“yeah-buts live in the woods”
I am really good at excuses. I am good at justifying my actions, or lack thereof, and I am good at making you believe I simply have to or cannot do whatever the thing is I’m doing or not doing. Follow?
I am really good at excuses, but let me tell you, my fiancé can see through ALL of mine. It’s a bit unnerving to have the person closest to you see right through every excuse you have, and call you out on it. It doesn’t leave much room for graceful bow-outs or careful steps back when things aren’t quite going as you expected. Having someone close to you hold you accountable is painful, but it’s necessary. Accountability is like prime fertilizer for character growth. It encourages you, emboldens you, equips you to take just one more step, and then one more, and then one more. Accountability and I have a love/hate relationship because very rarely have I let people close enough to have that sort of influence on me.
Which brings me to my big point, my huge excuse, the elephant in all of my rooms. For years I have hidden behind a label. I have identified myself as introvert. I have told myself that is what I am, that is why I don’t want to talk to people, that is why I don’t put forth effort, that is why I don’t care and never will. My time is my time and I will spend it on my own quietly refreshing myself and binging on Netflix. I have pulled the introvert card on more occasions than I care to count in order to get my butt back home if there is any sign of uncomfortableness. A couple years before my son was born, this label had such an impact on who I was that my body began to physically react. I was wracked with anxiety, prone to panic attacks, I would shake and hyperventilate if things and people became too overwhelming.
I began to identify these things as normal, because they were part of “who I was”. I told everyone it was just my personality type, what was I going to do about that? Even up until recently it’s been something to lean on to pull me back into my comfort zone when things get messy.
The funny thing about messy is that God LOVES it. God loves discomfort and grit. Safe Christian bubbles are more dangerous than any street in a ghetto. Safe Christian bubbles provide us the space to pretend, to put on a show, but never to really step out on mission. If we don’t step out, if we don’t power through the awkwardness and the straight up uncomfortableness we don’t get to see the glory. We step back from life changing conversations, we withdraw from embraces that could comfort a lost soul, we send the message to others that we are selfish, because it is all about us and our well being. It is about how comfortable we are while our brothers and sisters are freezing to death on city streets, or can’t afford to put food in their children’s bellies. But we can’t help, we can’t love, because we’re just so dang socially uncomfortable.
God has spoken some truth over my life lately, and He has messed me up. He has shown me quite clearly that this introverted personality is a lie. This label I identified with and have hidden behind is simply a part of my sin nature that I was born with, that I live with, and that I cannot save myself from. It is something I will now wage war on, because I know my Savior’s precious blood was spilled to rescue me from that lie and every other one the enemy has filled my mind with. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” My discomfort, my nervousness, my fear are NOTHING compared to what God is working out in me. NOTHING compared to what He wants to do with my life, and who He wants me to impact with abounding, unconditional love and grace.
My life is not about me, it’s not about what I can do, what I look like, how nice my house is, or any of that…my life about God and His glory. My purpose is to be a bright light, a life changed, a wonderful testimony to how good my Father is. When I responded and chose to follow God, the old me died. She is dead and buried, and yet the enemy still tries to fill her lungs with air so he can pump her full of fear, so he can hold her back, so he can watch her suffer.
Today I am officially killing the title “introvert” and taking away the power I have allowed it to have over my life. I will take each step forward, no matter how small, into what God has purposed for me, and I will do it with joy and gratitude, for I know my Father is good and He sees through all my excuses while drowning them in perfect love. Fear has no place here anymore.