves me right now. Jesus does. Even if no one will choose me over something else in this moment of my need. Jesus will.