When Brothers Live Together; Part II

Missed Part I? You can read it HERE.

I'm sure you've all heard it:

I can't do that!

-No way I'm going to that party!

-No way I'm hanging out with that crowd!

-No way I'm going to try that!

-No way! It's too stressful. I really need my alone time.

-Just need to recharge, you know?

'Cause I'm an introvert. 

We've taken that test, and now we have a bunch of letters labeling our identities, describing who we are, what we do, the way we're supposed to work.

It's trendy, and really pretty cool.

And those letters? They can be useful. Finding out what I was and why really helped me to better understand myself and my motivations. I formed a much clearer picture of my needs, and a much better basis from which I could understand the world and my interactions with it.

I also allowed that big letter 'I' to let me off the hook.

A lot.

Anything I didn't want to do? Well, now I had the perfect excuse not to do it.

Introvert, ya'll.

People? Stressful. Crowds? Stressful. Noises? Stressful. Conversations? Stressful.

So I gave myself permission to run, to exclude and to hide. And you didn't dare judge me, because I wasn't antisocial, I was an introvert. And we just really need that recharge time.

I'm fairly certain that the good folks who created the Myers-Briggs test didn't mean for their little quiz to start ruining communities. But for me (and for many other people I've encountered) it very nearly did.

Because community has to be made up of a group of people who are willing to sacrifice.

And I decided that it was okay to put a bunch of letters before other people's needs and my social obligations. My stress and my needs somehow became more important than relationships. It became acceptable to walk away from people or situations that stressed me out, and the more I walked away, the smaller my radius of comfort became. If you don't push your boundaries, your boundaries will confine you. 'Introvert' began defining my interactions (or lack thereof), and my own personality became my new idolatry.

I wonder, has it become yours as well?

If so, then maybe it's time to start smashing that pretty golden calf.

Break those boundaries.

Go to the party.

Am I recommending that we all just abandon our personalities and disregard our preferences? That we allow ourselves to be caught up and spun from one activity to the next until we're on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Of course not! I believe that it's perfectly healthy and valid to realize your limits, set boundaries, and take time for refreshment (hey, even Jesus did that!). After all, we have been commanded to 'love others as we love ourselves', and we can't do that unless we're actually receiving God's love for us and caring for ourselves in a proper way. A personality test can be a great tool to help you figure out the best way to do that.

But it's just a tool. Not a manual for how to live life.

Those letters? They can't expand or change.

But you can.

So why are you so willing to let your own boundaries define you?

Do you think it honors your Creator when you cower within man-made limitations and refuse to step foot outside the bounds of comfort?

It's only by pushing that you can discover where your limits actually lie. And the more you push, the smaller your limitations will become.

How do I know?

Well, I listened to what God had to say, put a few big dents in my golden calf, and moved to Mozambique.

I live in one of the noisiest parts of town.
There are people. Everywhere.
There are people coming and going from my house. All the time.
I have to talk to lots of people. In a foreign language.
People stare at me and talk to me. Every time I leave my house.
I attend a 6000 member church. Multiple times a week.
I go shopping in crowded markets.
I stand around (in crowds) while I wait to ride (crowded) public transportation.

Is it stressful? Oh yeah.

Do I regret my choice? Sometimes.

But I have been stretched far beyond my boundaries and discovered that I can (and do) function in circumstances that would have been almost unimaginable before.

These people who've pushed me far from my limits? They're part of my community now. If I'd stayed comfortably within my boundaries, I never would have met them. Now, I can't imagine what a sad half-life I would live without them.

My letters don't define me anymore. God does.

What about you?

Are your letters holding you back?

Why don't you give them to God and see what He has to say?

Because it's only when you're willing to be uncomfortable that the community, the encouragement, and the transformation can really begin.


  1. Hi Janie, I just found your blogs through the Chatterbox linkup.
    Just wanted to tell you this post is so good, so exactly what I needed to hear. I'm an introvert too, and often I find myself using that as an excuse... But I don't want to let my letters hold me back any longer - it's about God and others not me! Anyway, thanks so much for sharing this, it has definitely inspired me, and now I'm going to go and see what else your blog has to offer!
    God bless,

    1. Hello, Jessica! Welcome to my blog (or blogs. I do keep a separate one for my creative writing, as I'm sure you're aware by now). :) I'm so glad that you found some encouragement here. Learning how to let God define you and your interactions with others is a long, hard process - I'm still very much in the midst of mine - but incredibly rewarding, as well. I'm actually planning another post about introvert self-care in the midst of a busy environment. That might interest you, as well.
      Blessings on your journey!

  2. I posted this on my Facebook wall. I hope you don't mind.

    1. Not at all! I'm glad that you enjoyed it enough to share.


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