Hi, My name is Tonya and I am an introvert. I never really questioned why I am what I am. I suppose I always thought that was how God made me. That would be my response if someone teased me about it. But now I am wondering, did God make me an introvert? Or did the circumstances and trials of life turn me into one? I never questioned this before, as I was quite content with my rainbow & butterfly existence. (In the states), I would go to work, do my job to the best of my ability, talk with coworkers, students and parents. Then I would drive to my safe-haven: my home. Once home, I could shrug off the cares of the day, relax and be myself. I didn't have to worry about my facial expressions, whether or not I said the right thing, or mull over what someone else said and wonder "what exactly they meant". At home I could be quiet. At home, I didn't have to paste a smile on. At home, I didn't have to talk to anyone. I could just sit in my recliner and be me.
Growing up, I was always the quiet, shy child. I never was one for conversation. I was content to sit in the corner and listen to everyone and watch what was going on around me. I was a deep thinker. Even at the age of 6, I can remember being in deep thought about heaven, the after life, and God. We moved around a lot. I was in at least (that I can remember) 12 different elementary schools from grades Kinder to 6. Two different middle schools and 2 different high schools. I often heard comments that were negative and not at all encouraging. I had some horrible relationships that just were not healthy. By the time I was 17, I tried several times to end my life. Thanks to Jesus, things leveled out some during college. I still struggled with social situations. Found the whole college roommate thing quite difficult. In the end, I was able to room alone the last 2 1/2 years. During college, ended up in another bad relationship. It caused me to further draw in to myself and away from others.
I say all of this NOT for any pity, but to just to bring up the question, why am I an introvert? Did God make me that way? Or did some of my life experiences make me that way? Perhaps God did have a hand in my personality, but life experiences distorted it and made it into something it was never suppose to be: a safety net. Drawing into myself and away from others was self protection. "You won't hurt me because I am not giving you a chance." I have spent the last 7 years fighting this. I was told on several occasions that I built up walls. And, they were right. So, I have really worked on my social skills. I try to smile, engage in small talk and take an interest in others.
The last 2 years, my heart cry has been that others see the Love of Christ in me. I did not want my introvertness to get in the way of my Christian witness. So, there is the rub! At what point is it "my God-given personality" and not a selfish gesture meant to keep people at arms length?
I find myself in a position where I once again have roommates. I dearly love all of them. But I admit to spending a bit too much time in my room. Once I am home, my first inclination is to go to my room and decompress. The problem is, I tend to stay there. Yes, I do socialize when asked, 80% of the time. Ok, maybe 70%. ;) I struggle to find that balance. I am just one of those people who needs a bit of alone time. That is how I energize myself after a long, hard day of herding cats, I mean, first graders. :-) But at the same time, I worry that I am not loving enough or trying hard enough. **sigh** It is a catch 22 for me.
It is a source of constant prayer for me. "Lord, help me to love others as you love me. Help me to reach out even when I'd rather stay in a book. Forgive me if I've caused anyone to stumble or feel unloved. "
This wasn't my typical blog post. Just thought I'd give you a glimpse into what goes on in my introverted head. Hahahaha. :-) Prayers are always appreciated. Things here are going well. Still loving my students and being here. I know this is where God wants me for this season of my life. He has been showing me so many things. I guess that is why the introvert issue has been so heavy on my heart. I am suppose to be here to minister and to serve. I just need to find the balance of serving, and refueling.