Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Advice for Introverts & Gardeners.

Confession: I've had a lot of trouble figuring out how to be an introvert in the Kingdom of God. Being called to go out and change the world and whatnot is quite a daunting task when you're really much more comfortable being invisible.

When I ask God to "change" me, mostly what I'm secretly hoping for is a personality transplant. You know, I want Him to go poof! and suddenly I am a very courageous, outgoing person who can stand in front of a huge crowd and tell them about Jesus--it doesn't even have to be a huge crowd really, a small one will do. I want to have this confidence that makes my thoughts quiet enough so I can speak without stumbling and make plans without second-guessing myself. And I could go to another country, even if they didn't speak my language, because I would just be so charismatic and loving and God would shine through me, and I would know that I was investing my talents, and I would be able to hand them over to God and say, look God, see how I've multiplied the gifts You've given me! 

It's always made me uneasy. The story of the talents, that is (see Matt. 25:14-30). Because that last guy, the one with only one talent, reminds me of myself--which is incredibly terrifying, since at the end of the story he is thrown out into the weeping, gnashing darkness (v.30). Why? Because he told his master this: "I was afraid and hid your talent in the ground," (v.25). Which sounds frighteningly like a response I would give. If there is one single thing that keeps me from something I could or should be doing, it is fear.

I could go on about this subject for a long time. Probably a few hundred pages, if I was feeling really ambitious. Fear versus faith and all that, how God tells us over and over again to stop being afraid, that the Spirit that lives inside us is bigger than fear, that He is the strength in our weakness, and really if we just quit whining and would look to Him and hold His hand, everything would turn out okay. But I think that would be a bit much to expound on, here.

So back to the story of the talents. Basically, God told me--or is in the process of telling me, to be more accurate, because it takes me quite awhile to learn these things, and He has to repeat Himself a lot--to stop asking for other people's talents when He's already given me my own. I am an introvert, and He's not going to magically change that just so it's easier for me to talk to people. Yes, I may have to stretch out of my comfort zone at times, or even most of the time, but I will be fine because His strength is made perfect in my weakness; and really, if it was my strength, I'd probably become so inflated with pride that I would get in the way of God's glory, and it would just be a big mess.

I began writing this blog because this is my talent. One of them, at least. God told me to do this, and so I am doing it, and I have no idea what the return will be. I don't know where these words will go. Maybe they will simply stay right here, truths rushing back to strengthen my heart even as I pour them out. Which is good, and enough, even when my selfish side insists that it would be cooler to stand in front of a bunch of people and have 3,000 of them get saved at once. But God tells me not to worry about it, that He is the one who makes things grow. He only asks us to plant the seeds, and it's okay if we start with the small ones.

That's how He likes to start, too. With small people like me, and you, because He loves to make things grow. And that makes me very glad.

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