Sometimes being introverted really stinks.
It's true! Ask any introvert you know and I bet they'll agree with me. It can be a real challenge when it seems like most relationships are expected to be built and flourish in group settings. Unless others are willing to dedicate the time to intentionally invest in a relationship with an introvert then the introvert is left feeling like little more than an acquaintance even among "close" groups of friends. Especially in the day and age of social media. Alot of one-on-one interactions are replaced by Facebook messages, texting, and blogging. People just don't get together and chat about real life over a cup of coffee very often these days. People rarely talk about things that really MATTER; things that help you see each other's heart and soul. The things that make an introvert feel known and loved and allow them to know and love others are the things that are falling by the wayside of our increasingly media-centric culture.
I've been struggling this week,... well most of the year really,... with feeling pretty lonely. I've been introverted all my life; and have learned alot about how to cope and interact well in groups of people. Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them that naturally I'm severely introverted. But it's true. I rarely, if ever, feel that I can build a close friendship if its only forum is groups. I'm absolutely exhausted by being around lots of people for extended periods of time,... especially if I don't know them well. Add that to the fact that having grown up surrounded by brothers, I've always been more comfortable in the company of dudes than girls, and it has always made building deep female friendships a huge hurdle. And honestly, among many of the blessings of moving back home, it has also presented more of a struggle to rebuild friendships than I expected. I'm to the point of being exhausted from trying so hard and feeling like I'm not getting anywhere. This week I have felt ready to just give up; especially since I know we are only going to be here another year.
Then something dad said during his sermon this morning reminded me that my sustenance doesn't come from relationships with other lost, broken, searching, people. That's what we all are. We may be searching for different things, but our search can end as soon as we regain focus on the one who can meet all needs. I'm searching for meaningful friendships, and yet I often neglect the most meaningful and rich relationship I've been gifted with. Sure, relationships with those around us are still important, but I sometimes get so wrapped up in seeking a feeling of connectedness with others, or wallowing in self-pity because of the lack thereof, that I forget to invest time in the one relationship that can provide infinite connectedness and fulfillment.
So I'm challenging myself the next few weeks and months to not try so hard. I'm giving myself a free pass in the friendship department, as long as I stay focused on the Savior department. If deep relationships are truly something that I need right now, then I trust that as I draw closer to Christ, He will provide the rest.