I am an introvert.
If you physically do life with me, you are probably thinking, “What? Nah.”
Seriously, though. My personality type is extremely introverted and it has held me back from my true potential.
I spent a good thirty years of my life being plagued by my introvertedness (Is that a word? It should be…). In fact, I believe it is the root of my deep insecurities and the weed that choked the life out of me during my youth and teen years. Before I even knew what an introvert was, I allowed it to have power and control over the person I was. Early on, this led me to be extremely shy, reserved, and alone. As the awkward tween years came on hot and heavy, I used my introvertedness to have power and control over others. Yup, I became a teenage, queen bee bully – very much like a real-life Regina George from the movie Mean Girls. I suspected that if I fought against all of my natural inclines with all of my little, bratty, highly insecure teenage might, I could finally have control over the very thing I felt was controlling me.
I’ll spare the gory details for another time. Let’s just say, this did not end well.
Less than a decade later and with no sense of any real, authentic friendships in my life, I finally reached my breaking point and came to Christ. I was overjoyed with the opportunity for a fresh start, a new life with a new beginning (2 Corinthians 5:17) and as an added bonus for my personal story, a new last name and place of residency. (I got married and relocated across the country shortly after becoming a Christian.)
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
Even with a blank slate, however, I felt my old self lingering. Almost like a pair of semi-worn clothes tossed on a chair in the corner of your bedroom – it was as if I had worn new clothes for a while and then forgot to wash the clothes resting in the corner. Instead of throwing them in the hamper, I gave them a good sniff and then conceded they were in good enough condition to wear.
In other words – my introvertedness was hanging around like a stale clothing.
It wasn’t until the last few years that I finally learned something – dying to my self, as in letting go or killing away all of my selfish wants, needs and desires, allowed my true identity in Christ to shine through. The light revealed a glimpse of my true potential.
Throughout that time, I found Paul’s letter to the Galatians especially encouraging. Including these passages:
“I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave His life for me.”Galatians 2:20 (CEV)
“And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires.”Galatians 5:24 (CEV)
It is a prayer I pray quite often because I am still very much an introvert today, but like I mentioned above, those who do life with me would not agree and they are right. Because of the Holy Spirit working within me and the power of persistent prayer, I am what I like to call an “extroverted introvert.” Or as Fancy Nancy would describe it – a fancy way of saying I enjoy spending time with people and in social environments but prefer more quiet, intimate settings with a few friends or family members. (I’m a mom of 4 girls. If you don’t know who Fancy Nancy is – google her.)
My introvertedness is a big part of who I am but it does not define who I am and nor should it define you. Maybe you don’t relate to me as an introvert. Maybe for you it is something else, something that seems to be ingrained in you and what makes you feel like you.
Friend, let me tell you that the things that are holding you back from your true potential are not the things that were a part of your origin design. (Ephesians 2:10)
Yes, God created you for more, but He also sent His Son to redeem you from your less. (John 3:30)
When you receive the Holy Spirit after you accept Jesus’ death and resurrection for your sin (bents, brokenness and future sins included), the Spirit will begin to stir around who you are and who you were created to be.
God had great plans for you before the beginning of time (Psalm 139) and friend, those great plans have an even greater purpose – none of them included the entrance of sin into the world and into your life.
When I pray the prayer to “die to my self” I am blown away every time by the seemingly out of body experience I experience. It’s as if I am not the one living within my own body. I do things I wouldn’t normally do (like approach strangers, engage in conversation, or even invite them into my home – these have all happened over the last year and have been BIG blessings to my soul). It’s the Spirit at work, moving and shaking things up, stirring things around and removing any dullest or imperfections that would affect the end result.
So next time Satan tries to scheme you and restrict you, think about what could happen if you said, “Not today, Satan!” and then called on the Holy Spirit’s power to resurrect you like He did His son. Die to your self and consider the possibilities of what if and what could occur if you were living not in the flesh but in the Spirit.
Your true potential awaits. God knows it, He sees it, and heck, He designed it. He’s just waiting for you to uncover it so He can reveal the person He created you to be.