This was our first book selection for the year.   The author and her book were featured in an article that came out in Time Magazine shortly after the release of the book  The Upside of Being an Introvert.   It has taken me over 40 years to see being an introvert as a positive thing.  In elementary school, I would take my book to the top of the jungle and sit and read for the entire recess.  Books were my friends.  I had an average of 8 books checked out at one time from the school library.  In 6th grade I read a book that radically changed me, The New Lucinda.

I am fairly sure that most of you have never heard of this book, nor would have chosen it as a paradigm-shifter, life-changer  type of book . . . yet, it was for me.   I read it shortly before switching schools to junior high.  It was about an awkward girl who never fit in, but had the chance to re-make herself when she moved to a different school.  She changed her look, clothes and personality and was rewarded by fitting in the popular kids.  Then one day, someone found out about her past and her popularity plummeted.  In the end, she learned to be happy being herself.  But I took a different lesson from the book.

It was inspirational for me in showing me that I could change, and I decided from the first day of entering Lancaster Christian in 7th grade, I would not be the quiet introvert who I was, but I would make an effort to interact with people and learn the art of conversation.  And, I did and it worked.  Yet, I always felt a bit empty and while I could interact and engage with almost everyone, it never satisfied me.

What I mostly enjoyed were long talks with one friend–one or two relationships that deepened and grew.  Parties were a waste of time–boring.  I felt lonely in a crowd and fulfilled by a good deep talk with people.

Then I met and married another introvert.  Knowing and understanding this about ourselves has been very helpful.  We get exhausted in large groups and need time at home to recharge.  Since we are constantly surrounded by 7 children, it is not easy for us to get that alone time.

“Our tendency to be extroverted or introverted is as profound a part of our identities as our gender.”  There are often books written specifically to women or to men,that completely neglect to take the characteristics of personality into play.

A friend of mine said, “We also do not take into account personality when we are looking at spiritual gifts.  We expect all Christians to evangelize and talk with someone  on the train or the plane, but if we looked at the personality type of the typical evangelist, they are probably an extrovert.”  Making an extrovert out to be more spiritual is dangerous as well as catering to the extrovert in the workplace.  What I appreciated most about this article was the attention and awareness that it gave to the importance of introverts explaining how what many perceive as a weakness is actually a hidden strength.

One thing that I appreciated about Sweden, was that I was simply seen as Debbie, NOT–debbie the MOM, debbie the FEMALE, debbie the WIFE, debbie the INTROVERT.  I was not a sum of different labels, but was accepted for myself.  I think the more we can begin to see each of us as unique creations of God, we will not characterize people into different groups and expect them to perform according to their label.  Rather, we will allow others to be who they are and appreciate who God made them.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2105432,00.html#ixzz29H7wHPSJ

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