Thoughts On Courage From A Lifelong Introvert

I’m an introvert through and through.

And when I say introvert, I mean:

  • I’m uncomfortable in large groups.
  • It’s extremely difficult for me to make a phone call.
  • I love to be alone.
  • I love going to movies by myself.
  • I love to eat in restaurants alone, with only a good book, or a pad of paper and pen in hand.
  • I love to spend time in nature–just me and my trusty sketch book.

If people eye me warily because I’m ‘going it solo’, I’m completely unaware; my book and notepad and deep thoughts have my full and undivided attention.

Alone time creates in me an energy that more extroverted activities tend to drain away. While family life has greatly reduced my alone time, I still find time to fit it in. Yes, it’s true, I’m an introvert through and through.

So imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, God gave me a heart for connection. Me, of all people. He put into my INTROVERTED heart a desire to more fully live the 2nd Commandment, the EXTROVERTED commandment, mind you–to love your neighbor as yourself. He put into my heart a desire to step outside my comfort zone; to invite strangers into my home; to share meals and stories, laughter and tears. He put into my mind impressions–impressions so strong they can’t be denied–and, when followed, bring more blessings than I ever thought possible.

 

He put all this into my heart, but He hasn’t made it easy.

One year went by, and then another—years full of second guessing, self-doubt, and sleepless nights, peppered with unexpected surprises, the richest of blessings, and the makings of the most unforgettable memories.

What an uncomfortable and amazing ride it’s been!

Last week I received another impression–one that would, once again, require stepping outside my comfort zone.

“I keep having this impression…this thought…” I mentioned to my daughter.

“Well, if it’s an impression, you’d better follow it,” she quickly responded.

Obediently, I opened my iPad and began a brief message to an unsuspecting recipient, someone I’ve never met.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this…” I thought to myself, my heart pounding wildly.

Surprisingly, what I thought would be an awkward request turned into an easily written message–the words flowing freely from my mind to the keyboard with little effort on my part. Hitting the ‘send’ button, I sat back and wondered how long it would take to receive a response.

 

58 seconds, as it turned out. The enthusiastic response from the recipient was positive. I sat back in my chair and smiled.

“Now you need to make a phone call,” came my next impression.

“No, PLEASE not a phone call. ANYTHING but a phone call,” I pleaded,  “A text? An email?”

The impression remained firm. A phone call. Right now.

Filled with a sudden surge of courage, I located the phone number and made the call.

“Why do these impressions cause me so much grief?” I wondered, laughing, albeit painfully, to myself.

 

Several more steps were taken, each eventually falling into place as I had hoped they would, or rather, as I KNEW they would, for with certain impressions comes an unmistakable certainty of how things are going to unfold.

Something big is in the works, something that I’m very excited about, but I’m also feeling a bit timorous. Being an extroverted introvert is not for the faint of heart, people.

Nevertheless, the show must go on, and it WILL go on–tomorrow. Tomorrow I will take the next step in planning this community cultural event, but for now? For now you’ll find me curled up in bed with the covers over my head, like so many times before, wondering how I got myself into this predicament. No, being an extroverted introvert is not for the faint of heart.

Still, despite all the discomfort, I’m so grateful I followed the impressions I received. Why? Because based on past experience, I know that everything will work out in the end, and that, in some seemingly miraculous way, the blessings will outweigh the stress and uncertainty 10 to 1.

 

So take heart introverts of all ages! If you feel God putting in you a heart for connection, take courage. You’re not alone.

Whether you’re an introvert or more outgoing, feeling weak or feeling strong, follow the impressions you receive to do hard things. They may lead to you hiding under the covers, or binge eating your favorite comfort food behind closed doors (speaking from experience), but you’ll have help from a higher power and it will be worth it. I promise. It always is.

Now, from under the covers, goodnight world.

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“The same God who has called me to this grand adventure gives me strength for the journey.”
~ Emily Colson

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