Sometime ago, I read an article about introverts. And right then I decided that the description fit me well.
I’d easily become overwhelmed by too much interaction with others. And I needed to be alone to recharge. But I’d also become anxious after an interaction. Did I say everything right? Did I look OK? Did I smile enough? Was I enough? Was I too much?
For a long time I assumed this was part of being an introvert. This anxiety over what was coming and what had happened.
Somehow, I’d convinced myself that self-doubt was normal. That my discomfort in being around others meant I didn’t like people. But what it really meant was that I didn’t like myself.
I’ve heard that one-third of the people we’ll meet absolutely won’t like us. And one-third will be indifferent. But the last third… those are the ones that will love us. They are our people.
I’m not sure how exact that is. And I’ve never come across any research to prove it. But either way, the idea is the same.
Some people just won’t like us, some won’t care and some will love us.
How much time have I wasted shutting out the ones who could love me all for the fear of the ones who wouldn’t? I didn’t isolate myself from others for years because I hated everyone.
I did it because I was so afraid that others would see me exactly as I saw myself. And that they would reject me.
This blog is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.
God has given me such a desire to help, to encourage. And this is the only way I know how to do that right now. But once I hit that publish button, my stomach turns. My heart races. What if no one cares what I have to say? What if they’d rather I didn’t say anything at all? What if I reveal too much? What if they see too much?
And my very first instinct is to delete the post, shut the site down and pretend this never happened. If I can do it quickly enough no one will ever know.
In the belief that we’re not good enough we shut ourselves down. And we shut others out. We give up on our dreams, our goals, our relationships because it’s all too risky.
We can’t imagine anyone seeing any good in us. Mainly because we don’t see much of the good in ourselves. We think surely the world will recognize us for the frauds, sinners, flawed individuals that we are. So we lock ourselves in tight. It’s the only way to be safe.
It’s the reason we don’t speak up in the meeting, and we pretend we don’t see people in the grocery store. It’s the reason we don’t take the classes or teach the classes. The reason we look the other way when opportunity comes around. And its the reason we compare ourselves to others.
Let me share a little truth with you. Whether your faults are perceived or actual, God can use you. And shocking as it may sound, He wants to use you.
And while you may be surprised God’s plans aren’t hinder be your shortcomings, He is not. He made His plans to include your weaknesses.
But in order for God to use you, you have to stop shutting people out. And in order to do that, you have to realize that you do have something worthy to offer. Something worthy to offer to the conversation, to the day, to the world.
When we finally grasp this, we can feel freedom and confidence in opening the door. Letting others in and ourselves out.
When you open the door of your heart, your mind, your life to others there will still be days when you’ll hold your hand on the knob ready to slam it shut at any moment. But you’ll also find deep down that you know you’ll never be satisfied going back to a life closed off and alone.
I don’t know what the Lord will bring into my life in this season of opening up. It’s terrifying and exciting and unnerving most days. But I know that it’s something good. Something worth the risk.
And I know that in order to love myself, to love others, to love God I must live a life with doors wide open. Receiving the love the Lord gives and giving it back to those He brings to cross my path.
What is it that He is calling you to? What is that one small step you can take today to live with an open heart and life? That one small change today could be the beginning of the huge change you see experience tomorrow.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9