Rashional Thoughts — Introverts living in extroverted world

She bounced into The Alabama Baptist student intern role with no hesitation, blending right in with the staff in such a way that we felt as if we had always known her.

We’ve been blessed with a great number of high quality interns passing through our ministry and she was certainly among the group.

It has been several years now since she served in that role but the positive contributions she made to the team and the work being done can still be seen.

Along with assisting us at the office, this particular student intern also taught me some helpful lessons about life and interacting with people.

While her personality was extremely outgoing and she was involved in just about everything she could be at school, she would periodically crash and end up hiding away from the world for a few days. She would call in sick and skip her classes but then in a day or two be back attacking everything at full throttle. And then a few weeks later, she was out again.

Once I noticed a pattern, I became concerned and talked to her about it. Surprisingly, she seemed to have more self-awareness than I expected from a 20 year old.

She shared with me how she enjoyed being active and participating in everything she could possibly squeeze into her schedule. She also loved being with and around people but somewhere along the way she always hit a wall, she said.

The pressure, the demands, the deadlines would finally overwhelm her and her escape was sleep. She could sleep for days when she got overwhelmed, she said.

As she talked I recalled my own insane level of activity in college and how Saturday mornings (except during football season of course) were spent sleeping in and catching my breath to gear up for the next week. I’m sure I would have found myself collapsing periodically like she did if I had not scheduled that weekly downtime.

While I imagine all would agree I’m an extrovert, I’m not sure about her. Maybe she is and truly just pushes herself too hard all the time. But I also think she might be an introvert who figured out how to live and succeed in an extroverted world. Still she couldn’t ignore her innate need for periodic isolation even though she tried.

I have several introverted friends who have maneuvered a similar path and are now careful to guard their much-needed alone time. It isn’t something to hide or be embarrassed about. It is a real part of their world but we extroverts may not understand and end up stomping all over their sacred ground.

The time alone, processing, regrouping and gaining the energy to re-enter the sea of people and embrace them with the often-required extroverted style is vital.

One friend likes to call it “staring at the wall.” She will avoid any human interaction for a day or so after an intense few days with people and then be ready to go again.

Another friend strategically isolates herself at the end of each workday, only interacting with her husband after that time so she can reset for the next day.

Both of these friends are successful at what they do and I believe they will be able to maintain that success because they know themselves well and what is needed for proper care. They have friends and family who support those needs as well.

How often do we try to force ourselves or someone else into a mold that isn’t made for us or them? And how often do we refuse to even try to understand a different approach and different needs merely because we’ve convinced ourselves that the world inside our head is the only logical option?

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Rashional Extras – Lessons of a failed governor

By Kevin Blackwell
Drkevinblackwell.com

While it isn’t surprising that an Alabama government official failed the public, the news about former governor Robert Bentley was heartbreaking. My heart broke not for a failed governor but for the failure of a 50-year Christian marriage and the undoing of a fellow brother in Christ.

This is so much bigger than politics and the state of Alabama; this is about a fellow believer, a redeemed man who made really bad decisions. … It breaks the heart of God. Truthfully it should break every believer’s heart. Not because Robert Bentley is a high-profile person but because he is a man for which God sent His Son to die.

Yet the biblical truth is that God still loves Robert Bentley and offers forgiveness and total cleansing. … It is my honest prayer that my brother in Christ will run to the cross and find healing and restoration. Being the governor of Alabama is of little importance when compared to being in good standing with the Creator of the universe.

What lessons can Christians learn from the former governor’s failure?

1. Surround yourself with Christians who will hold you accountable — Galatians 6:1–2.

It is critical that we create a circle of accountability around us and watch out for one another’s spiritual well-being. … Every Christian needs fellow soldiers who will stand with them in life’s spiritual battles.

2. Pride is perhaps the greatest sin and it comes into our lives gradually — Genesis 3:1–5.

When pride creeps in we lose our common sense and spiritual sensitivity. When we exalt ourselves, we dethrone Christ from our hearts and our lives become a tailspin of mismanagement, mistakes and corruption. But as we lower ourselves in humility before the Lord, He then lifts us up and gives our lives the greatest of meaning and joy (James 4:10).

3. Invest more time in your marriage than any other relationship — Ephesians 5:25.

If you are spending more time with someone else of the opposite sex that doesn’t share your last name, moral failure is surely around the corner. For both husband and wife there must be on display perpetual Christian devotion to one another that is rooted in the love of Christ. … No other woman in the world should know my deepest secrets, biggest fears and grandest dreams except my wife. I should share no intimacy with another except the one to which the Lord has given me.

4. The truth, regardless of how embarrassing and painful, will always be your best friend — Proverbs 12:22.  

Every falsehood will eventually be revealed and all lies will, in time, come back to haunt you. If you have failed, admit it. Don’t cover up sin through lying and falsehoods. Sin covered up by sin is a double portion of poison to the soul.

Editor’s Note — This is an excerpt from Kevin Blackwell’s April 12 blog post. To read the full post, visit drkevinblackwell.com/2017/04/12/lessons-of-a-failed-governor/.

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“God can use this situation for His glory and for Dr. Bentley’s good, but not until Dr. Bentley has a broken and contrite heart because of his sin. As the old preachers used to say, ‘Sin will take you further than you want to go; cost you more than you want to pay; and keep you longer than you want to stay.’ This particular sin has already cost Dr. Bentley a lot.”

Source quoted in a yellowhammernews.com March 30, 2016, article about Robert Bentley’s church membership

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“Jesus told His disciples to go into the world and to make disciples among all the nations. That means that we have a covenant of dialogue and listening with all persons everywhere, none of whom is beyond the reach of God’s redeeming grace.”

Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham

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“I go by people every day and never see [their needs]. Why? Because I focus on me, that’s why. … I sit and focus on what’s wrong, and I sit and complain and all I see are things to complain about. We need to redirect our minds to see the things we want to see. So when I walk about saying, ‘Can I be a blessing?’ I begin seeing a chance to be a blessing. … Go be necessary for someone.”

From “The Sender: A story about when right words make all the difference” by Kevin Elko and Bill Beausay

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“For pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love or contentment, or even common sense.”

C.S. Lewis