Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 30} An Extrovert's Dilemma

Emily Freeman posted this quote on her blog yesterday....
“I’ve often done all I know to do to create space for God. I’ve spent time in prayer I thought was contemplative, I’ve said no to lesser desires to make room for rich fulfillment, I’ve knelt before God with the bread and wine . . . and for all my effort, I’ve felt only increased emptiness. Frustration. Silence. I created space for God and He didn’t fill it.
Or did He, in ways I failed to recognize because I was expecting something else? Or didn’t He, because I was arrogantly working hard, thinking He would be impressed and compelled to show up?”
- Dr. Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams

I went to Allume with a bit of this underlying expectation....but just in my own special way.
Let me explain.

I am an extrovert.
I have been my whole life because really .... that is pretty innate.
But growing up, I was a quiet extrovert.
A contemplative soul.
Melancholy even.

However, by the time I arrived at Oral Roberts University, I was bursting to come out of my own skin.

I felt like every other freshman on my floor -- alone, scared, insecure, wondering-if-I-should-stay, and if-I-would-ever-fit-in.

So I thought about it.
Cause that is my M.O.

The Bible says if you want friends, be friendly.
Or at least that was what it meant to me.
So I talked to everyone on my floor.

I never got a roommate so I kept my door open probably eighteen to twenty hours of the day.
I am SO not even kidding!
I had a revolving door.
But I took it to the streets, er, ahem, the hallways, neighbors' rooms, even the bathrooms.
I chatted with people in the shower stall next to me, while we brushed our teeth, while...okay, I think that is enough of that example....

I asked questions.
Lots and lots of questions.
What is your major?
Where are you from?
Why did you choose ORU?
Did you have a good day?
What do you think of your professors?
How many siblings do you have?
What is your dream for your life?

And on and one it went.
I made friends.
I loved my floor.
We played together a lot.
We even planned classes together.
We got to know our "brother wing." {partner guy floor}
We crammed for humanities and biology and dozens of other exams, bonding and laughing and developing our own inside jokes along the way.

And suddenly, a whole year had gone by and awards night had arrived.
I was helping my Resident Advisor, Bloodine, sort through the awards, and as we organized the order of the certificates, I came across my name.

Most Talkative.

And I looked at my RA, heart crushed, trying not to be disappointed, as I held back tears.
She was like, "Lindsey, are you really surprised?"
With head bowed low, I nodded, "Yes! Because when you call someone talkative, it can mean that they get on your nerves and you wish they would shut up."
"I can NOT give it out, if you do not want me to?" she kindly offered.
I said, "No, I'll be okay. If it's the truth and people voted that way, you have to give it out. I am just glad I saw it first so I can prepare myself."

So we continued sorting through the remaining superlatives, and suddenly I saw my name again.

Most Encouraging.

Bloodine smiled, "See Lindsey...the floor does not mean talkative in a negative way. They mean it in a good light. So even though you talk a lot, you are always encouraging others and lifting them up and trying to make them feel better and more connected. The floor would not be the same without you and that is the truth."

I have changed a lot from that eighteen year old girl.
And in some ways, I am her all over again, every time I am in a new season.
I am still talkative.
And I think encouraging too.
But life has pushed and poked and prodded me a bit.

And now.
I am a little less extroverted.
I takes me a while to warm up.
I do not walk into a new place being the life of the party.
I may not be the most popular face in the crowd.
Sometimes I wonder if I am even a REAL extrovert any more.

But I am.
Cause I love being with people.
Almost all of the time.

I felt that way at Allume this weekend.
A little overwhelmed at times.
A desire to stick with the people I knew.
But also...I wanted to be THAT girl....THAT girl who asked questions and gave freely.
I watched my other extrovert friends do it....why could I not?
What was wrong with me?
What was holding me back?

By the time my junior and senior year in college rolled around, I knew half of the campus, although I did not actually realize that fact until my friends pointed it out to me. It had been a gradual thing, not a guns blazing the trail kind of impact. Little by little, one conversation, and word of encouragement at a time. One moment of truth here, one letting down the guard there.

And suddenly, I was that girl.
The one who knows people.
A LOT of people.
By name.

This continued on for the next 10 years in ministry job after ministry job.
I knew people and people knew me.
And I liked that.
I AM an extrovert after all.

So, I went to Allume having this unspoken expectation.
I will be the life of the party.
I have done it before.
I will do it again.

All the while, more consciously, I was giving myself a different lecture -- to listen more, to talk less, to observe, and to stay tuned in to the people around me.

I somehow thought that I would seamlessly flow in and out of these two very different roles....after all, God has been doing a work in my heart for the past two years, surely, He will miraculously make this happen.

You can probably see where I am going.
Both could not work out very well.
And thus.... a viscious battle ensued....

Come back tomorrow 
for the conclusion of my dilemma
{and my 31 days!} 
and how God orchestrated the kind of conference 
HE wanted me to have for one very specific moment 
on the last evening of the weekend.

Want to read the entire 31 days of story?
If you do not want to miss even ONE day, please subscribe 
at the top of this post by entering your email address.


Stacy Karen said... Best Blogger Tips

I enjoyed reading this. I can tell you are an encouraging person just by the way you write :)

The world needs people like you!

Jen Price said... Best Blogger Tips

It reminds me of those times in our lives where God totally comes in and does something different, in a good way. Can't wait to read the rest of the story!

Melanie Gillgrist said... Best Blogger Tips

Wonderful words. And I love that we are next to each other at the Allume link up. Writing about similar things- from opposite ends of the spectrum. But both about being ourselves. (I think I'm an extroverted introvert= love asking questions, listening, reserved)

Becky Daye said... Best Blogger Tips

LIndsey- it was really great to meet you and I look forward to getting to know you more. I can't wait to read tomorrow! Thanks for being open and real and YOU!

Crystal said... Best Blogger Tips

meeting you was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. my introverted self really needed you to be the life of the party so i could feel welcome to join :) and you made that happen!

Libby said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm hooked. BBT (be back tomorrow)

Related Posts with Thumbnails