“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” Galatians 5:1 (The Message)
I was having a conversation with the youth pastor at our church, Pastor Justin, several months ago. We were getting to know each other and I happened to describe myself to him as an introvert. He asked me why I would say that and then stated he used to describe himself as an introvert, but realized that in Christ, we are whatever we need to be – outspoken, quiet and observing – whatever God calls us to be at that time because in Him we find freedom.
At the time of our discussion, my gut instinct rebelled. I understood what he was saying, but I’d finally found freedom being able to declare myself an introvert instead of having to be everything everyone else wanted me to be. I’ve shared here before, that I grew up with strong perfectionistic tenderness. I falsely believed I was expected to be certain things, act certain ways, do certain activities. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy what I did or that I was living a lie all those years. However, the older I got, the more I realized a few things. I didn’t always like being out in front – I also enjoyed being behind the scenes, going home and recharging my batteries, and needing time alone to reflect, process, and be still.
I had a similar conversation with my sister a few years back when we were talking about introverts versus extroverts. She was reading a fascinating book and we were discussing it. She was shocked when I told her I thought I was an introvert. “You always have liked being on stage, out in front, and around lots of people.” My answer was, “To a degree…but when we all get together, like at family gatherings, aren’t I the one who sits on the sidelines holding the baby, or washing the dishes listening to the conversations around me instead of participating?” Her daughter piped up and said, “Exactly – I’m the same way!”
All those conversations led me to this conclusion. I completely agree with Pastor Justin – when I became a Christian, I found a freedom in Christ that erased the need for all labels. When God calls me to do something, He equips me with what I need in order to complete the task He has asked of me. However, my line of thinking is also correct. Because of that same freedom in Christ, I’m free to admit my tendencies and not have to prove to be something that goes against the genetic makeup that Christ created in me. I am free to erase all labels and do the job God asks, and I’m free to stand up and not be ashamed of having introverted tendencies in a sometime extroverted world.
That my friends, is what real freedom is. Embracing the way God made us and realizing that sometimes He will equip us with “more” in order to complete the very special task only we can accomplish for His glory. I want to thank Pastor Justin. If we hadn’t had that conversation, I may not have realized just how free in Christ I really am! In essence, we were saying the same thing, just coming at it from different angles.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014