By birth, I am a task-oriented introvert. These tendencies of mine are often masked by the fact that I truly love to be around people. I love community. I love to see the fullness of God in the lives of others. But I love most effortlessly by doing, preparing, and organizing on behalf of the people in my life. When I step outside the realm of tasks into the realm of people, I am much more easily overstimulated. I have to schedule my activities in such a way that I have quite time to refill…often.
The unrelenting thorn in my side that most fellow introverts would probably understand is my constant need for quite. I wrestle almost daily with this. I wish it wasn’t so. Some introverts may revel in this aspect of their personality, but I often feel defeated by it. I wish I had more time for more people. I wish I had more patience. More love.
The thing I despise most about this condition of mine is that when I am overloaded, I often battle the feeling that my systems are on the verge of crashing. There are times that I teeter between self-destruct and shut down. If I had my druthers, I’d opt for shut down, but in the real world with three children, this normally isn’t an option. Unfortunately, my children are the ones that feel the fury of my strained schedule the most.
When the motion of life is rushing in on me, my husband often reminds me that I am the one that sets our schedule. When these times become too frequent and my impatience with my children is more obvious, I know I’ve over scheduled too many times. This keeps me running to the feet of Jesus. Sorry. Repentant.
Introvert or extrovert, I think we all live with the temptation of overstimulation. This looks different in each of our lives, but the problem is the same. We live in a busy, busy world. We have more opportunity than time. We have more choices than currency. I believe that God allows our weaknesses for our benefit. He uses them to change us, mold us, and stretch us. But we don’t like the filth of them. We don’t like the mess they make. I know I don’t. Thankfully, God has a way of making beautiful things out of insufficiency.
In this world that offers overstimulation like toys in a happy meal, we have to decide what we are going to make room for and what we are going to choose to say no to. When we don’t, our systems will fail. We lose health when we consume a meal void of nutrition just to get the cheap, empty bait. Because I have a high capacity for tasks and a lower capacity for noise, sometimes it’s a task that I need to lay down to save energy for people and sometimes the task is so important to a group of people that I have to give up another meeting. It’s a delicate dance with the Spirit for me. When I am overstimulated, I don’t have the energy to waltz, hustle, or even sway in place.
When I lose myself to the push, pull, touch, and clang of life, I lose my connection with the Spirit. He becomes quenched by my rush, quieted by my loose words, and ignored for so much noise. That is what grieves me the most, that I have grieved Him. As I go into the holiday season, I know it is time to slow down, refocus, and reprioritize. Often, this means saying no to some good things to say yes to my call as a child of God, as a wife, and as a mother. Sometimes, embracing other things means releasing the peace of God.
Dear Lord, be the soothing balm to my overstimulated mind. Be the peace that guides me.