1963

August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream.”

The need to repent of the sin of racism has plagued the human race for it’s existence.
My country has much shame to add to that area of sin. I am grateful when I read passages like
Revelation 7:9-10 that God is in the business of redeeming the world from it’s sin and brokenness and making us into a people, one people, His people; to come to know and worship him. Martin Luther King had a dream. Much has changed in my country to bring little black children and little white children together. We are not the same country as we were in 1963. But sinful racism still exists and we are not where we should be. My hope is firm on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, the lamb who’s death died to pay for the sin of racism amongst every other sin, and give his people new hearts that they may know, love and worship him and in turn, love one another.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice,“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

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Re-charging

I have taken the Myers Briggs personality assessment three times. Various teams and work assignments mean it has rolled around every few years for me to fill out a lot of little bubbles with a black pencil indicating my preferences on a very long assessment of how I work, think, spend my time, make decisions, respond, react and rejuvenate until I get a clear ENFP result.

Extroverted iNtuitive Feeler Perceiver is how I fit in a nutshell in relating to the world around me.

Often these assessments are very eye opening for people. We use them with work because they help us put together healthy teams. (You would not want 8 of me working together!) My experience with Myers Briggs and other assessments similar to it have helped me in my own self awareness as well as understanding why others might be responding in a particular way in any given situation. Even better, they can best be used as an opportunity to serve people. It is helpful for me to remember that my friends who love structure aren’t just “controlling.” Knowing they won’t love my self directed freedom style as much as I do, I can aide their stress by giving them a sense of safety, clear direction and expectations, and definitions in the work environment for example. The use of assessments like these can help one be a great student and servant of people as we seek to understand and work healthily with those around us.

The lesson from this year though has been to be a continued learner of my own heart. 

Every time I technically come out as an extrovert. A low extrovert, but an extrovert none the less. Extrovert means that I get my energy from being with people as opposed to being on my own. I recharge when I am around others and from my surroundings. Many people who have seen my life the last 10 years would not know that I am actually a very low extrovert according to the Briggsy people. I fill my life and time with people and activities, parties and experiences so much so that I have discovered a significant problem in my life.

It doesn’t matter whether I am an extrovert or an introvert. 

What happens when I stop? 

We can live our life by assessments and tests “Oh I am this kind of person.” But, do we pause to see what is going on in our hearts regardless of what our natural tendencies are?

Last year I saw a counselor for a long time. It was awesome. I have a long delayed post on that coming up soon. And no I will not tell you details of my sessions. Just that it was painful but awesome. At one point she had me spend a day doing an old Christian discipline.. meditation and silence.

Now for me certain disciplines are delightful.. bring on the learning, the study, the Bible reading, the singing songs to Jesus, the Scripture memory.  I love those. Silence? For a day?

I went to the beach. Managed 15 minutes, burst into tears, ran into some horrible anger and memories lurking in the back of my mind and then went shopping and ended up reading a Christian book instead.
Stopping. Pausing. And being alone.. brought up difficult things I did not want to face.

I discovered that I often fill my life with people and events and parties instead of dealing with the mess that is in my soul. It might not be just an extrovert problem.

We all can disengage with what is really going on and have strategies for avoidance.

That exercise she had me doing was back in January. I have since tried meditation more. Alone time more. Silence. Praying and reading my Bible yes.. but then being willing to pause…and just be.

I started turning the radio off when I drive this spring.

I ended up discovering that whether we are an introvert “I recharge by myself” or an extrovert “I recharge with other people” we still need space. We need space and time to process, to grieve, to deal with messy emotions we might otherwise avoid. We need to be willing to face those messy emotions. In my conversation observations this year with people “being happy” seems to more important than being whole.

I would rather be whole.

That means facing my loneliness, my sadness, my brokenness. It means facing the way I have been hurt, sinned against or abused by others and in the ways I have sinned against and wounded others.

