I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139:14, NIV
So, I am a bit of an introvert. Well, I actually lean more towards an ambivert. If you haven’t heard of that it’s okay. I believe it is a new term for someone who can be both shy and outgoing, depending upon the circumstances. See, I can make small talk with perfect strangers if I decide to, but in a small group setting? Forgetta ’bout it. I stop talking. I get nervous about what to say next. I’m worried that what I say will be taken wrong, or just make things awkward. I’ve had that happen before. I have even been called snobbish for not talking much in groups. But, I have learned that being an introvert makes me a better listener and more observant of others who are introverts. I find people who are willing to talk, but are being ignored by the others at social settings. I am aware of those who are hurting in the room as well.
Recently, a conversation about being socially awkward came up, no, it wasn’t about me, but the other person. They were getting down on themselves for being introverted and shy at social gatherings. They felt left out and it made them sad, and lose hope of finding new friends. They believed people would not like them because they are quiet in social settings. Believe me, I can relate. I’ve felt that way before. It seems the world is geared towards the extroverts, who always seem to have a large group of friends. They are the life of the party, so to speak, whether it is at work, social gatherings, or even church. But, despite their popularity and their infinite amount of small talk, they might have problems with listening to others. Why? because they talk too much!
But, really, that’s okay too. We are all different. And that is a good thing. God has given us all a different personality. And we need to celebrate that and not try to be someone we are not. Sometimes, if we are being honest, we can get jealous of the personality of others. We want to be like them. Have their friends. Have their following. Have their job. Have their family. We start to believe the lie, that if we could just be different than ourselves, are life would be different. Better. We tend to default to seeing the grass greener on the other side of the fence. We might even try to change to be like the other person. If we are shy, we try to be outgoing. If we are an extrovert we might try to be quieter.
But, what if instead, we try to accept who God made us to be? There are parts of our personalities that are just genetics. And there are some that are learned through observed behavior. Either way, God can use our unique personalities for His glory. He’s okay with us loving ourselves. We are His creation. If we hate how He made us, it would seem like we are ungrateful towards Him. Or we think He makes mistakes. As the psalmist wrote we are fearfully AND wonderfully made. Do you consider yourself something wonderful? Do you consider yourself loved? Or even lovable? God says you are. And He says we are to love others. How? Are you ready for it?… as we love ourselves. (James 2:8, Mark 12:31, Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39, Galatians 5:14,Luke 10:27, Matthew 19:19, Romans 13:9)
As you can see above, there are quite a few references to Jesus’ second greatest commandment. So, do you love yourself? Including your personality? It might be difficult to love others until we can love and come to terms with who God made us to be. Do you love who God made? Do you love you? I have heard that sometimes why we end up being so critical of others, is that we first are super critical of ourselves. Have you found that to be true? I find it in myself. I am my harshest critic. I expect perfection from myself and that spills over onto what I expect from others. I am getting better, thankfully with God’s grace, by understanding God’s grace and mercy shown to me. And that is a part of what it takes to love ourselves. Give ourselves some mercy and grace. If we keep comparing ourselves to others, we will always think we are not the best we can be and will have a difficult time accepting who God has made us to be. Instead, we need to stop the comparison trap, accept ourselves, give ourselves some grace when we fall short, and love ourselves. The, we can stop focusing on ourselves and really seek out those to love- the way Jesus’ commanded us to. God Bless- Nancy