My first few months in high school, I spent a lot of time by myself. I didn’t know many people at this school and those I did know, I didn’t know very well. I wanted friends, but not bad enough to try to be friends with anyone. I was quite content with my aloneness. Despite my effort to remain in my current state, this girl who shared most of my classes kept harassing me (she called it being friendly lol). She kept asking me questions about myself and trying to invite me in on conversations, but I did my best to reply with one word answers so she would get the hint. She never did and over ten years later, we’ve remained friends (she’s my travel buddy!). When we get together, we always laugh about our first few encounters. I realize this has been a reoccurring theme in my life. People try to be my friend, I try to make them go away, and I end up developing a close bond with the persistent ones.
I’m a proud introvert. I can literally go without human interaction for a week and be okay with life. I enjoy my friends when I’m around them and I also enjoy being by myself… A lot. I’m the friend who will agree to an event then back out because I don’t want to leave my house. Is this problematic? Yes and no. It is good to enjoy your own company and not constantly require the attention of others. It truly has kept me from being the girl who always needed a man or always had to be surrounded by people in order to be happy. But it has also kept me from sharing Jesus (which I’ll talk about in another post) and being the friend others have needed.
As Christians, our life is not about our comfort level, it’s about compelling men to Christ and we can’t do that silently all the time. We can’t sit back and wait for the extrovert to do it when God is calling us to do it. I’m ashamed to say that there have been times, I could see someone was nervous or having a bad day (both strangers and people I know), and I could have simply said “how’s everything going” or paid them a compliment to break the ice, but I didn’t feel like it or it didn’t seem that important. So often, we hear people say we have to be careful with how we’re living because someone is watching. Well I’m going to say, we have to be careful about what we don’t say, because someone may need to hear it.
It’s not about being judgmental, but it’s about loving our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). It’s about inviting that friend over who you know has had a rough week, even though you would rather spend the day in your pajamas, alone. It’s about telling the woman juggling three kids that she’s doing a good job, even though you may stumble through your words. It’s about holding a conversation with the elderly man at the post office because you recognize it makes his heart smile, even if that means an extra five minutes of your day is taken up. These are all real situations that have happened to me and excuses I have gone over in my head, but when I’ve gone the extra mile, I’ve noticed the difference. It’s not about changing your personality (again, proud introvert), it’s about moving beyond yourself sometimes. This is an area I still struggle heavily in, but I’ve been working to do things differently the past few years. Proverbs 18:24 tells us we must show ourselves friendly in order to have friends, and I’m grateful God has placed people in my life to be my friend and I’m constantly learning to be the same to others.