This year has become a bigger year than just knowing I am an extrovert. I probably look a lot more like an introvert these days. I spent 5 weeks in the US this summer happily eating meals on my own, going for walks on my own, not joining in the fun (with groups of 35 acquaintances or strangers – somehow that started to sound exhausting to me!). I didn’t get invited to parties, and social occasions and I was okay with that. Normally my “Afraid to miss out syndrome” would be very high.

Does it mean this extrovert is turning into an introvert?

I don’t really care. I don’t think it matters.

I still find Myers Briggs helpful in helping me serve others: Do they need more alone time? They are not necessarily rejecting me, just recharging and that is okay.” Or understanding why my mother goes from one phone call to the next and never wants to be on her own. (Biggest. Extrovert. You. Will. Ever. Meet.).

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what a personality assessment tells me I am. I am still in need of space, silence, recharging (however that may be) and more importantly facing the mess.

Whether we are introverts or extroverts we can use our personality tendencies to avoid the mess. But maybe just maybe life would be more whole and healing if we faced it.

For me, that takes space and silence these days as well as a good cry, prayer and a cuppa with a friend.

10 Myths About Introverts

What Kind of a Prayer Ends with "Darkness" ? Me, Heman and our dark days…

I posted this on Facebook this week and have found it so challenging and pertinent that I thought I would post it on here so that more people could listen. 

It is a sermon by Tim Keller from Psalm 88. For those who are less Bible literate, there is often a pattern in the Psalms (these poems and songs written a few thousand years ago, smack in the centre of the Bible) of praise, crying, moping, and often ending on a praise note as the writer remembers the goodness of God’s character. 

“I will trust in the Lord..” 
“The nearness of God is my good, I will make the sovereign Lord my refuge..” 

Not so much for this one. It’s morbid all the way through and doesn’t end on a happy note. 

I like that it doesn’t end on a happy note. 

I don’t end on a happy note. 

I have had sobbing sessions where I thought everything is purposeless, the Lord doesn’t answer prayer and I am pretty sure he has abandoned me. 

My brother sent me this and I listened to it. Then I listened to it again a couple hours later. Not to say I don’t have a life but I listened to it a third time in two days last night in between X-Men III with the housemates and sleep. I might listen to it again later this week… 

It hasn’t cleaned me up, gotten rid of my questions or made everything better. 

Yet somehow it still hits my soul in a way that I know I need to hear again. 


Heman’s Cry of Darkness

The glass is half empty, glass is half empty, glass is half empty… 

Creativity Slump – ish.

I have been an artist of sorts all of my life. I write. I play music. I write music. I paint and sketch. I dance. I was always the kid who found it easier to communicate through a letter or a poem or a song then having to compose my sentences whilst I looked at you. Maybe you’re an artist of sorts too? What inspires us or crushes our creativity is always fascinating to me.

It has been really difficult to write lately.

I am not feeling shy of creativity. In fact, sometimes when life is most complicated or painful or difficult, I find myself inspired with more and more material to work with. Yet… I have started a lot of blogs, songs, poems, pages of sorts. None of them complete.. none of them finished.

It is a different kind of creativity slump.

My head is a spin of many concepts and heartaches and I am finding it difficult to process. The topics I most want to write about are too close to my heart for the public to read. Or anyone to read for that matter but maybe one or two. So instead of blogging or songs or working on some writings I would like to expose my friends to or the wider public, I hibernate and write letters in a journal. A lot of letters. Two journals in fact. Words on a page that aren’t for you or you or you.

They are for… me. I guess. Or.. not.

Writing feels crippled and stunted because there are concepts and ideas I’d like to write about on here but I am afraid to. How do I write about some topics when I think I think in a way that is so foreign to most. I’d love to have some natter time with you on here about them. Really. It would be interesting and stimulating discussion. But my bravery has gone away. I know I am letting fear grip me. I don’t have anyone to be brave for me and I am not brave.

Then there are the things that are most precious. They are so precious they really need to be read to my best friend. But instead.. I keep them in a journal.. lots and lots of personal letters.

If letters could talk.. and they can in a way.. maybe they’d ask to be sent to someone.

But instead.. I will close the journal for another night. Procrastinate on the blog… and not finish what I really want to say just yet and leave it til another night.