Confessions of a Faithful Introvert…

Woman with flower in her hair

Dear World,

I am an introvert. No, I am not stuck up or rude, it’s just that everything about you and your extreme extrovertedness…well, it exhausts me. When you talk incessantly and get right up into my personal space, every single part of me wants to tape your mouth shut and then go home, light a candle, and read a good book. Your constant need for companionship, noise, and busy, drains the very life out of me, and although you are energized by such things, I am sucked dry.

Bowl of dark red cherries

Beach and lake with blue eater

Beeswax tall candle in black and white

Purple orchid

Dear World,

I am an introvert. I am not shy and I don’t hate people. No, I just prefer things to be low key, quiet, and meaningful. I would rather spend an evening with 2 or 3 close friends amidst a quiet setting with some good food, than in a noisy crowd shouting to be heard, while working the room with the movers and shakers of this world. You can keep your large dinner parties, your large group book clubs, and your fake hugs (please don’t touch me…ever). I will share my truest self with only a few, and when I do, the number of words that I use will be approximately 4,150 less words than you use. Please know that I like you, I just need less of you.

Dear World,

I am an introvert. That doesn’t mean that I am less than you in this world of extroverts, it just means that we are different from one another. When you get excited to be the center of attention, I get a stomach ache. When you come alive after spending HOURS with people, I HAVE to retreat and find time alone to re-energize. That’s right, the alone time energizes me.

Pink coffee mug that says "Mountain Girl", and a book folded open

Man overlooking mountains

Pale pink flower

Slippered feet on a table outside

Dear World,

I am an introvert. When you rush out the door each morning, excited to get your busy on, I make a cup of peppermint tea and I sit on the back porch and I pray…for a quite a while. And then, while still in my pajamas, I read. I read alone. I read with my kids. I read with my husband. When mid morning rolls around, and you have already spoken to seventy five people, I have purposely had my phone on silent because I am not ready for you at two in the afternoon, let alone at nine in the morning.

Dear World,

I am an introvert. If you and I were to get brain scans, side by side, they would be different. No joke. The brain of an introvert processes information differently than other people…google it. And just because I like to be alone more than you do, it does not mean that I am self absorbed, it just means that I am better able to take in the world around me through the lens of introspection, solitude, and quietness.

Falling leaf, black and white

A woman with strands of hair falling across her face

A hand holding a small yellow flower

 

image1Dear World,

I am an introvert. You don’t have the trademark on “normal”. Your fast pace and pushiness will not set the pace for my life. It’s okay if you’re a big bold flower opening yourself up to all, but please see the beauty in the shrinking violet or the wall flower…yes, there is beauty there, too.

Dear World,

I am an introvert. If you are overly pushy and fake I will probably get a restraining order against you. But if you let up a little, and allow me to get to know you…hey, once you are in, you’re in for keeps. Those who I allow into my inner circle will always have my truest devotion, friendship, loyalty, and L-O-V-E.

Dear World,

I am an introvert. And I love Jesus. You too? But when you decided to have Sunday morning church services begin with the congregation getting up from their seats to greet one another and shake hands, you ruined my life. But I forgive you. Moving on…

A bowl of peaches, a blue candle, and scrabble tiles that spell out "The art of solitude".

 

Coffee picnic on a quilt in the woods

A lonely chair on a gravel road

Cup of tea in an ornate tea cup

Dear World,

I am an introvert and Moses might have been too. He was terrified to speak for God to the people, so much so that God had to get someone to speak for him. Yeah, the public speaking thing…nuff said. Or how about Mary, Martha’s sister? While her loud and busy sister ran around in stressed-out-woman mode, Mary herself was commended by Jesus for sitting quietly at the feet and drinking in the knowledge of her Lord. A Holy Spirit filled introvert can be a powerful prayer warrior, a committed student of God’s word, and sensitive to the voice of the Lord, because spending hours of quiet time with the Lord is a necessity for the Introvert. What I’m trying to say in a nice way, is that if we didn’t have the Lord filling us up with Himself, your lack of restraint, (ahem), word-vomit,  would probably send many-a-good Introvert into a pretty legit nervous break down.

Dear World,

I am an introvert. But we can be friends, you and I – extrovert and introvert. We can realize that we may have many differences, but our similarities lie in the fact that we are both created in the image of God, we are both sinners, and we both have a Grace available to us that will guide us in walking the not so fine line between social gluttony and social anorexia. And at the end of the day we can agree to disagree about some things while meeting for a cup of coffee (at a quiet place for a short time without you being too touchy;)), and we can live happily ever after. The end.

Solitarily and reluctantly yours,

Jodi

These Boots Were Made For Waiting

old pair of cowboy boots

Once upon a time…

I learned the art of waiting…

It was a sunny day and I was sitting in a parking lot. Yes, I stopped right there to worship and think and be in the presence of God – yeah, right there in that parking lot – because He is available anytime and anywhere. As I opened the Book of all Books, He spoke to me and He said, “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12). And then, in that shopping center parking lot, in that city full of crime and noise and traffic and loudness, right there in my mini van littered with empty organic juice boxes drank by thirsty kids that I hadn’t cleaned up from the day before – I saw it and I heard it…

A brief glimpse, if you will. Yes, brief but powerful. A picture of tall, wispy, grass and I was sitting in the center of it, and everything around me was quiet except for the wind-kisses that licked those blades of virescent meadow. The parking lot was gone for just a very brief moment of time and I was transported to this place of green and peace and breeze, and for once I could actually hear the wind blow through the grass because there were no sirens from police cars, no loud mufflers, and no rap music blaring from the car of a 16 year old Eminem wannabe. No, just this perfect elysian moment divinely crafted and put into place for me by my Creator to confirm, to remind, to encourage me… that what He said would come to pass.

Rewind…

Three years ago God gave me a vision of a life that I knew I wanted for our family. It would include a completely different environment than the one we were currently living in, and it would mean an overhaul of what we thought we would be doing for the rest of our lives; I had an overwhelming sense within me that this was it and I assumed my husband would completely agree. My husband and I.. we have always been very united and in tune with one another in regard to God’s leading for our lives. So, with that in mind, I enthusiastically approached my better half and the conversation went something like this…

Me: “Honey, I think God is telling me that we should buy a farm and move out of this God forsaken city and get us some goats and chickens, some peach trees and apple trees, and grow our own organic food and – “

My husband: “Nope.”

Me: “Dream squasher.”

And that was that. As I proceeded to carefully explain all of the benefits of leaving the city and raising our children in an environment with animals, trees, and nature, my husband, with his usual equanimity, calmly explained to me how much he had absolutely zero desire to do anything of the sort. Disappointed and confused, I took the matter to prayer.

Beautiful magenta flowers

A child's foot in black and white

A red speckled coffee cup and a sunrise

Tiny flowers against a rock

Here’s the thing…I prayed and I prayed and I prayed, because I really sensed that these desires were given to me from the Lord, but the truth is, I am human and am capable of being deceived by the enemy. I wanted to make completely sure that this was from God and not of my own selfish desires, and I definitely didn’t want to walk “in a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12), a path that the enemy would be only too happy to lead me on.

Day after day I grew more steadfast in the assurance that this was in fact what God wanted for our family. The Lord graciously confirmed this to me through scripture, as He gave me very specific verses to encourage me and lead me. And every single day, it was as if God Himself put something in my path to lead me on in this dream of a different way to do life. Books, articles, comments from unknowing friends, and even a prophesy from a wise Dad, which predicted that our family’s time in this iron jungle would be short, indeed. Our family even went to a couple of open houses of farms in the surrounding counties, but this didn’t in any way entice my husband. But in my spirit His Spirit spoke and as I listened I realized something: It really didn’t matter if I had God Almighty sitting in front of me with His arms full of goats and chickens to get me started in my epic mini farm dream. Nope. As long as my husband and I were not united in this, it would need to be put on the back burner of my mind. And so I prayed, “Lord, I believe this is from you, but if You want this to come to fruition, You will have to put these same desires into Matthew. Ultimately, as he is the head of this household, and You dear Lord designed it this way, he has the final say and I submit to that.”

And I truly left it right there in the hands of God, because sometimes the boots aren’t made for walking, but for waiting. Yes, and I held onto that dream within my own heart, and I read books about people who left their city lives for the country. I read about their adventures in fixing up old farm houses, in planting gardens and tending to animals for the first time ever. There were many struggles but they were small in comparison to the blessings of fresh air, big sky, fresh and homegrown food, and a life for kids that the best of city life could not provide. Oh, how I longed for this, yet, I felt grateful for the life I had. Our home in the city was lovely and there were all of the things that were my “familiars”: my bookstore; my fave cafe; the best little shoe store ever; and precious family and friends. Yes, we were blessed and those blessings should not be taken for granted for a second. So, I thanked God for what we had right now, and I thanked God for what we would have in His perfect timing, and I went on living life in the posture of faith that God would eventually work all of this out. And He did…

Fast forward – one year later.

When I was a child, my grandpa and I would take long rides out in the country and we would drool at the farm houses and the occasional log cabin…we were kindred souls, my grandpa and I. During summer vacations, he would take me to his sister’s farm in Nebraska, or to my uncle’s farm in Missouri, and the slowness of life, the work of the hands, the dirt, the fruit, the land, the creeks, the stars at night in the gigantic sky…they did something to me; that life attracted me like a magnet. But my husband didn’t have these experiences as a child. His family was fairly well off financially, and their vacations were spent traveling all over, and city life was all that he knew. So, for my husband to acquiesce to this… well, it would have to be a God thing.

View of the mountains

Church with a glowing Cross

Dark pink flower

Appalachian sunrise

Life continued and time passed, but for our family a deep unrest came over us. I don’t know how else to describe it, but we all just knew – especially my husband – that something wasn’t right. One day I was on the phone with one of our best friends who also happens to be a natural doctor, and I had called him to ask him about a vitamin I was taking. We began discussing life and he gave us an invitation to visit him where he lived up in the Appalachian Mountains. Something had clicked in my husband, and sort of out of nowhere he not only wanted to visit our friend, but he wanted to contact a realtor so that we could look at properties in that area. We prayed and fasted for God’s will and we went on that trip.

“God, Your timing is perfect.”

I had been ready for this for what seemed life forever, but God led through my man of God, and now…this incredibly wise and handsome husband of mine gave his wish list to the realtor and this is what was on it: a home with land available to farm, away from the city.

“God, You are amazing.”

Why the change of heart in Matthew? If you were to ask him now, he would tell you that God changed his heart, and that He gave him the desire for this…100%. I could’ve spent that entire last year nagging him and pushing this on him, but we would’ve gotten nowhere fast, and I know I would have missed out on some huge blessings, you know? This ineffable blessing of unity between a husband and a wife, when God imparts His will and His timing for that will to be carried out, is a gift, and I will hold onto it and never let it go.

So, we packed our family into that minivan and headed for the mountains! We had sweet fellowship with our friends, and we looked at about a million houses. And then God brought us to “the one”. A log cabin up in the mountains with farmable land. Land for our kids to run on. Land up in, and surrounded by even more…beautiful mountains. Land where the sunrises are breathtaking and the birds can be heard. And it is here that I write these words.

A picture of feet in a pretty pair of green shoes

Pretty trees

Mountain range

Black and white picture of trees and mountains on a foggy morning

Remember the little vision God gave me where I was sitting in the grass and I could actually hear the breeze whooshing through the blades? Those sounds and that vivid picture of that serene setting…I’m absolutely there…here! God did indeed bring it to pass and sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it!

So, to all of my sisters in Christ out there reading this…please listen, okay? If God has given you a word on something He wants for your family, but you and your husband are not united – please just…wait. There’s a lot to be said for surrender. Give it to God and let Him work things out in His own timing and you just leave it alone. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not in the camp that believes a wife has no voice in the marriage…no, I believe marriage is a partnership. I spent years in a church that believed women were to basically shut up and simply cook, clean, and push out babies. My husband and I desire to compliment each other in our different roles, and he wants me to feel that I have a voice in this marriage. But at the end of the day, my husband is the head of our family, not me, and God says in His word that this is the way it is to be. I’m good with that, are you? I love this quote by Matthew Henry:

“Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.”

Beautiful, right?

So, whether you are married or not, maybe God has given you a glimpse of something He has for you…but is it for now, or do you need to wait? I cannot answer this for you anymore than you can answer it for me, but God has the discernment you need to figure this out. When you finally surrender it to Him, you will hear His voice clearly.

Farmers crop

Boy in a forest wearing a cowboy hat

Go ahead, sister, give it to Him now. And don’t get in the way of your own blessings! Be encouraged in the Lord…rest in Him.

“I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope.” (Psalm 130:5)

And remember…Jesus loves you. He loves you enough to make you wait for the best blessings, so never lose heart! Timing is important and the outcome may depend on your act of faith in surrendering all to Him. Hang on to the precious promises from the God that cares more than you could ever imagine, and join the angels in adoration for the One who is holy!

Wait. Pray. Rest.