Are you, or do you have, an introvert in your home? Rest assured, being an introvert is not a disease.
In the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won't Stop Talking," Susan Cain describes introversion as "a preference for environments that are not over stimulating." Introverts tend to find their center and renew their energy by spending time alone. They need time to be by themselves, to think things through, and to discover new ideas before rejoining others. Introverts thrive on quiet. Interacting with other people is important, but so is spending time alone - by yourself and with God. Whether you are an introvert or not, spending time alone is OK.
Even those who are introverts can become lonely. Introverts are thinkers and crave time alone, but that can also create loneliness and isolation from others. Try to practice saying NO to actions that keep you isolated and say YES to those that open you up the possibility of growth, relationship, and blessing others. Genesis 2:18a says, "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone.'" God created us to be in relationship. We seek that love and acceptance from other people. If you or a loved one is feeling isolated, reach out. God wants us to enter into fellowship with the people around us, and often we need to take the first step.
So how do we do that? In tough times, saying yes and no to the right things is important:
- Say NO to the idea that loneliness is forever. Sometimes loneliness seems unending, but knowing that this too shall pass is crucial.
- Say NO to comparing your life to the lives of others. Never compare what you know about your own life to what you don't know about someone else's. all of us have moments when we feel utterly alone.
- Say NO to the "overs" - over-sleeping, over-eating, over-TV binging, over-video-game-playing. Overs eventually add shame to loneliness and deepen isolation.
- Say YES to diving into the word of God to discover how David, Jeremiah, Job, Naomi, Paul, and Jesus handled loneliness. Look for ways they were able to carry on, assured of God's loving care for them.
- Say YES to trying something new - a new recipe, a new art project, a new book, or a new way of spending your time. Transform loneliness into opportunity.
- Say YES to reaching out to someone else who is lonely. Loneliness leads to self-absorption. Refuse to let that happen by establishing new relationships. Find ways to play a part in healing someone else's lonely heart.
What are solitary gifts you believe God would like you to invest in others?
Dear Heavenly Father,
This weary heart longs to be near you. I'm tired of searching for comfort, acceptance, and love in the people around me. I want to go to the source. The world can't quench my thirst. My quiet place is where I, a dehydrated Christian, can drink from the well that won't run dry. On many days, I forget to make time for you. I've allowed my own voice to become part of the noise when I call on your name in the midst of chaos. But when I am still and the world around me seems to have paused, I can feel you with me. Lord, hear my cry; your daughter/son needs to hear your voice. Knees planted in the loose strands of my thin carpet, palms turned up, ready to receive your blessings, face horizontal to the ground bowing in the presence of the Almighty One. This is my table for one. The empty plate in front of me was ordered so that I may be filled with the spirit and not of the flesh. The empty seat next to mine is occupied by a figure who [is] seen by faith. Your faithful servant in Christ. Amen.