Over the past couple of months I have come to a grand conclusion about myself.
I’m an introvert?!!
While this doesn’t seem like a grand discovery, for me it really is. It explains quite a bit, actually. It explains why I can interact so freely on social media and email but I get overwhelmingly nervous in big crowds of people or even one on one with people that I don’t know well. It explains why it’s nearly impossible for me to walk up to someone and introduce myself. It also explains why I’ve never been comfortable up in front of groups of people *except* for when I was in drama during High school. (Reason being, I got to be someone else, not myself)
I read an article this morning on The Gospel Coalition called “The Introverted Mother”. That was REALLY eye opening as to why it’s so draining for me to be with my kids. Especially since Ezra arrived. Naomi was always so quiet and self-sustained. Ezra on the other hand is constantly loud, constantly moving, and has to be constantly interacted with. Cue the exhaustion and anxiety! Seriously, few people know just how deep the struggle with Ezra has been for me. I tend to deal with life through the scope of humor. So lots of people get to see me joke about the non-stop crazy things my son does all day via Twitter and Facebook. But it’s hard. Overwhelmingly hard some days. One reason that it is hard is because Ezra is hard. He’s beautiful and he’s funny! But he’s also more than a handful!! The other reason, I realize now after reading this blog, is that I am wired differently. I am a lover of quiet. I cannot stand chaos or noise. I cannot even relax if the TV is on. So, it’s not that I can’t stand my kids but a great part of why I always long for breaks or time alone isn’t because I don’t love them. It’s because that is my personality. Cue the FREEDOM!
I hear what you are thinking, because it is what I was thinking too, initially.
“You can’t use that to excuse your selfishness.”
I’m in no way making excuses. BUT the truth remains that God wires all of us in a certain way. Some of us are loud and bubbly and love to stay busy. Some of us tend to be quiet observers in group settings and want to sit down and cry at the very thought of leaving our home more than twice a week. Because we are sinners, our personality traits are tainted. So the loud people can be bent towards attention seeking and the quiet people can be bent towards reclusion. It’s why when life gets hard, I disappear into my brain. I escape. I hide. Which, if left long enough without seeking the Lord, or my husband drawing me out, can lead to depression very easily.
Really, it isn’t making excuses at all. BUT if you understand how you are made and what makes you tick, it is easier to give yourself grace. It’s also easier to avoid the guilt from just believing it’s ALL sin. Because for people like me, that just makes you downward spiral to depression even faster. We need not repent for how we have been made. Having alone time is not sinful. It is helpful to be refreshed because it gives you the energy to give yourself to your family.
Secondly, we introverts need to be constantly hiding in the gospel. Because we don’t live alone in this world. We do have to interact with people and being a mom with loud kids is especially hard for those of us who really are wired to love quiet. Alone time is not always practical or attainable. Living outside of ourselves is a constant battle and it is impossible for me to lovingly serve my family apart from remembering that Christ has freed me to. Jesus left peaceful Heaven and perfect unity with his Father, and came into the world FULL of Chaos to commune with the crazies! He didn’t just commune with them. He rescued them!! He did what we introverts could never do. He loved perfectly in the chaos. There is total quiet rest for us in the gospel!
Understanding that I am an introvert really has been freeing. It’s an *ah-ha!* moment. Thankful for the gospel and Christ alone that can set me free from my sinful bent towards despair and reclusion and helps me (as Kimm Crandall would say) Embrace the Chaos!!