My subscription feed is seemingly growing by the minute tonight as I hunker down in bed with some milk and oreos. I just wandered over to Sarah’s space and found her words about being a highly sensitive person. So I went and took the test, which says that if you select fourteen or more of the twenty-seven statements as being true of yourself, you may be a highly sensitive person. I ended up selecting 24/27, which basically means too much stimuli, and I’m done for.
Its something I’ve been trying day in and day out since I was in college to put words to. They told me back then that I would likely never find that kind of community again in my lifetime, and I’ve found out in the nine months since I put on my cap and gown just how right they were. I have been incredibly lonely, and being an introvert and a highly sensitive person isn’t exactly a recipe for success in my mind when it comes to budding new relationships and meaningful opportunities to serve.
Newsflash: I have always been an introvert. Of my INFJ personality traits, introversion has always been the highest percentage, hanging out between 75 and 85% depending on the day. I’ve come to the realization putting myself out there in college was much easier because there were people around me 24/7. I went to church with my school friends, did work study with them, played intramural sports with them, made short films with them for class assignments, had “family dinners” with them, put on summer camps with them, and got married with them. And now that college is over and we’ve all gone our separate ways, I realize I’ve forgotten how much effort it takes to forge new, deep relationships.
Its hard and scary, this feeling of starting from square one in “the real world.”
Over the weekend, my husband and I went to a volunteer’s conference for church. There was a big emphasis on having high energy and making guests feel like they are being welcomed home when they walk in the doors. Few things bring me more joy than meeting someone where they are and hearing their stories, but I have long struggled to master the enigmatic enthusiasm that most of the young adults in my church have. I have even wondered at times if my apparent lack of energy and enthusiasm equates to a lack of passion for the gospel.
It’s a big, hard thing to discover that God gave me less energy and more sensitivity than He did others. — Sarah Sandel
I recognize that my story is not everybody’s norm, and I have learned to be okay with who I am — but I still battle this part sometimes, because I feel like I have a lot to give at this point in my life. And I want to know and be known, but it can be scary to venture out of my comfort zone when personalities are so starkly different and I don’t know if I’ll be accepted as the introvert with low energy and high sensitivity. Its a conversation I frequently have with my husband on the drive home, and sometimes I get frustrated with him for so easily infiltrating whatever social situation is in front of him.
Confession: its easier to hide behind a computer and ignore the issue. Even typing these insecurities out is scary.
But hiding is not what I’ve been called to — not by a long shot.
The calling to meet people where they are requires movement on my part. It requires a stepping out from the coffee corner and being intentional about inviting her to do lunch or them to go out on a double date and talk about seasons of life and what God is doing. If Jesus gave up the comfort and the glory of heaven to get down in the trenches of humanity’s mess and build relationship, surely I can risk creeping out of the coffee corner.
I’m called to be authentic, and in the words of Brene Brown, “authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
Sarah said it comes down to being a good steward, and I couldn’t agree more. Finding my freedom and identity in Christ means I don’t have to work to compensate for anything. He equipped me this specific set of personality traits in order to bring Him glory. He never asks me to be someone that I’m not. All He requires is that I show up.