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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

margin

I’m writing this post as a total hypocrite on this topic because I’m currently the absolute WORST at this, but the topic of margin is nevertheless really important.  When my kids write out a long paragraph, it helps me heaps when they leave some space around their writing so my eyes can get a break from the deciphering exercise 🙂

I think this is also true with our daily living.  When we pack each day to the uttmost with events, activities, appointments, responsibilities, demands, etc then it gets difficult to:

  • see where we’re going & ultimately achieve goals that are genuinely important
  • rest – even our sleep becomes fitful
  • listen – the clutter of an overfull life can easily drown out the still small voice from God that we so desperately need
  • be present & our relationships move into shallow mode – sometimes necessary but not healthy for the longterm
  • remain healthy

Dear Sarah, please keep some margins in your life 🙂

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

Minimizing Distance

I had an interesting discussion w God during my prayer time today about what creates distance or gaps in my relationship w God. I started thinking about the whole Garden of Eden debacle & it seems like that’s a great place to look at the distance dilemma. The conversation Eve had with the snake suggests a few distance “insights”:
*believing lies & distortions about God’s Word creates distance
*talking about God rather than with God can be a distance indicator
*passivity can create distance w God (it looks like Adam was listening to the conversation between Eve & the serpent in Gen 3)
*desiring anything more than God can create distance (Eve looked at the fruit & it looked good to her)
Now my point in sharing these things is that I don’t want to have any gaps or distance in my relationship w God. So if you’re like me, maybe these could be helpful red flags. Do you have more insights or suggestions (not just the normal “sin” answer, please)? Thanks muchos!! 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, 0 comments

rejuvenate

 I find that its really important to have times to rejuvenate & perhaps these few days are for exactly that purpose.  Like virtually everyone else, it seems like December is normally packed to the gills with activities, festivities, parties, obligations & general frenzied demands.  But after Christmas, there seems to be an accepted pause or exhale.  For me, this break in activity is very rejuvenating.  It helps me to have some space & time to think, listen, be still, enjoy my family, sleep, read, cook simple things, talk long w best friends and stay warm under a heavy blanket. 

I know that soon enough, the pace will again commence & I’ll get back into the regular groove & routines.  But for this time to pause, I’m thankful.  Furthermore, perhaps when we take time to “sharpen the saw” maybe our work efforts will be more effective & less arduous 😀

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, cooking, family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, 0 comments

margins

I feel like I’m the pot calling the kettle black with this blog – guilty as charged & a walking contradiction, maybe even borderline hypocrite.  Here’s why:  the last 2 weeks have been busy beyond any degree of rational acceptance and now I’m writing a blog about keeping margins in our lives.  A margin is the empty space on a page around the written area.  There are margins in this blog, in newspapers, books, etc & margins are necessary in our lives.

empty space, pause, still

Sometimes life feels like a treadmill on which the pace continues to increase & the incline just keeps going up – so many demands, expectations, deadlines, responsibilities, requirements, . . . . .  Sometimes if we’re not careful, we fill up all of the margins in our lives & then continue to keep the margins full.

However, when I look at Jesus’ life, He was very intentional about keeping margins in His life.  Of course He had MASSIVE demands on His time & person – people squashing Him wherever He went trying to get some of His attention, time, power, healing, love, . . . . .  and His life only became increasingly popular each day of His ministry.  Nevertheless, He carved margins into his lifestyle.  He dismissed the crowed after feeding the 5,000.  He went off by Himself to pray ALOT.  He withdrew with His disciples from time to time to give them some intensive teaching & attention.  When He rode in boats, He slept.  Jesus modeled margins for us with perfect agility & balance.

Here are some things that help me to keep some margins in my life:

  • quiet in the car – it helps me to turn off things that beckon for my attention;  furthermore, when I’m riding with my kids, I want to be fully present with & to them
  • keep some rhythms & routines:  sleep when its time to sleep, wake up early to have some solitude (or stay up late if you’re a night person), grab the spare minutes in a day to look to God & still your heart
  • drink water as opposed to soda & coffee – my body already has enough stress on it with out adding caffeine, etc
  • sitting with my husband or a friend – I don’t need to have a conversation but just some togetherness
  • I also want to add some Bible memorizing to my margin maintenance so I can give my mind some food on which to nibble when it wants to digest various “worries”
Keep some still in your life if you want to remain effective over the long run 🙂
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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, spiritual, 0 comments