Introverted Extrovert (sounds like a new species)

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Does God care if you’re an introvert or an extrovert? Does one personality type please Him more than another? Is one personality a more effective evangelist?

A couple things recently have caused me to wonder. First, I have always referred to myself as an extrovert. I love people, I’m bubbly, animated, talkative, a people-pleaser and I can’t stay home a full day alone. In fact, the minute I’m snow-bound or otherwise shut up indoors, I’m bound to try and go out (usually to my detriment) just to make sure that I’m not really stuck by myself.

Recently, I have continued a life-long bad habit of over committing. I try to make sure that I’m never lonely or bored. So I promise to work this shift, meet that person, take on that volunteer opportunity, do this Bible study, etc. Finally, I guess I’m getting old, I suddenly realize that when I get that busy all I want is to be alone. Suddenly, I crave those long mornings in Bible study when I don’t have to be anywhere before noon. I miss the moments of cuddling with my puppy and the hours to experiment in my kitchen. I’ve come to a crisis of identity. Am I still an extrovert or am I a closet introvert?

According to definition: 

Basically, an extrovert is a person who is energized by being around other people. This is the opposite of an introvert who is energized by being alone.

I don’t feel like I could live in the extreme of either circumstance. But truthfully, as much as I love being with people, I feel inflated after a couple hours alone, with either a sermon or Christian music playing. What about you?

Last Sunday, our pastor confessed to being an introvert. Obviously, he’s serving the Lord and serving people and he’s not alone all the time. So, is there a right way to be?

God has blessed me in my extroverted moments. I get chatty on this blog and I comment on other’s blogs. I have tried to encourage my readers to be vulnerable, outreaching Christians. A few months ago, I gave away 2 Starbucks gift cards per week, asking the recipients to take a friend out to coffee and share the love of Jesus with them. That request introduced me to a special friend.

When one of the recipients of the gift cards provided me with her address, I was floored to find out that she lives in my home town! I wrote a quick note, stuffed the envelope and stuck it in the mail. Imagine how shocked I was four weeks later when they came back to me. Not a “return to sender” but a freshly stuffed envelope with a full-page personal note, a gift card TO me, a couple beautiful drawings and a cash gift. Stunned. Shocked, Humbled, Grateful. 

The card was gracious. She thanked me for reaching out to her. In return she extended kindness to me on one of those days when I was feeling friendless and lonely. Now, I’ve sent her something and we tag each other in blog posts (:

Another new, unexpected friendship began about a year ago. An elderly couple was dining at Panera just behind me as I was working. When they rose to leave, the lady commented on my Bible. “It’s so nice to see someone in the Word.” One little sentence struck a quickly deepening conversation. I must have stalled them for 30 minutes as we uncovered that her hubby was retired military, I told them about my husband, my writing, my church. She asked me about joining my church’s Bible study. We exchanged phone numbers and bid farewell.

I didn’t see Bob or Shirley again until yesterday. She hadn’t returned my phone call and I didn’t want to be a pest. But when our paths crossed in Panera again, in our same seats, Shirley jumped up, spry for a 76-year-old woman. Shirley explained that her daughter had had surgery and she herself had battled some health issues. But she definitely still wanted a chance to study the Bible with my church and to become better friends. We traded numbers again and said goodbye with a genuine hug.

Then there’s Fred. My atheist friend at Panera who gives me practical advice and driving directions around D.C. We met when he pointed me to the only electrical outlet at Panera. Since then we’ve exchanged small gifts, talked for half an hour at a time and grinned at each other across the dining room. (Don’t worry, he’s my granddad’s age.)

All these examples only serve to explain that being extroverted, needing to be around people and to have relationships, has provided me myriad opportunities to learn from others and to share the love of Christ with them. If I had been cuddled up at home alone, I would never have met these people.

From the other side of the isle: Jesus often escaped to be alone. (Luke 5:16) A Christian will never have the nourishment or energy to grow in their walk with the Lord if they are always being stuffed with the company of and interaction with other people. In Psalm 46:10 God commands us to be still and know that He is God. Stillness is not an attribute often exhibited by extroverts.

My researched conclusion is this: it’s not OK to say, “That’s just the way I am.” We can’t stay the same. We will all be born with a bent, but it is the beauty and glory of Jesus that constantly straightens us and changes us to be more like Him.

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18

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Friendship Poems All Over the Place

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A few months ago, we did a Starbucks give away here on Predatory Lies. Well, I thought that recipients would take friends out to coffee and see already established friendships flourish. Boy, was I lucky! I found a new friend in the craziest way! She has commented on this blog before, and then she won a set of gift cards so I had to learn her address and guess what – she lives in my home town!

We’ve still never met, but we have now exchanged cards and small gifts and I have tiny glimpse of her precious, unique personality. How big is our Awesome God!

