Growing up as a middle child (the loser of the all sibling situations possible), sensitive, introverted, and very cautious in making decisions, I found myself tumbled through life like I was part of the laundry.
I’d say yes even if everything inside me said no. My need to make everyone around me happy slowly and steadily stole all happiness from me. It made all color grey and all – every and any – decision scary.
You might think this is really dumb. If you’re really independent, anything extroverted, or have no issues with decisions then I applaud you. Honestly. You are what I wish I could be. There have been significant moments for me where I wish I could throw off any introverted reality that my brains sets in and be as bold and brilliant as I want to be. But that’s not me. That’s not who I am in my everyday.
Making my way through my twenties I slowly realized this about myself. I’ve made many, many strides in this area. However, sometimes I shrink back. Sometimes I realize I’m right where I didn’t want to be a few years ago and I’m not sure how my heart was able to squirm out from under me and reach back to dreadfully familiar territory.
A few years ago I was walking on the beach back in good old San Francisco having what I’d call a rant with God. I was frustrated. I was annoyed. Back then I was even more down on myself than I happen to be now and I was just listing off all these things that were just wrong.
Then I started to list off things about me that were wrong. Some were obvious, roll your eyes, “of course” things. But I went a step further. I began to list things that came straight from my personality. I told God I wasn’t a big fan of how He made me XYZ as tears started rolling down my cheeks. I’m sure this stemmed from my introverted volcano clogged with emotion, but nonetheless.
And in those moments I felt like He should have made me different. I should’ve been extroverted and outgoing, ready to fit in and get along with everyone and their mom because I actually enjoyed it, not because my people pleasing nature demanded it. “I should’ve been more like this, God” I said defiantly.
I felt Him shut me up. I got really quiet. “Don’t say that.”
“I made you this way. I LOVE those things about you.”
It’s hard to imagine a world where the very things I dislike about myself were actually placed there with purpose.
Is it so impossible to believe that when God said He made us in His image that meant both the extroverts and the introverts? That maybe somewhere in the vast depth of who God is there are introverted tendencies? Is it too difficult to imagine a resting place where I can take a deep breath and know that it’s ok to be myself?
Maybe people won’t be huge fans of who I am.
Speaking specifically to personality – Does it matter?
I should be this, that, this and that – Are you sure?
Maybe if I was supposed like that He would have made me that way.
Maybe if I was supposed to be liked by everybody – hello people pleaser – He would have made sure that happened.
But He didn’t. He made me, me. And that’s ok. It’s actually more than ok. Learning to live with the qualities specially placed inside you could be groundbreaking. Learning to embrace the fullness of the personality – the image of God stuff – you’ve been given could be monumental in fulfilling who you were made to be: yourself.
If God wanted you to be like them, He would have made you like them.
If God wanted you to be more like this, He would have made you like this.
He didn’t. He made you, you. That has to be enough! If it’s not, we’re saying, “Hey God, thanks but no thanks” and if He doesn’t have it figured out why in the heck would I think I do?
So do me a favor. Take a breather already. Stop trying to sift through your heart and soul to fit a role you were never intended to play. Be yourself. Don’t get me wrong – we all need to be growing, changing in becoming more like Christ, and challenging ourselves – but not to the extent where we mold ourselves into someone that looks nothing like the someone God made you.
If He made you this way on purpose – why not start living like it?