shallow

Proper Care and Feeding for an Introvert at Christmas

There are many fantastic things about Christmas, including:  wonderful music, festivities, eggnog, generosity, beautiful lights and lots more!  Of course, the best thing about Christmas is thinking about Jesus coming into human existence as a newborn and the whole Christmas story.  When I ponder Jesus’ birth and the surrounding events, like the angelic visitation to the shepherds and magi following a star, I’m deeply awed when I consider all of this as a vibrant expression of God loving humanity.

But alas, sometimes Christmas can get swallowed up in the frenzy of parties, cookies, concerts, caroling, wrapping, decorating, shopping, baking and heaps more.  And coming from an introvert’s point of view, sometimes Christmas can be overwhelming.  So if you know an introvert (coworker, family member, spouse, neighbor, classmate, etc.), here might be some helpful suggestions that could sooth that introvert and keep them less prickly.

  • Space:  whenever introverts have heavy obligations or frequent demands (office parties, school programs, Christmas concerts, secret Santa exchanges), they will need space (breathing room) to offset these expectations.
  • Quiet:  loud Christmas music, raucous parties and blaring noises can necessitate some quiet for your introvert.  They can struggle if noise (background TV, carols, concerts, programs) seems to be endless.
  • Solitude:  Christmas is a social season and while introverts can be social, it’s helpful to remember that they recover and get refueled with solitude or quiet company
  • Depth:  Lots of times Christmas overflows with superficial conversations about the weather, getting shopping done, being ready for Christmas, kids activities, reindeer accessories, etc.  Introverts flourish in deep conversations and shrivel in the shallow exchanges.
  • Feeding:  sometimes you can lure an introvert from their den with a plate of cookies, or their favorite snack J

My daughter and I were talking about the whole introvert and extrovert Christmas experience and we both enjoyed chatting about these respective viewpoints and how we process Christmas.  No matter if you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, Christmas is the celebration and evidence of God expressing genuine love for humanity.

And as we think about Jesus’ birth, I’m often riveted by the shepherd’s experience in Luke 2 because maybe they were introverts, keeping watch over their sheep in a field at night.  Shepherds at this time in history lived a more solitary existence, since sheep required abundant pastures for foraging, along with quiet brooks for clean water.  And when their work had become the most quiet and settled, in the night watches, they were freaked out with an angelic visit, complete with God’s glory shining around them.  Of course, the angel, Gabriel, told them not to be afraid, because they were astounded!

Furthermore, after Gabriel’s announcement, heaps more angels popped onto the scene with singing and celebration – an incredible divine interruption and display of jubilant revelry!  The shepherds responded to this experience by hustling into Bethlehem to find the baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger.  I’m pretty sure that Mary, Jesus’ mom, was somewhat surprised to see these strangers celebrating her sons’ birth and maybe she was also an introvert, pondering these things in her heart.

Whatever your personality is, let’s remember that Jesus’ birth is the crosshairs for Christmas and let’s stay in grateful awe of God’s extravagant genuine love for us, personified in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s Son.

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Christmas, cooking, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 1 comment

Be Shallow & Superficial ,)

Image #: 133959    After more than 30 years of greeting youngsters each day  on television with his trademark "Hi, neighbor," Fred Rogers, shown in this undated publicity photograph with character "King Friday" is putting away his cardigan and sneakers for good.  His show, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," will continue to appear on TV's Public Broadcasting System for years to come in re-runs, but the final original episodes of the show will air this week on PBS. REUTERS/Photo Courtesy Family Communications /Landov

The words, “shallow” & “superficial” almost evoke a gagging reflex in me & I’ve been this way for my entire life.  Case in point:  as a 4year old, I preferred Seasame Street, Electric Company & Zoom to Mr Roger’s Neighborhood, because I thought Mr Rogers was juvenile.  I even complained to my parents, “He talks like I’m a child!”  So the idea of being shallow, superfical & juvenile has been repulsive to me for a long time.

Now, however, I kind of like shallow & superficial and here’s why:  the world is too heavy to carry and the challenges I have are too hefty to solve, despite my best thinking, planning, education and efforts.  Even though I like to think deeply, I need to come up for air and be more lite & bright, from time to time.  I remind myself of these guiding principles when I get morose and dark:

  • Luke 1:37, “Nothing is impossible for God”
  • Ps 55:22, “Cast your cares on the Lord because He cares for you.”
  • Rom 8:28-29, “All things work together for good to those who love God & who are called according to His purposes.”
  • Ps 25:15, “My eyes are continually on You & You pluck my feet from the net.”
  • Matt 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God & all these things will be added to you.”
  • John 14:16, “I will ask the Father & He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”

So let’s stay lite, bright & maybe even a little superficial & shallow!   Feel free to pass this along to someone who might be a little discouraged 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, values, watch, 0 comments

masterpiece

picasso-blue-room-phillips

There’s been some interesting news lately about Pablo Picasso & one of his famous paintings, Blue Room.  In this painting, Picasso painted a woman, but art experts have found another painting behind the surface painting.  The image behind the woman is a portrait of a bearded man & experts are trying to figure out who the man was, along with many other mysterious & important details.  It appears that Picasso used his canvass for more than one painting (not an uncommon practice with artists).

Perhaps this is also true with the greatest Artist of all, our Creator.  Perhaps God has not only made the external masterpiece that we can all see on the outside of each other & maybe there’s also an internal masterpiece inside of us that God has also created.  Let’s be careful that we don’t get stuck in looking at the outside of people, but let’s allow God to show us the masterpiece inside someone & not merely the external painting 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments