I am an extreme introvert, which could also just be my physiological and psychological excuse for being an anti-social recluse-monestary-living wannabe who is afraid of public failure and would prefer to keep her nose in a book at all times. But I really think it is just that God created me to be an introvert. As an introvert, every time I interact with people, it has to make sense. It has to have a purpose or else it is sucking me dry of all my energy for no good reason. As an introverted pastor's wife, I won't lie...it can be a challenge. I often make a bee-line for the ladies room as soon as service is over. One, because coffee before church equals the need to make a beeline for the ladies room. Two, because I can hide for a few minutes and pull myself together before going out to "mingle" with people.
I will write more about this later, as I happen to be reading an excellent book titled "Introverts in the Church" lent to me by a fellow introvert.
Today I want to write a bit about the last two days and my Introverted Recovery and Detox. You see, I also have low blood sugar. If any of you have low blood sugar issues you know that when your blood sugar dips, you get jittery, anxious, spacey and may possibly lose some coherency and some social skills to boot. An introvert on people-overload looks a lot like someone with low blood sugar. And there are times when it gets extreme. Ryan was out of the country for two weeks and when he returned and went back to work, our kids went on Spring Break. I was on stimulus Overdose. Sometimes I calmly ask for an hour or two "time-out" in my room or to go on a walk...other times I demand that they all leave town. Thankfully God gave me three boys so I can suggest "wouldn't a boy's weekend be fun?" But usually I have lost all social skills when it gets really bad and I can't utter a complete sentence therefore it comes out more like..."go.now.must. sleep..."
So I sent them away for two days. And this is what I did: Yesterday I ate Ben and Jerry's chocolate brownie ice cream while looking at a facebook post about how nobody ever regrets eating healthy. This was at breakfast. I chain-watched movies on netflix until I found a new TV series to chain-watch on netflix. I wore my pajamas all day. I ate carrots out of a bag and crackers with my favorite dip for lunch and dinner. I didn't do dishes or laundry or vacuum or run errands or talk on the phone or even email. I did whatever I wanted. Whatever felt good at the time. As an introvert I felt better and better as yesterday went by and had no human interaction. From time to time the thought hit me that Ryan is preaching on Hedonism this Sunday - the pursuit of pleasure over all else. I sort of laughed about the irony while eating my chips and salsa and drinking coffee at 10 pm last night. By 2 am I finally willed my slightly addictive-personality self to turn off the computer and admit that I cannot watch 100 episodes of this show in one night...I woke up to a silent house. And it was really nice.
As an introvert I need those times of recovery and the permission to do nothing. By this morning, while I was tired from staying up all night, I was also refreshed. I walked around the house, opening windows. I turned on itunes to my favorite worship music and started making french macarons (which if you know anything about french macarons you know this is NOT hedonism but more a form of masochism...trust me they are harder than they look).
My rested ears, which had not listened to kids or teachers or neighbors or anyone else for 24 hours was struck by the phrase "avalanche of grace..." in the song that was playing. I sat down heavily and for the next hour listened to God's voice speaking to me and filling the hollowness of my soul. Sound cheesy? I doubt any honest person would say they don't know what I mean. A day of living completely for myself left me feeling empty.
I still feel I need that alone time. And truth be told, my hand is held up to God sometimes too..."wait...please...let me sit in silence" I say to Him. I felt His grace this morning - as if he was just sitting in the corner watching me do my thing. And then when all the noise was cleared out, when I was no longer the overwhelmed introvert with no capacity to let anything else in, then He joined me.
It felt good yesterday to empty myself out. And then it also felt good to know I am not the center of all things and my life and pleasures is not all there is. I don't think my relationship with God is as rich when I don't pull back at times. A little **hedonism can go a long way.
(ps I am using the term very lightly here...not a theology or psych paper or an endorsement...) :)