|photo by Valerie Lynn Jones|
It's become easy to tell how
These "symptoms" used to bother me. Like I was failing to keep up with my life as others know it. But I know the result of that type of thinking.
Guilt. And a confused perception of who I am and what my purpose really is.
(Why do so many of us fall into the trap of being ashamed of who we are?)
And while I generally do not like labels - I've fought this one hard - I'm learning to fully embrace my natural inclination to be an introvert.
I'm also learning not to feel guilty about it.
We all go through seasons of life and we have varying needs for each season. The past couple months for me have been a season of blessed change and growth within our household. I've been doing my best to be a student of God-given life lessons, embracing the moment, and delighting in the joys set before me...
My husband's schedule changed (again) so he is now home every evening. We eat dinner together, work out together, do chores together, play games together, and watch TV together. I'm really blessed by the time I get to spend with him and the simple fact that he wants to spend time with me!
And then friendships ebb and flow. There are causes for celebrating new life milestones. There are heartbreaks that need comfort. There are new activities to attend, events to plan, and moments to just play catch up. I'm thankful for every minute of those experiences.
But I have to confess: as an introvert, seasons like this are energy-suckers. And that's hard to admit when I love the people in my life.
However, the real truth is that whether you are an introvert or extrovert, there is no life-giving energy that can be obtained from any person or experience like there is from God.
And I know that "my" time is best spent when I realize it is "His" time. My time may not be spent the way others spend theirs, or the way they may prefer I spend mine, but when it's God's time and His will I'm living...it's time well spent.
There are several ways I've learned how to manage my time in light of who He made me. I'll hash them out one post at a time...
1. Personal Time in Prayer & God's Word
A daily must. It is during this time, no matter what season of life, that God reinforces our relationship with Him. My identity, my worth, and understanding who God is all starts here. It is important to know what God's Word says about our purpose and His desire for us. We must guard that Truth within us in every way possible.
My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Everything else is affected by what we hold true in our hearts.
If I believe I am failing to keep up my part of a relationship, I will try to overcompensate and either run myself dry or smother the other person. If I believe I am worthless, I won't view my time spent with others as worthwhile. If I believe I'm incompetent, I most likely won't even try.
But if I believe how intimately God knows me, I can trust Him to show me my heart when I ask Him if there are offenses in me (Psalm 139). If I believe that I am forgiven, a child of God, a heir in His kingdom, then I will be certain of my worth in Him and to others (Romans 8:16-17). If I believe in the power of God that raised Christ from the dead, then I will also trust God to empower me to do His will (Ephesians 1:15-21).
This faith only comes from time spent with God, in prayer and in His word. He affirms what is true and reveals the lies so we can guard ourselves - both who we are and what we do.
So today, I chose not call up friends (whom I absolutely love being with), or go out in public (which is more a of chore anyways)...instead I doubled up my Bible study time, just because I enjoyed it so much. Now I'm sitting on my balcony alone. Writing. Watching the trees dance in the wind and listening to birds sing their songs. Wondering if I should go back in to switch out the laundry (nope!).
I realize time spent like this is a luxury many feel they cannot afford. But I've learned the hard way, that for me, I cannot afford to not make it a priority. We all need time to allow God to reaffirm His truth in us...daily and in larger weekly doses too (read: Sabbath - coming up next!).
...for everything you do flows from it.