It’s the perfect example. This afternoon I opened a fresh page to start typing this blog post, and I didn’t even get past “Untitled”. I need to get out of here. Instead of describing my huge personality transition, I lived it. I left an empty post– the poor thing probably wondered what it did wrong. I went straight to the living room to recruit friends for an adventure to the Mount, and promptly left my “alone time” behind.
What on earth has happened to me?!
Early in high school I had the revelation that I was introvert. Not that I wasn’t good at talking to people– I thrived in public speaking and social situations. So much so, that people downright disagreed at my revelation. However, it was about how I recharged. When I was with people, I was expending energy. When I was alone, I was refilling and refuelling, letting my brain shelve the remarkable amount of input that I received throughout the day.
Therefore, when I took the Myers-Briggs personality test, I consistently came up “INFJ”. If I had more time, I would go into detail about my nerdy fascination with what all the letters mean (and don’t mean!). However, I’m just going to focus on “I” versus “E”… and how after seven years of getting Introvert, I took a different version of the test, and was shocked to come out as 61% Extravert, now ENFJ.
There’s a lot of explanations, excuses, and very valid reasons for this shift. You could say I’ve become more confident in my twenties, you could say that staffing a DTS got me into the habit of being with people 24/7, you could say that we’re all really both and it just depends what season of your life you’re in. To all of those, I’d answer, “yup”. You could also say that I’ve become so good at having purposeful “alone time” each day, that I’m far more ready to just be with people, and so “at the heart of it”, I’m still an introvert.
But that wouldn’t explain how I didn’t even want to write a blog post about personality types. In the past, I would have swooped on that! Instead, I literally ran from my laptop to a living room full of people and quickly drove out to the Mount, talking with Alea for the rest of the afternoon.
What on earth has happened to me?!
1. I’ve always been a writer, and I always will be. But in the last few years, I’ve learned that some things can’t be “journaled” out. Sometimes I just need to rant to a good friend who simply says “mhmm”. Sometimes I need to go for a walk and pray out loud, or get someone to pray with me.
2. I’ve always been a reader, and I always will be. But in the last few years, I’ve learned that making my own memories instead of only reading someone else’s is far more exciting. Sometimes I don’t need a good book to inspire me to do something. I need to actually just get out there, and then enjoy books that help me understand what I’ve just experienced.
3. I’ve always been a giver, and I always will be. But in the last few years, I’ve learned that to be with people does not mean I have to be giving all the time. If I’m expending heaps of energy– I need to look at why. I realised that much of my “people exhaustion” stemmed from feeling like I always had to be the listener and the discipler, rather simply receiving! Add that to feeling culturally misunderstood (moving countries can do that to you!) and not knowing that I was genuinely fun to hang out with? Well, of course I’d want to stay in my room. Now– I know I can receive from others, too. That changes everything.
So, what on earth has happened to me? Well, I find myself initiating adventures around Tauranga and even choosing a game night with friends (and strangers!) instead of night off at home. I find myself enjoying the people I’m with and being encouraged and inspired by them. Yes, I might still spend an hour writing a blog post, read books, and go to bed before midnight.
But I’m listening to a techno-party-type song and giggling, remembering that I get to wake up and bounce around dozens of friends at Monday Morning Connect tomorrow. I move to the living room because my roommates are going to sleep, and I get blown away unexpectedly by my staff stopping to pray for me on her way to bed. And it reminds me of the moment at a conference a few years ago, when IHOP leader Allen Hood shocked us with this:
“You know there’s something more important than loving God?
[Hear the collective gasp, but– wait for it…]
… It’s loving God together.”
Oh, it’s what Jesus wanted all along.
“…that they may become perfectly one,
so that the world may know
that you sent me and loved them”
-John 17:23 (ESV)