It’s perhaps difficult to comprehend, if you’re not a reflective introvert, the potency of society’s, and yes, the church’s implicit and at times explicit messages that you’re in some way defective and odd. Being reflective, inward focussed, artistic and quiet is at best weird and at worst a curse. A curse to be fixed.
It’s hard even if you are that reflective introvert to always consciously realise that you’re picking up these messages and taking them into yourself. I have spent years feeling like I’m failing at life and relationships if I don’t battle against my introversion/creative side to grow in more extroverted traits. And its true that none of us can use our personalities as excuses to not work push ourselves to grow in other areas. But that’s true of all of us.
This isn’t a negative or mournful post. I feel like I’m healing. As I grow in finding my true identity in Jesus Christ, I find myself more free to be who God made me. It feels good. The way I think about things, the way I express myself is good and has something to contribute, something the world’s largely deemed quaint and pushed to the edges, I think. So it’s important.
For example, I haven’t engaged in art for about 8 years. The reason? I could never do art just a hobby, it would need to be an all of life thing. And I decided I couldn’t devote my life to art, as I was pursuing Christian ministry, which I’m currently studying for. Well, yes, I still want to do that and not devote myself to artistic expression for its own sake, however I fundamentally underestimated what an integral part of my life, my way of thinking and communicating, it is. I really struggle with social interaction in some ways – I’m usually only comfortable really opening up to a few people, and am pretty quiet around most of the rest of even my friends, though I love them dearly. But I’m starting to realise that chatty, think-on-my-feet small talk isn’t really where I’m most comfortable when it comes to communication…and that’s hard (I’m not, by the way, a total social outcast). But I have other ways in which I more naturally communicate, that are slower, more intuitive, but which communicate things that can often get lost. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I’m finding it helpful!
And so I will pursue that in my life, my Christian ministry, my relationships. I will be the me God made me to be, and I can be that because I’m loved and cherished because of Jesus.
Life is good.