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Social baby steps

Holiday get-togethers have pretty much cornered the market on this week's calendar. Scroogish as I may be about the abundance of gatherings (we've had twelve Evites within a month, plus other events), it's really been fun, and we have more to come today (two get-togethers). We head to Iowa for a few days at the end of next week, and once we get back, we have a lot more unscheduled margin.

All the social stuff threatens me sometimes. I get afraid of being drained and used up (as an introvert, I recharge by time away from groups of people). The fear is often more dangerous than the reality, however, and by baby steps, I think I'm learning that. Recharging, while important, doesn't have to be the consuming concern I can let it grow to become. Wisdom about how I spend my time is a gift, but God also has other gifts and ways of sustaining me. I don't have to save myself.


Ditto to every single word. I'm also an introvert (at the extreme end of the scale), and have the same "Oh no, I'm going to completely wear myself out if I go to one party" concerns.

People always ask me how I can be so good at public speaking if I'm an introvert. (Perhaps you get the same question from your congregation.) I have to explain that it's about how I recharge, not about how I put myself out there. I always have to block out half an hour after I teach/present, because I need that time to replenish my internal battery.

Socially, I struggle with striking a balance between spending time with friends and holing up at home. I'd prefer to be a homebody all the time, but I know it's healthy to socialize with people I care about.

Have safe travels to Iowa and enjoy your holidays!
It really can be hard to explain to others, even to other introverts. My reaction to a full calendar can easily be caricatured as "I hate people," and I usually go along with the joke (because it's intended good-naturedly, and heaven knows I have my share of gripes with people). But deep down I know (or at least hope) that caricature glosses over a lot of the reality that others may simply not understand.

That said, I can let it get out of hand, and I'm grateful for reminders that God can provide what I need (rather than always needing to look out for myself). There's a tension in it that I'm not sure I can balance—it's often more helpful for me to just recognize that tension and make some effort to trust God in it than to continually search for the magic formula to makes it all work.

Most of my church has no idea I'm an introvert, I suspect—the same was true when I worked in student affairs. When I can get away with it, I usually just let people think what they want to think, because the value (and risk) of being known often doesn't seem worth the cost of having to explain and justify myself.