If this deployment has taught me anything, it’s this: I am much more of an introvert than I ever thought. I mean, I’ve always known that I have introvert tendencies. I can only handle crowds for so long before my eyes start glossing over, I start getting antsy, I shut down, and I begin searching for the nearest exit.
But this deployment has greatly exaggerated those tendencies.
This is Peter’s sixth deployment so I should be an old pro at it by now. And basically I am. I do a fairly good job giving my worries and concerns about Peter over to the Lord, I don’t really worry about his safety too much, and I can function on my own without him although I really miss him and would love for him to be at home helping me with the kids and such.
But on all his previous deployments, we were either childless, I was pregnant with Brienne, or she was very young and I could send her to bed early while I had some alone time. Being the introvert that I am, I need lots of time to myself before I can be functional in a social environment.
With this deployment, I get NO ALONE TIME.
It doesn’t matter what time I get up in the morning. As soon as I walk into the kitchen for a cup of coffee, I can hear Vivi calling my name. And that’s before turning on even one light. If I don’t get her out of bed, she will wake up the other kids in the house so I usually get her up and throw her in the bed with me while I read the Bible. All day long, I have kids hanging on me or around me. And Brienne stays up as late as I do so evening time is no better.
The three mornings Vivi attends school, I am usually working out, grocery shopping, or running errands.
It’s not enough recovery time for this introvert, people.
For those of you with outgoing personalities, I know you think this is all a ploy to get away from my kids for an hour or two every day. I promise you, it’s not. I seriously can not function around others if I am not re-energized by some times of solitude.
Psychology Today defines introverts as people who are “drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits.”
This describes me to a tee.
Yesterday was a really hard day. Everything my children did got on my nerves. They were just being kids but I couldn’t handle it. The final straw occurred at bedtime. I was attempting to pray for Jonah and he would not stop playing with his toys, even after multiple instructions to put the toys down. It sent me over the edge, I grabbed the toys from him, and I stopped praying.
I’m such an awesome mom.
I recognized that I was in dire need of some time to myself to reenergize and rejuvenate my spirit.
Lysa Terkeurst posted this on her Facebook page and it hit me hard:
Today, let’s be determined to see blessings in the midst of things that seem like burdens.
Sometimes, I see my children as burdens. Can you relate? They are always underfoot; calling my name 8,000 times a day; fighting with each other; always needing to be fed…
Of course, our children are not burdens. They are the most amazing blessings that the Lord could bestow on us. But for those of us who are introverts (and maybe for those of you who aren’t), it is difficult and stressful to maintain our sanity until the end of the day. I know many of my friends would agree that bath time and bedtime are the most exhausting and demanding parts of each day.
However, we don’t need to give in to the frustrations caused by our introvert tendencies.
For the past several weeks at preschool, Vivienne has been learning about the fruit of the Spirit during chapel. I have been able to attend a few of these services and I love how the teachers talk about these often difficult and abstract words on a level that three-year olds can understand. And oftentimes, I also benefit from people teaching in a way that is simple and concrete.
Galatians 5:22-23 says this:
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…
This morning, I talked about these fruit with Jonah and Vivienne. When I asked them what some of these words meant, they gave me some very profound responses.
“Don’t yell at people. Control your mouth.”
“Don’t hit your friends. And don’t kick. You can only kick a soccer ball.”
“Be nice and hug everybody.”
“Be nice. Don’t be mean to anybody.”
“Share your toys.”
Being an an introvert doesn’t mean that I have a right to lose control of my emotions when I’m feeling drained.
Being an introvert doesn’t give me the right to omit love and kindness from my life when I’m feeling suffocated.
Being an introvert may mean that I need to make time for some creative solitude.
But most importantly, being an introvert means I need to rely on Christ to fill me back up with His Holy Spirit.
What are your thoughts on this topic? I would love to know if you are an extrovert or an introvert. If you’re an introvert, tell me some things you do to replenish and rejuvenate your spirit.