Here’s my reply poem to her, as she recently posted one that referenced our new-found friendship.

OH my goodness, you make me smile!!
Forget the distance, the space and mile.
It takes hours, minutes or days to see,
Passing time to touch, to reach.

But a thought!
Just a moment, and it’s shared so wide.
Others we’ll never see,
Now share the love ‘tween you and me.

The Velveteen Rabbit once was told,
Reality can’t be bought or sold.
Neither can friendship, it takes belief,
I believe in you and me.

So here’s my kiss, on your precious cheek,
And I’ll squeeze your hand.
This tiny peak,
Into your soul.

Thank you for opening your heart.
Like a flower, your fragrant grace
Escaped the hours.
Of space,
Of distance, of mile.
New, old, REAL friend,
You make me smile.

Kylie Reese Gunderson

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Just in case I miss a day of communication here, I thought I’d post some pictures of Kylie so that you can understand how good my reason is! I do plan to keep up with the blog theme of mentoring, and I will catch up with Starbucks card giveaways as soon as I get home. I haven’t had a response for contact information for last week’s winner, so I may have to draw another name. Both sets of giveaways will go out next Wed.

Lastly, I’m sharing a poem that I wrote for Kylie:

 

A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.

So when fear strikes hold, your heart is a pawn,

In a ruthless game of chess.

When fear grants your heart no rest.

 

A baby is My Father’s opinion that the world should go on.

He bid me wait at least one more day

Till I bring you to our home to stay.

Dearest Kylie, learn to wait on your knees.

 

A baby is My opinion that the world should go on.

I want you, Love, to know me as your very own.

To learn to worship at my unseen throne.

To know me as your closest, sometimes only friend.

The grass will grow, sun wake and fall

Until my final trumpet call.

Wait, please wait – these days are mine for you.

Come grow up in my arms.

Love, Jesus

Free Starbucks!

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I’m writing this as I sit at home (where I never write well) with a cardboard cup of instant coffee. Don’t ask. It did remind me however, that tomorrow, I get to give you a FREE $5 gift card to Starbucks. As we’re discussing mentorship this month, my hope is that you will take someone under your wing or duck underneath theirs and share a cup of coffee. Pray together, love on each other, share Jesus.

Just make sure you show up here tomorrow and make a comment. I’d love it if you put a link to Predatory Lies on your blog or in an email to a friend. Tomorrow I will pray with you here too. Know that you are daily prayed for.

Sharing Jesus, who is our joy. abby

FREE STARBUCKS

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Don’t forget that tomorrow is the first, free Starbucks gift card giveaway! Let’s get chatty! All you have to do for a chance to win is talk with me here this week. Tell me about a mentor or someone you have mentored.

Tell me about your prayer life – how do you intercede? do you pray the scriptures? with music? do you kneel? do you pray intentionally?

I’m anxious to hear from you and I wish we could share a cup of coffee personally!

Starbucks Has Nothing On Me!

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Hands down, my favorite recipe right now is my morning protein shake. Now, before you go back to reading someone else’s blog, or back to your email or to make yourself a sandwich – take a look at this scrumptious concoction. I admit, the first publication of this recipe was not a protein shake.

Eating Well, a wonderful website and even better magazine, published this recipe as a frozen mochaccino, an excellent (and cheaper) version of Starbucks Frappuccino. Being a vegetarian, I’m always on the prowl for more protein that is NOT cheese, egg whites or tuna. And, being a former Starbucks employee, having lost my discount there, I am always on the prowl for yummy drink substitutions.

I have provided a link to the original Eating Well recipe, here, but if any of you are even moderate health-nuts with a tub of protein powder in your pantry, at least try my version.

Abby’s Protein Shake (that I literally drinks every single morning, and would like to drink 2 a day!)

1 Cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk [I use Almond Breeze]

2 packages artificial sweetener

1 scoop of protein powder (vanilla or chocolate depending on your preference) [I use Isolyze]

1 Tbs. cocoa powder or PB2 if you like peanut butter and who doesn’t?

At this point, if you want to add some pizzazz, you can add a Tbs. or so of Davinci flavored syrup

And NOW for the secret ingredient: frozen coffee ice cubes. The day before, save your left over coffee, add a Tbs. or so of instant coffee to double the strength and freeze in an ice cube tray. I add 8 cubes + 1 regular ice cube to my mixture.

It’s so easy. One blender – toss it all in and blend like crazy! The longer you blend, a whey protein will tend to thicken and volumize. I love that it usually overflows one Eskimo Joe’s cup and I get to drink the rest straight from the blender.

If you make this recipe as I have listed above, and use a sugar free flavored syrup, your drink (the whole thing) will have about 190 calories. It doesn’t get better than that!

Enjoy!